Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust
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Bourne Cottage Widford, Grade II listed, 1994 and now

one of the Hertfordshire Building Preservation's restoration projects


About the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust


By the early 1960s vast numbers of historic buildings had been destroyed or demolished throughout the country. Wars, taxation and wanton neglect contributed to this vandalism coupled with the need to develop (or redevelop) urban and country areas alike. There were few Societies or people to speak up to defend their heritage and the listing system was in its infancy.

Need arose for urgent action. Hertfordshire was in the forefront of forming Building Preservation Trusts and the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust was constituted on December 3rd 1963. Those first Directors set out in good faith and determination to ‘preserve buildings of architectural and historic importance in Hertfordshire’ This remains the Trust’s core objective and as a charity it has attracted the services of local authorities and a great number of dedicated people who have devoted time, determination, and ingenuity to preserve the past for the future.

The Hertfordshire Mercury wrote at the time 'Hertfordshire with its deep roots in the history of England, has many beautiful buildings but in another decade how many will be left? Without help of some sort many will undoubtedly fall into disrepair and be demolished… Much work has to be done to make sure that the old is not swept aside in the race to pack as many people as possible within easy reach of London’

How right this proved! Try to imagine the struggles and risks which have lain behind each and every building saved, restored and given a new life. The Trust took many of these buildings on because the normal processes of development had condemned them as unprofitable and only fit for demolition. Frequently new uses were found but tragically others were lost for ever but there is still hope for those still at risk.


In 1993 BEAMS Ltd was formed by the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust to enable the restoration of dozens of other listed buildings around the county. It was set up  specifically to assist and work with local authorities, architects, developers and private owners for conservation of the built heritage and the design of new development.