A group of local historians took a look around a former hotel building in Harpenden which dates back to the 17th century ahead of its conversion.
Harpenden Local History Society has been researching and documenting the history of the Grade II listed Welcombe building off Southdown Road since first visiting it in the 1970s.
The building was last used as the former Harpenden House Hotel before it closed down in 2014, and is being converted into apartments by Fairview New Homes, which welcomed members of the Local History Society for a research visit last week (Thursday 12th April).
Fairview is about to start work on converting the Welcombe building into homes, and is currently building new apartments and houses on the land beside it.
Fairview’s development will be named Welcombe House, continuing the use of the Welcombe name, which was first given to the building in the 1870s when it was a Victorian family home.
Rosemary Ross, of Harpenden Local History Society, said: “It was very important to us to try to understand how the Welcombe building developed from a timber-framed house and was adapted and extended throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
“Being able to see the inside of the building with the walls stripped back ahead of the conversion gave us an intriguing insight, and we would like to thank Fairview for hosting our visit.”
Fairview is building 37 homes at Welcombe House – 19 new apartments, 13 new houses, and 5 apartments within the Welcombe building.
A community event will be held to launch the development at Bennet’s Club, Leyton Road, Harpenden, on Saturday 23rd June from 9am to 5pm.
Jeremy Gee, Main Board Director for Fairview, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the historians to the Welcombe building and we are pleased that they were able to gather plenty of evidence to help them piece together more of the history of this noteworthy building.
“Welcombe is an impressive building which has evolved over the past few centuries and is now in need of careful restoration and conversion.
“We look forward to sharing our conversion plans with the Local History Society and the residents of Harpenden at our community launch event in June.”
Fairview has published a booklet derived from the Harpenden Local History Society website on the history of the Welcombe building, and copies will be available at the community launch event.