The town of Hitchin was first documented in the 7th Century. Its streets have many tales to tell an offer an insight into the development of British society. Guests may like to take an informative tour led by one of our local guides. Tours take 1.5-2 hours.
1. An Introduction to the History of Hitchin. Hitchin is an ancient English market town first documented in the c. 7th. King Offa established a church here in 792AD on the site of St Mary’s Church, where the tour begins. Hitchin’s history is Britain’s history in a nutshell. Looking at the market square, the Priory, the famous British Schools Museum and the War Memorial, the tour includes evidence of the rise of commerce, the dissolution of the Monasteries, the history of education and two world wars.
2. From High Street to Dead Street: This walk looks at how Hitchin’s rich and poor lived close together but worlds apart. Discover how wool, banking and brewing made fortunes for some, but, just a few streets away, others lived in poverty. Discover how people lived in the many slums and alleys and how their lives were improved by public health reforms and education. The tour looks at some of the town’s most high status buildings and the few remaining echoes of Dead Street!
3. Hitchin Worthies: This tour starts at the memorial to Hitchin’s historian and ghost hunter, Reginald Hine. Not a household name himself, but Hitchin does have its share of distinguished residents and visitors. The tour includes the house of the first man to translate the Iliad into English, pioneering surgeon Joseph Lister’s school, a unique building saved by a Bletchley Park code-breaker and the place where Henry VIII fled, naked, from a fire!