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A Brief History of the Sarratt Scrapbook

We have to give grateful thanks to our two Rectors, father and son, for compiling and maintaining our scrapbooks. The scrapbooks give a social history of our small Hertfordshire village for over 150 years. The Rev. Edward Ryley came to Sarratt in 1859 to find a church, Holy Cross, in great need of repair and refurbishment; and no village school. He immediately set about rectifying both these problems - and fortunately, he kept a record of everything he did. Many years later, after Edward died, his son (Noel) Gilbert Ryley became Rector of Sarratt in 1912 and organised all of his father's ephemera into a giant scrapbook. Edward had kept anything he could find about Sarratt — plans of the church rebuilding, newspaper clippings, programmes of church and village events, photographs — the list is endless, and we are so fortunate to have all these everyday artefacts to provide a record of village life dating back to 1859. Gilbert then continued his father's work, but following his death, the Scrapbook passed to subsequent incumbents, most of whom were too busy to maintain this village archive. Eventually, in 1993 the Scrapbook again came to light and a group was formed to refurbish and maintain this wonderful record. With the aid of a grant, the book was sent to the UK's leading book and paper conservators in Falkirk, Scotland, who deal with archival records for institutions such as The British Library. They dismantled the whole work, pasted everything back on acid-free paper and rebound the book into two volumes. At the same time, the volumes were photographed on to microfiche and microfilm, so we had a record of the contents. A microfiche reader was bought and lent to interested local people. Two further blank volumes were bought so that the Sarratt Local History Society could continue to maintain a record of our village to the present time. We would welcome any material you may have relating to our village: please see the contacts page, which describes how you can get in touch with us.

We are now entering the next phase of he scrapbook's existence. With the aid of modern technology; and generous funding from Sarratt Parish Council and a small number of individual benefactors, the first two volumes have been digitised and are fully searchable so that anyone online can use this wonderful archive.


Sarratt Local History Society asserts its right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of the physical and digital versions of the Sarratt Scrapbook and of this website. These are presented on a fair dealing, non-commercial basis for private research. All copyright holders are acknowledged and no claim is made over material copyrighted elsewhere.
The pages of the digital version of the Scrapbook are watermarked: you may not download, copy or redistribute any part of it without the express written permission of Sarratt Local History Society

Click Here
to access the Scrapbook
Currently, two volumes of the scrapbook have been digitised. Although it will display on all devices, please bear in mind that the physical size of the original document and the inevitable compromises between magnification and file size mean that the digital version is best viewed on screens no smaller than those of a tablet. This is perhaps particularly true of older, faded and yellowed pages with small type, such as old newspaper articles.

Please also be aware that, even with various image optimisation techniques, these are still very large files.

Original high resolution images of each page are held by the Sarratt Local History Society.