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

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to access the scrapbook


Currently, two of the four 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, whose pages are somewhat larger than A3, and the inevitable online compromises between magnification, file size and page loading times mean that the digital version is best viewed on larger devices and over a fast connection. This is particularly true of the older, faded and yellowed pages and those with small type.

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

For further research, the Scrapbooks are on display at many village events, and original high resolution images of each page are held separately by the Sarratt Local History Society.

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