Top 10 Things About Berkhamsted

Image credit: Paul Downey [CC BY]

Here are ten interesting facts about Berkhamsted


Berkhamsted is located just 26 miles northwest of London in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside.

The Romans

The main street of the town is built on an ancient Roman road known as Akeman Street. The town itself was recorded as an ancient borough in the Doomsday book as far back as 1086

The Castle

Berkhamsted Castle built in 1066, was once home to the royalty of Britain as well as some well known historical figures, Henry II, Black Prince Edward, Geoffry Chaucer and Thomas becket once walked its halls

The Taxman

Records kept by a local tax collector in 1290, noted that the town was home to a huntsman. a cloth-napper, a fishmonger, a lead burner, a seller of salt, a miller, an archer, a fuller, a butcher, a brewer, a tailor, leather workers and a cook to name a few

The locals don't like paying rent

Today Berkhamsted has nearly 8,000 households, the vast majority of whom own their own homes. 75% of the houses are owner-occupied, and just 25% are rented. This is significantly above 63% of the national average in England.

Water was central to the prosperity of the town

In the early 19th century the Grand junction canal reached Buckinghamshire, linking the town to the River Thames. Berkhamsted became the centre of the counties Canal Boat building industry as it was an essential part of the countries waterways linking industrial centres across the country.

Sport is at the heart of the community

Home to England's oldest Archery club founded in 1875. It also has a vibrant Cricket Club that fields no less than 25 teams. They also have a bowls club and a hockey club. Soccer, Rugby and tennis are just another three sports that are popular in the area.

What is with the totem pole

Strolling along the canal, you will bump into one of the town's most unlikely landmarks, a totem pole, carved by a famous Canadian First Nations artist named Henry Hunt.commissioned by William John Alsford in memory of his brother John. Who owed his life to the Kwakiutl people who saved him from starvation.

One for the film buffs

The British Film Institutes national archive is in Berkhamsted, Home to over 275,000 movies dating back to 1894. Sorry to disappoint but it is rarely open to the public

More on the movie theme

So as not to be too disappointed if you fail to get access to the BFI archive, you can always visit the Rex Cinema, built-in 1937 it was named Britain's best cinema in 2014. Dame Judi Dench is a big fan describing it as "absolutely awe-inspiring".


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