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The “Henderson” in the Hall’s name comes from Henry William (Harry) Henderson who had the Hall built over 100 years ago for the benefit of the people of Abbots Langley, in memory of his wife, Elvira.  Sadly, Elvira died in childbirth with her 5th child. She was only 31 and her husband donated the funds to build the Henderson Memorial Hall for the use of the villagers. It was opened in 1902. You can see a photo of Elvira with her children, on display inside the Hall – in Elvira’s Foyer.

Since then, the Henderson Hall has provided a venue on Abbots Langley High Street for educational, cultural, social and leisure activities ever since.

Portrait of Henry William Henderson by John Singer-Sergeant

Portrait of
Henry William Henderson by John Singer-Sergeant

The Hall has gone through a number of changes and extensions in that time – at one point it had living accommodation for a caretaker, at another the foyer was extended to provide a rent collection office for the district council.

There is no other location in the village for dramatic performances and the Hall is used by several groups including the Abbots Langley Players, the Abbots Langley Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the Centralians, the Young People’s Drama Centre, Flatpacktheatre and the Village Moonlighters.

There is however a much wider range of users – including the Women’s Institute, the Flower Arranging Society, and Watford and District Organ Society. The Hall also has regular exercise classes, and on most Friday mornings it is packed out when it becomes a café run by ‘A Heart for Abbots Langley’.

The Hall is a great asset to the village. It is bang in the middle of the shopping area, probably the most noticeable building on the High Street. It is well known to the inhabitants and used by many of them.

Since May 2015, Henderson Hub has taken over the running of the Hall, and has equipped the Hall with new sound, lighting and projection equipment, and undertaken large capital refurbishment to create a new gallery space and foyer to allow access during the day to local residents. 

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