The Batchworth Lock Education Centre has finally been unveiled by Rickmansworth Waterways Trust (RWT).
The centre, described as the ‘new home of heritage’ for the trust, was officially opened by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE on March 30 after years of planning and building.
RWT aims to excite and inform the community about the environment, history and heritage of the waterways, and has education programmes for school visits.
Planning permission for the new centre was granted in May 2017, and the road to opening it was gruelling for the trust’s fundraisers from that point on.
David Montague, RWT chairman, said during his opening speech: “When we were finalising our plans for the building, the fundraising team were working hard to reach their target – which seemed to keep moving further away as we brought more details into our plans. By April 2018, just two years from when we vacated the mill, we had raised the amazing amount of £350,000, which meant the trustees could give the go ahead to place the order for the building.”
RWT wasted no time in organising school visits – David proudly announced that three schools had already visited the education centre a week prior to its official opening.
Addressing RWT, Mr Voss CBE said: “It’s a marvellous achievement – when David told me that the little area here was going to be an educational centre, I thought he was mad. But mad or not, here it is, and you really ought to be hugely congratulated on getting this done.
“I know this will be put to very good use. Educating young people in is of prime importance, and particularly when it comes to waterways, canals and the environment.”