Dacorum Heritage to Tell Story of Kings Langley’s Ovaltine Factory

The Ovaltine production line copyright Associated British Foods

Local charity Dacorum Heritage is looking to collect and record the memories of former employees of the Ovaltine Factory in Kings Langley.

Ovaltine advertising image copyright Associated British FoodsSince 2002, Dacorum Heritage has cared for over 10,000 objects that were rescued from the factory upon its closure by the Kings Langley Local History and Museum Society. These objects range from advertising art-work and films to uniforms and office documents. Dacorum Heritage now seeks to bring this archive to life by capturing the stories of people who worked for Ovaltine,  which opened its factory in Kings Langley in 1913.

Gathering the Oral Histories of former workers will contribute to the heritage trust’s wider project, made possible through funding from The Garfield Weston Foundation and the Arts Council England, to digitise and increase engagement with Dacorum Heritage’s Ovaltine Collection.

Dacorum Heritage also has a number of activities planned to share the collection with the community, including pop-up reminiscence events, a short film made with input from young people, and a publication of collection highlights.

Fiona Page, Chair of Dacorum Heritage, says: ‘Being a museum store, open by appointment only, we don’t have the facilities for a large-scale public exhibition. This means we have to think creatively about how we reach and inspire the public with the local heritage collections we care for.

‘We have a fascinating and rich archive from Ovaltine, but we can’t show what it was truly like to work for the factory without the real voices and real stories of the workers. We are acting now to make sure that those stories are preserved before they are lost for good.’

Ovaltine Advertisiting Image copyright Associated British FoodsSome of Dacorum Heritage’s Ovaltine collection can already be viewed online and in-person. A small exhibition at Berkhamsted Civic Centre focuses on the Ovaltine Maid. The advertising history of the Ovaltine Girl is covered in more depth in an Online Exhibition on the Dacorum Heritage Website. A range of advertising films from the 1950s and 1970s can be watched on Dacorum Heritage’s YouTube Channel.

If you have Ovaltine memories you would like Dacorum Heritage to record and preserve, please contact Dacorum Heritage’s Ovaltine Project Support Assistant: Lauren Wilson on LaurenWilson@dacorumheritage.org.uk.

Images © Associated British Foods