Hobbies and Collections

Hobbies are something people tend to do in their spare time – usually centred around a favourite subject or activity. Often it involves collecting – whether something tangible like stamps or intangible like train locomotive unit numbers. If you're lucky you can turn a hobby into a job. This section looks at hobbies and collectibles linked to Hatfield.


Nobody knows for certain when people first started collecting things simply for the sake of having them. The Victorians were great collectors and it was not uncommon for wealthy individuals to have several collections on the go at the same time. The Wallace Collection in London displays one obviously wealthy family's collection of arms, armour, paintings, furniture and other objects of art.

While these are at the top end of the scale, many people collected less expensive items like stamps, postcards, buttons, thimbles, cigarette cards, birds' eggs (now generally frowned upon, and with certain species actually illegal)...In fact, just about anything – one man's collection of tractor seats was once featured on television. While Sir Geoffrey de Havilland's interest in Lepidoptera is reflected in the names of his Moth series of aircraft.




Some people simply note down an aircraft's details and registration, others take pictures, and some do both. Heighten security and sensitivities around airports has reduced its scope. Still, there are many airshows during the summer months across the country (Duxford and the Shuttleworth Collection being the closest to Hatfield). Or just look up.

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Hatfield offers a wide range of subjects for people interested in photograph. Plus, with good transport links there are plenty of places and events within easy travelling distance. A selection of subjects taken in Hatfield can be found in the Photo Gallery section of this site.

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Chimney Stacks and Pots

Some people collect chimney pots, so it could also come under 'Collections'. Although most enthusiasts simply admire the stacks and pots, and either photograph them or note down the details. Identifying them is not always easy due to partial view, uniqueness and limited information. However, Hatfield and its surroundings offer a fairly wide selection.

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Badges give information about their wearer – directly and indirectly. They have been used to foster a sense of identity, create a sense of belonging, and acknowledge distinguished service. They can be signs of office or rebellion.

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Beer Labels

Beer labels can be quite informative and record more local history than people may think. They can also be tangible reminders of long since closed breweries and pubs.

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Bottles were made from leather and stoneware before glass, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The commonest form of bottle related to Hatfield are the glass beer and mineral water bottles that were once the property of the Hatfield Brewery.

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Crested China

Crested China are small, usually white, porcelain souvenirs bearing a heraldic crest or badge representing a particular geographic location or area. Started in the 1880s, it soon became extremely popular but The Great Depression of the 1930s saw the market dry up and many manufacturers went out of business.

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Diecast vehicles

Diecast vehicles started out as children's toys. However, while they don't enjoy the same popularity with children these days, there is a growing collectors market for limited and commemorative issues. However, the original children's toys in mint condition are still the preferred favourites of some collectors.

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Diecast aircraft

The story of diecast aircraft is closely linked to diecast vehicles. Starting from the earliest British diecast aircraft there are many featuring pilots and planes with Hatfield connections.

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Mauchline Ware

Mauchline ware generally refers to wooden souvenir and giftware made in Scotland from the early 19th Century to the 1930s.

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Picture Postcards

Picture postcards are a useful tool for historians. Often the images capture fine details that don't appear on a map. But people also collect them for their intrinsic beauty.

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Trade Tokens

Trade tokens were mainly coins issued by local inns, shops and trades during coin shortages. It is a specialist branch of coin collecting.

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