The Watford Observer is delighted to team up with Three Rivers Museum for a new series that will remind readers of some of the local people who, often now forgotten, made an impact on how their neighbours lived and worked. It starts with the Rickmansworth teacher and writer Tom Bevan.

Tom Bevan, born in Monmouthshire in 1869, trained as a teacher before moving with his wife Kate to Rickmansworth in 1889 to take up a post at the National Boys’ School in the High Street. He became headmaster and stayed until 1929, and many hundreds of local boys will have been taught by him.

Watford Observer:

Tom Bevan. Picture: Nigel Bennetton

Living in Nightingale Road, he played both cricket and hockey for Rickmansworth, and had a fine tenor voice, performing locally as well as arranging and conducting, especially for the Madrigal Society. He was also for a time, confusingly along with his namesake Thomas William Bevan of The Bury, a member of Rickmansworth Urban District Council.

Watford Observer:

National Boys’ School house, Rickmansworth High Street. Picture: Three Rivers Museum    

But Tom Bevan left a much larger legacy, as a historian and prolific writer. Using the pen-name ‘Walter Bamfylde’ for fiction for adults as well as his own for exciting stories for children during momentous periods of English history or adventures set in various parts of the British Empire, he wrote more than 40 books and many articles. He was also the education editor for his publisher – all this while running a growing school and family. His daughter Marjorie, born in Rickmansworth in 1900, was also a writer of ‘school stories’ for girls, publishing nine.

Watford Observer:

Tom Bevan's wife Kate. Picture: Nigel Bennetton

Tom Bevan died in 1937. He deserves to be much better remembered.

Three Rivers Museum has been closed for the winter during a significant refurbishment. It re-opened on March 17 – details are on their website