Saturday, 8 June 2013

River Colne - Watford North

River Colne
The Colne flows east and south

Post to the east Berry Grove
Post to the south Watford Junction

Balmoral Road
Church of the Nazarene. The Church of the Nazarene is an international evangelical Christian organisation that began in the USA in the Wesleyan tradition of the 19th century Holiness movement. This church was originally set up by members of the St.James Road Methodist church and the foundation stone was laid in 1924
Balmoral Road Railway Bridge. This carries the railway line between to Watford North. When the railway was built in 1858 this was farmland and only a 10ft high bridge was provided through the embankment for farm access. This bridge survived until 1960 and was replaced with the present bridge.

Bushey Mill Lane
The Tudor Arms. Originally a Wells house this is now owned by the John Barras chain.
Watford North Station. Built in 1910 it now lies between Garston and Watford Junction Stations on the London Overground Line to Euston via Watford Junction. This small station was opened in an area of Watford known as 'Callowland'. The London and North Western Railway had built a line between Watford Junction and St Albans in 1858, which was known as the Abbey line or the Abbey Flyer, there was a gated level crossing where the railway line crossed Bushey Mill Lane. The station was opened to serve the various manufacturing companies and works here and was renamed 'Watford North’ in 1927. In the 1930s, housing development around the area increased its importance however facilities for passengers were minimal, consisting of an open-fronted waiting shelter and a ticket hut. It remained an important station for goods transport but this was run down from the 1950s. In 1963, the line was considered for closure, and in 1966 the station became an unstaffed halt. In the 1990s a rail user group lobbied to keep electric trains and has continued to work for improvements.
59 Light of the World Gospel Missions International Church
St.Peter's Church. This hexagonal church building dates from 1966. The Baptistery has a stained glass wall. This was produced at Buckfast Abbey with a technique called ‘Dellas De Verre’ developed by Charles Norris.
Church Hall. This dates from the 1930s
112 House build by the railway company 1910. The current building dates from the 1970s.  
Bushey Lodge Farm. This occupied the area east of the railway line.  The area of the farm was developed as the Bradshaw Estate and Bushey Lodge Estate in the 1930s by the local building firms of Rice Brothers and Clifford & Gough. Undeveloped sites were infilled with Local Authority and other housing in the 1960s
Blaw, Knox & Co. was on a site adjoining the railway lines with a sliding into the site. Blaw Knox was an American steel manufacturing firm from Pittsburgh dating from 1917 and was established in the UK in 1921 as an importer and agent. In 1929 they purchased the local forms of Cowan Hulbert Ltd. and Milliken Bros. and later Tractor Trader. By 1947 they occupied 12 acres with manufacturing buildings and storage. In 1951 the company wanted to expand but could not get planning consent. The firm closed in 1962 and later became part of Babcock and Wilcox.
Cowan Hulbert & Co. they designed and manufactured construction plant and equipment. They were bought out by Blaw Knox Ltd. in 1929.
Milliken Brothers. Their product was the electricity Pylon. In the 1920s the new Central Electricity board were keen to establish a standard pylon design and chose a design by Milliken Bros. By 1947 80% of pylons were made by them. They also designed transmission and radio towers but did not make them. Their designer, Fred J.T. Holland was a leading authority in this field. They were bought out by Blaw Knox Ltd. in 1929.
Tractor Trader. They manufactured earth moving equipment. In 1939 their assets were purchased by Blaw Knox.

Chiswell Court
Chiswell Wire Co. This housing development is on the site of what was the Chiswell Wire Company, with a frontage on Sandown Road.  It remained in industrial use until 1991 when the housing was built. The Chiswell Wire Co.  Made mattress and other springs and was finally dissolved in the 1990s.

Greycaine Road
This was farmland until the 1930s when it became an industrial estate. Many of the companies located here had sidings to the Railway Line. In the 1960s the industrial estate was redeveloped, the sidings demolished and the road itself was built.
Watford Manufacturing Company had a factory here. It opened in 1916, engaged in filling bombs and grenades, filling and assembling aerial bombs and trench mortar fuses, and assembling chemical shells. In 1917, there was a fire in which two workmen died.
Greycaine Book Manufacturing Company. The company moved to this site in 1926. The name came from Directors, Frank Grey and Gordon Ralph Hall Caine. Frank Grey was the son of a City book binder, John Gruneisen, and had joined the family business. Ralph Hall Caine was the son of the novelist and became chief technical adviser on paper to the Government in the Great War. They moved into some of the wooden buildings of the old munitions factory and installed machinery for the mass production of books. They built new unit, as well as service and social buildings. The company had a railway sidings. Through their Readers Library Publishing Company novels were sold through retail chain stores.  They also printed mass market encyclopaedias, etc. in partnership with Odhams. The firm went into liquidation in the late 1930s and the works was later used by Taylor, Garnett, Evans and Co. Ltd.
Fishburn Printing Ink Company. The Company was started by Albert Fishburn in 1929, in Watford to supply special inks for waxed paper food wrappings. They had their own railway sidings here. They became part of German chemical giant BASF in 1985.  
Hygena Cabinet Company. The company made fitted kitchen units originating in the 1920s in Liverpool. After the Second Wold War they made equipment for prefabs and became the dominant brand in kitchens from the 1960s.  In the 1980s they were bought out by MFI but have since been relaunched. The Watford factory had its own own railway sidings
McCaskey Register Company. This American company made cash Registers and dated from 1903. In Watford they had their own railway sidings
5-7 Soul Survivor. A youth movement which is part of the Church of England
Davin Optronics. This company designs and manufactures precision optical solutions with a parent company founded in 1839.  Their originator was James Smith, financed by JJ Lister, the physicist, with a key role in the development of microscopy

Imperial Way
Watford Manufacturing Company had munitions factories here during the Great War, and made mortar bombs, grenades, and other bombs and equipment. It opened in 1915, filling and assembling trench warfare bombs and chemical shell exploders.

Knutsford Avenue
Knutsford Primary School. Knutsford Primary School, set back off Balmoral Road, is a larger scale building with car park and outdoor play space. The school originated in the 1930s and was rebuilt in 2000 following a fire.

Northfield Gardens
This is the area of the Bushey Mill Gardens Estate built in the 1930s.
Parkgate Infants and Nursery School opened in 1984 on a former industrial site here. It is a large plain single storey brick building in landscaped grounds.

Parkgate Road
Parkgate Junior School. The school opened in 1907 as a boys' school. In the Great War the buildings were used by the army and the children went elsewhere. In 1921 it became a Senior Mixed School and in 1934 a Junior Mixed, which remains. In 1984 the Infants' School moved to a new building.
Annexe. This was opened in 1933 to help with overcrowding, since 1986 it has been used by North Watford Youth and Community

Sandown Road
This area had been farmland but was developed for industrial use from around 1900 following the construction of the cocoa factory
Cocoa factory .Victoria Works. Dr. Tibbles Vi-Cocoa Factory was built in 1899, with its own railway siding. It became the Watford Manufacturing Company, which was involved in munitions production during The Great War. They were bankrupt by 1922 having invested in an unsustainable building programme.
The British Moulded Hose Company. They were on a site south of the station. The building had been erected by the Watford Manufacturing Company after the Great War but it was unfinished and unused and bankrupted the company. It was taken over in 1929 by The Electric Hose and Rubber Company from the US. They remained there as British Moulded Hose until 1977 after which the building was demolished.
Lynwood House. This was the premises of the Watford Biscuit Company set up by the widow of the founder of the Belgian De Beukelaer's Biscuit Co. –now international biscuit manufactures Griesson Limited
Litholite Insulators and St. Albans Mouldings Ltd. They made various objects using a compression moulding system from a silica based substance.
Ministry of Labour Training Centre.

Sandringham Road
105a nursery in Brethren’s Hall

Westfield Avenue
For Christ’s Sake Ministries

Sources
Church of the Nazarene. Web site
Davin Optronics, Web site
Grace’s Guide. Web site
History Pieces. Web site
Hygena. Wikipedia Web site.
Knutsford Primary School. Web site
North Watford History Group. Web site
Parkgate School. Web site.
Soul Survivors. Web site.
St. Peter’s Church. Web site
Watford Borough Council. Web site

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