Thursday, 20 June 2013

River Colne Watford

River Colne
The Colne flows south

Post to the north Watford Junction
Post to the south Watford Lower High Street

Beechen Grove
This road was once a short lane running roughly between Sutton Road to Loates Lane. It has been transformed and enlarged as part of the ringway system which runs in a one-way loop around the central High Street shopping centre.  More recently it has been extended south and west to meet the A441 and carry on through roundabouts to Stephenson Way
Queens and Palace Car Parks. Monumental car park entrances. Palace named for the Palace Theatre
Beechen Grove School in Red Lion Yard, now under the Harlequin Centre. This was a 19th boys school
The Woodman’s Arms. Now under the Harlequin Centre
Timber Yard on the site where the school was later built.
Beechen Grove Subway. With geometric tiles in bright colours

Cambridge Road
Mosque. Watford’s Muslim community dates from the 1950s and fundraised from the 1970ls to buy land in here. Work on The Watford Central Masjid was begun in 1983 and opened in 1985. The carpet, which is the same as the Regent’s Park Masjid in London, was donated by a Sheikh.

Carey Place
This is now a gated courtyard off the High Street but it was originally a lane which went through to Derby Road.  In the past buildings here have included a chapel in use by Methodists in the 19th, and a room used as Watford’s first Catholic Church.
1a 16th house which once had a bow window. Timber-framed rendered. House with its upper hall spanned by a tie-beam truss
Derby Works. Plastic sheeting made here in the 1960s
School
Youth Centre. This became famous as a venue of punk rockers. It has also offered advice services to young people.

Charter Place
Charter Market Place. In the 12th the Abbot of St Albans was given permission to hold a weekly market here on rise above the ford over the Colne, on a route frequented by travellers. A livestock market was held on Tuesdays and a general market on Saturdays.  Eventually a timber-framed market hall was built but it was burnt down in 1853. The market continued to be held in the High Street until 1928 when it moved to Red Lion Yard. In 1974 it became part of Charter Place.
Watford Women’s Centre

Church Street
St.Mary's Church. The Parish church which dates from the 12th  but which is on the same site as an earlier Saxon church is in flint and stone with a Hertfordshire type tower plus a spire, clock, and eight bells. In 1871 it was restored by J T Christopher - the outside refaced and battlements added to tower. Inside is a stone font carved by Forsyth and stone reredos carved by E Renversey. The pulpit dates from 1714 by R Bull. The church has outstanding monuments – two by Nicholas Stone: Sir Charles Morison 1598 and opposite, his son, 1628 and there are others. There are also brasses and a painted Royal Arms of 1736. Outside of the north porch are four stone pineapples.
Church Yard. In the churchyard is fig-tree growing out of a tombstone. There are a number of important tombs, many of which are listed.  After the Second World War a Garden of Rest was opened and also known as the Garden of Remembrance. A Sensory Garden has now been added to it. Spiral sculpture by Adrian Moakes. Dates from 2000.
Church Hall. Modern extension to south
Church Centre. Built 1977
1-8 Bedford and Essex Almshouses. These almshouses were built in 1580 on the Parsonage-barn-yard. They were also known as The Lord Essex Almshouses. They are a row of 8 alms-house cottages. Rendered, one storey built for Francis, 2nd Earl of Bedford, to house 8 poor women from Watford, Chenies and Langley.
Mrs Elizabeth Fuller Free School.  There was a free school in Watford in the 17th which Mrs. Fuller thought too small. In 1704 she provided this Free School for 40 boys and 20 girls next to the churchyard, plus rooms for the staff. The School developed into the separate Watford Grammar Schools for boys and girls. The 1704 brick building has an inscription to Mrs Fuller in the frieze.
Vicarage. This was next to the Free School and was a part timber building dating from 1630. It had a porch with a room above it and a low wicket-gate with moulded ornamental panels and inside was oak panelling. It was eventually divided into two cottages and demolished in 1915. A new vicarage was built on part of the site which itself was demolished in 1990. This is now the site of The Cloisters and the Advice Centre
Tithe barn – this stood next to the old vicarage. It was weather-boarded and was probably medieval. Demolished in 1916
Church House – this was Francis Combe Free School in the 18th. Church House was demolished in 1822. The Lecturer’s House was demolished in 1965 for the ring road
Workhouse. This was built in 1721 and stood north of the church. This was eventually converted into houses and a shop and was demolished in the 20th
National School. Built in 1922.  Sold in 1926 and converted for other use.
Fest Friendship Columns by Philip Bewes/Diane Gorvin. These date from 1999. They are topped with masks.
Man And Woman sculpture by Andrew Miller .this dates from 1967

Clarendon Grove
Beechen Grove Baptist Chapel 1877 by J W Chapman in Romanesque style. It is in grey brick with a tall tower and porch. A Baptist church had been founded at Beechen Grove in 1707 and there had been previous Baptist activity here.  Under Pastor Edmund Hill the church grew and a new chapel was built in 1835. The present chapel was built later.
Schools to rear of the chapel
24 Palace Theatre. Built in 1908 by W. A. Theobald with the current red brick front added in 1909-10 by Wylson and Long. At the ends are tall towers with leaded domes and there is a frieze with a panel inscribed 'Palace Theatre'. The entrances are under a flat canopy. Inside are two curved galleries and stage boxes. It opened as a Theatre of Varieties with three dressing rooms and three chorus rooms for up to 20 artistes. They began to screen films as part of the variety programme and were a full time cinema briefly in 1910, but then returned to variety theatre programming. Later it became a repertory theatre, and has hosted touring productions as well as producing its own shows. The Watford Film Society has a monthly screening of a classic film here.

Cross Street
Irene Milton Hall. Watford Social Centre for the Blind. 17-21 19TH terraced houses demolished around 1950 and replaced with this hall,

Derby Road
Until the ring road was built this was a main road running south from central Watford. It is now open on one side to the main road called Beechen Grove and its northern end also subsumed by it. It is a cul de sac at its southern end
School Buildings.  These built in the early 1880s as Watford Endowed Schools. This was a merging of Mrs. Fuller's foundation and the Platt foundation. Two new schools were built adjoining each other, one for boys and one for girls which opened in 1884. In 1903, they were changed to Watford Grammar School but were already too small. A new girls' school was built with Hertfordshire County Council in 1907, and the boys spread into the building the girls had vacated – but in return the schools were no longer to be Church of England based. By 1912 a new boys' school had been built and the buildings were no longer used. It then became Watford Central School until that too moved in the early 1950s to become Bushey Grammar School. It is now Watford Central Primary School. 1884 brick board school. Central main block band of pressed brick decoration between floors with Higher Elementary Schools incised.
Derby Road Baptist Church. This was Watford Tabernacle built in 1887.

Dyson’s Yard
This was later known as Ballard’s Buildings and was a block of houses known as Ballard's Buildings. By the 19th this was slum property but in 18th brick buildings. It was the site of the Dyson’s brewery, established in 1750 but which moved from here in the early 19th. .Dyson’s Yard was then bought by W. Ballard. The housing was demolished in 1922 and it is now the site of a multi storey car park.

Ebury Road
Ebury Works. Storage and packing plant. The site is now housing.

Estcourt Road
The area was built up from the 1860s on land owned by Thomas Escourt, and local street names reflect his various estates.
3-5 old police station built in London stock brick with some alterations at the side and back. It was built in the late 19th by the police and used for checking weights and measures, which was then their responsibility. It later became the local office of the local authority ‘Inspector of Weights & Measures, food & drugs petroleum & explosives and fertilisers & feeding stuffs’, until the end of the 20th. It is now Henry Smith House and is now used by the Guideposts Trust, for people with mental health problems.
17 Druids. A sign in the car park refers to Beskins, the original brewers. “The Druids Pub Company is owned by Alan “Druid” Walters, a former Rugby International player who owns a chain of rugby-themed pubs. It was previously The Golden Lion.
25 Estcourt Tavern. Pub in London stock brick. Above the main door is a balcony with ornamental railing and there is a metal ‘firemark’ on the upper storey. There are various additions at the back and the original stables
38a Moonglow Dance Studios. The studio originates in Harrow in 1974. The building was St. John’s Hall built around 1911.
96 Builders offices. This has ornate brick detailing and a bright blue sign. It was built around 1870 as an office, yard and outbuildings for Clifford and Gough, local developer.
125 Watford Spiritualist Church. Founded in 1920 the church was previously in Queens Road and moved here in 1989. The building has been a Mission Church
Estcourt Road Pocket Park

Exchange Road
This is now part of the ring road.

Gartlett Road
1-2 on the first floor wall is an elaborate plaque “Oxford Place 1882”

George Street
Woodfields. Sheltered housing with a clock on the front.
3 Harley Medical Group Clinic. This replaces Pickford’s Depository
5 St. Mary’s Hall. Demolished.

Grosvenor Road
Newton Price Centre. This building dates from 1911 and was the domestic economy department, for the Higher Elementary School next door. Newton Price, was the first vicar of St Mathews, Oxhey, and responsible for a cookery school at Watford Heath.  The centre is in dark red brick with “1911” on the rainwater hoppers. A plaque over the entrance says “The Newton Price Domestic Economy Centre”.

High Street
This was ‘Watford Street’ – a line of buildings leading up from the river to the church. The line consisted of narrow tenement or burgage plots, the boundaries are still visible in the current layout.   The road widens above the church, and this probably reflectrs the site of the original marjet place.
50-52 Designed by a local architect in 1904. Built on the footprint of an older building, the cellar may be older.
54-46 designed by Hubert Lidbetter as three shops and a billiards club for a company owned by local businessman David Greenhill. Old garage buildings behind.
62-70 building in brick with panelled timber framing designed by Charles Elcock and Frederick Sutcliffe. The building dates from the 1920s but the south end the site was The Compasses Pub, founded here in the 18th. On the Market Street side is a 14th timber framed window which was found and put in the wall of The Compasses
63- 65 Lloyd's Bank. Bank building built as the Bucks and Oxon Bank in 1889. Tall brick and terracotta elevation
70-79 building designed by local architect Sydney Dawe in the 1920s. It is on the footprint of an older building so the cellar may be older.
73 The Midland Bank. Bank with single storey banking hall and offices behind from the 1920s. It has a monumental scale despite the size of the building and the narrow site.
84 Shop in brick with an extension behind. A building here is on the 1842 tithe map but brickwork in the cellar is older. In the 19th it may have been a butcher but it is thought that before that it was a candle factory, burnt down in 1829.
90 The One Bell pub. This has the oldest alcohol licence in Watford and dates to the 17th. The current building was designed by Charles Ayres although part dates from the 19th and some  of it is thought to be 18th.
Intu. This was, formerly The Harlequin a big shopping centre built as a rival to Brent Cross and opened in 1992. The renaming follows that of the parent Capital Shopping Centres Group plc.  It is a glass roofed structure, with symmetrical malls. A gallery on the third floor exhibits the work of local artists. It was originally to include a ten-pin bowling alley and 130 flats.  The Queens Road Sainsbury's and the Odeon cinema were demolished in 1983 to create space.
102 cafĂ© in a shop building of multicoloured brick designed by Gordon Jeeves for Lilley and Skinner Ltd. in 1926.  It is built on the footprint of an older building and thus the cellar may be older.
103 building designed in 1895 by John Wigg.  It is larger than its neighbours and has a prominent archway. It is on the footprint of an older building so the cellar may be older.
104 building designed by Charles Ayres on the footprint of an older building, so the cellar may be older. Built for F. Fisher in 1900.
106 building designed by Charles Ayres on the footprint of an older building, so the cellar may be older. Built for J.C.Sims
112-114 shop from 1910, with offices above. Designed by Austin Durst on the footprint of an older building, so the cellar may be older.
114 a, b c shop built in the 1920s, in brick and designed by S. C. Addison for J. Mitchener. It is built on the footprint of an older building so the cellar may be older.
116a a building by Albert Dunning in 1915 for Bollone Brothers but the original shop front has been replaced.  It is on the footprint of an older building so the cellar may be older
122 Hedges Yard. Watford Primitive Methodists were worshipping in a room here by 1840. 
129 -131 this is a 17th timber-framed house with modern shop fronts. There is a wagon way through one side and behind a plastered first floor, possibly indicating a gallery
Hornet sculpture – the local football team are known as the Hornets. It is by Heather Burrell.
132 bank designed by Charles P Ayres for Barclays Bank in 1912. It is in red brick with the words ‘Barclays Bank Chambers’ on the King Street side.
133 - 135 brick house from the mid 19th.
137 this is an 18th painted brick house itself a rebuilding of a 17th timber-framed house, the rest of which remains behind. A fireplace and a painted armorial panel from 1614 from here are now in the Museum. Some 17th painted floral decoration and a 17th staircase remain inside.
139 the end bay of a 17th house
141 this is a 16th timber-framed house of which an upper hall survives inside.
145 this is an 18th red brick house. There is an arched carriage entrance with ‘WH 1780’ on the keystone.
146 school building now shops. The site was church land and in the 18th was the Nags Head Pub, St Mary’s Infants’ School was built in 1834 with funds raised locally and was sold in 1920 . H E Percy converted it into shops.
149 - 151 this is a 17th timber-framed house with a Modern ground floor.
156 The One Crown Pub. This is a 16th timber-framed house refronted in 19th. Behind is a 17th extension
158 this is an 18th brick house on the core of a 17th timber-framed building.
160 this is a mid-19th building which was once the Three Crowns Pub but closed in 1958. Until 1750 it had been The Bull.
Almshouses, these were in a row behind the pub. They were built by David Salter in 1843 and demolished in 1958.
162-164 brick building designed by Stimpson, Lock & Vince in the 1920s. It is built on the footprint of an older building, so the cellar may be older
166 - 168 18th painted brick houses with modern ground floors
170 old houses converted in 1938. By Sydney Dawe and Ley, and later Colbeck & Partners. The building is on the 1842 Tithe Map
172 this is a 17th timber-framed house
177-179, a timber-framed building from the 15th and 16th
195, 15th building with a wagon-way.
197 this is an 18th red brick house, with modern ground floor shop.
Watford High Street Station.  Built in 1862 by the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway as the only station on their line between Watford Junction and Rickmansworth.  It now lies between Watford Junction and Bushey on London Overground.  The original station was a single platform in a cutting reached by stairs from the street.  In 1913 it was rebuilt when the LNWR branch extended to Croxley Green with a new island platform. The line itself was in a cutting and there were new buildings on the bridge above. Much of this has survived despite some alterations. Some internal panelling was said to come from St.Pancras Station. In 1917 the Bakerloo line was extended here but closed in 1982.  This old LNWR station was re-opened in 1913 as part of the Euston to Watford electrification scheme. 
Signal box. This controlled the Croxley Green and Bushey Curves from where a single track line went into the brewery from the station.  This was on a rising gradient and entered the brewery through a gate in the cutting and passed over a public footpath. The footpath crossed over the London North West Railway station platforms by a bridge. 

Kings Close
This was once part of King Street
Shri Guru Singh Sabha Ghudwara. Sikh Community Centre. This was the Watford County Court House mainly facing onto Lady’s Close. The cells are in the side entrance block south facing King Close with a large Royal Arms in the centre

King Street
Named for Jonathan King who once owned Watford Place and the road was laid out on the line of the drive to the house.
7-9 a former police station which later became a pub. It was designed by County Surveyor Urban A. Smith and built opened in 1889 as a purpose-built police station and continued as such until 1940. In 1962 it became a pub named The Robert Peel.
11-17 Row of building originally intended as housing. Behind 11 is an extension once used as chapel by a funeral director.
19-21 Mecca Bingo. This opened as the Central Hall 1913, designed by Norfolk & Prior (Catford) Ltd. It was renamed The Regal in 1930 when sound equipment was installed It went through several owners, before it was acquired in 1932 by Bernstein Theatres. They engaged George Coles and Theodore Komisarjevsky to redesign it and very little of Central Hall survived beyond the outside walls. It was passed to Courtwood Cinemas in 1934 and bought by Essoldo in 1954 and renamed. It was converted to bingo in 1968.
Watford Place. A white villa built around1790 and said to be the third house of the site. The top storey was added in 1822. It was the home of Mrs. Fuller who endowed the Free School near the church in 1704. It has been bought by Mr. Hobson her first husband.

Lady’s Close
Watford Grammar School for Girls. This is a two storey building of brick with cupolas brick chimneys. There are extensive later additions. The building was designed in 1905 by Charles Ayres with 1928 additions by Sydney Dawe. The school was opened in 1907 to end overcrowding of the existing mixed sex endowed school in Derby Road.  Although it ceased being a grammar school in 1975, it has kept the name.
House. This is now part of the school buildings. It is a 19th villa with additions done in 1921 by Sydney Dawe. It was originally one of a pair of 19th detached houses which was purchased in 1919 by the school. In the Great War it was used as an auxiliary hospital, and later as housing for the headmistress. Since then it has been used as classrooms.

Loates Lane
Central Hall. Former chapel and school, now nursery. This was built, in 1869 of brick as a chapel for the ‘Strict Baptists’. They left in 1888, when the Baptist Tabernacle on Derby Road was opened, and it was taken over by the Plymouth Brethren. By 1949 was owned by ‘The Christian Assembly’ but by the 1990s it building was derelict. On the front elevation is metal lettering saying ‘CENTRAL HALL’. At the back is an old school building, built in 1869.

New Street
2 City of London Coal posts moved from Bushey Arches and now at the end of an alley leading to the High Street and used as a bollard

Queens Road
65 owned by Hertfordshire County Council since 1927 and with a number of official uses – currently as a community hub
67 Purpose built shop for the Cooperative Society now in use by a charity. It was designed by the architect Leonard G. Ekins chief architect for the Cooperative Wholesale Society for 37 years. It was built in two stages and the shop front is original except for modern signage it has central stand for a flagstaff.
69 Former Mount Zion Baptist Church, now a hostel. It was designed by Charles Richard Lovejoy built for the strict Baptists 1884 -1885.
70-72 19th housing to which a shop front was added in 1897 and in 1904 partly became the Watford Liberal Working Men’s Club and Institute. By 1923 it was the Watford Social Club
79a Music shop, with flats above. It has been used as a music shop for over 50 years
91 Primitive Methodist chapel. This chapel dated from 1886 and closed in 1966. The site is now housing
91 Victoria Pub. Demolished. The site is now housing – Tantivy Court
94-96 Komnata. Slavic restaurant in pub previously called variously King George, Mad George, the Pub on the Corner and the Amber Rooms.
Horse trough with a drinking fountain and inscribed ‘DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE SOLDIERS FROM THIS DISTRICT OF THE REGULAR AND AUXILIARY FORCES WHO DIED IN SOUTH AFRICA IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR SOVEREIGN AND COUNTRY 1899 - 1902' ‘ERECTED BY MRS W. R. WOOLRYCH OF CROXLEY HOUSE 1903’.

Shaftesbury Road
Waterfields Recreation Ground

Sotheron Road
80 Kingdom Hall. Leavesden Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Stephenson Way
Colne Bridge Five-arched railway viaduct, built in 1837 to carry the London to Birmingham Railway over the Colne. Each of the arches spans around 40 feet and is 45 feet high and it was designed by Robert Stephenson. It now also accommodates the A4008 Stephenson Way built around 1993. It was widened in 1849 and 1875, but the original bridge remains on west side.
London Coal Duty Boundary Marker. Square plinth; surmounted by obelisk bearing the City of London coat of arms. It was originally on the opposite side of the River Colne but was repaired and relocated by Watford Borough Council in 1984.

St Johns Road
TK Max Head Office

Sutton Road
St. John the Evangelist designed by Eley E. White of Christopher and White. This is a tall stone Gothic church with rubble stone walls. In 1871, St Mary’s church was extensively restored and an iron building was erected as a temporary church. When St Mary's re-opened it was not needed and the building was moved here in 1873 to become St. Johns. A new building was planned and a foundation stone laid in 1891. It was opened in 1803 a more modest belfry replaced the tower and spire. In 1904 it became a parish church in its own right and a leading Anglo-Catholic church
55 The building and rear yard belonged to the building firm ‘Stratford and Son’ who were based in Queens Road, before moving here in 1930

Water Lane
Fighting Cocks Pub. Long gone
Premier Inn, Timms Meadow
Coal post. This was on the south side east of the bridge over the Colne. In 1966 it was moved to the College of Further Education
George Stevenson College. College of Technology merged into West Harts College in 1991. The college buildings were set on pillars to keep the classrooms and offices above the flood plain. The site has since been redeveloped as Waterfields Retail Park with a Tesco Extra. The hotel buildings opposite the old college site are on a slightly raised piece of ground

Sources
British History Online. Watford. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site`
Business Cavalcade of London,
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Clunn. The Face of London
Estcourt Tavern. Web site.
Hertfordshire Churches
Hertfordshire County Council. Web site
Intu. Web site
London Transport. Country walks
Peaty. Brewery railways
Sabre roads. Web site.
Signpost. Web site
St.John's Church. Web site
Walford. Village London
Watford Grammar School. Wikipedia Web site
Watford Central Primary School. Web site
Watford Central School. Wikipedia Web site
Watford Council. Web site
Watford Market. Web site
Watford Mosque. Web site
Watford Spiritualist Church. Web site
West Watford History Group. Web site
Whitelaw. Hidden Hertfordshire,

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