Sunday, 30 June 2013

River Colne - Brightwells

River Colne
The Colne flows south westwards and then turns abruptly west
TQ 09214 94232

Open area to the south of Watford with old gravel extraction sites along the Colne and a large private school.

Post to the east Oxhey
Post to the south Hampermill
Post to the west Tolpits

Vicarage Road
Brightwells Farm. The site is referred to from the Middle Ages and was the name of a manor. It is thought that there was a hamlet or village associated with the site. It has also been known as Hatters Farm.
Brightwells Spring

Chaffinch Lane
Community Centre. Run by Watford CVS
King George V Playing Fields

Hampermill Lake.
Gravel extraction site until the 1960s.
Merchant Taylors School.
This is a private school for boys, originally located in the City. Since 1933 it has been at Sandy Lodge. It was founded in 1561 by Sir Thomas White Sir Richard Hilles, Emanuel Lucar and Stephen Hales.

Tolpits Lane
Holywell Hospital. Watford and District Isolation Hospital.  In the late 19th Watford local authority were offered land by the Earl of Essex for an isolation hospital.  It was built to a design by Charles Ayres ad consisted of four blocks with forty two beds plus other buildings and a garden, During the Second World War it was used by Canadian soldiers with Diphtheria. When the NHS was created in 1948 it was renamed the Holywell Hospital and during the 1950’s was used as a TB hospital. It later became the Holywell Wing of Watford General Hospital and in 1972 it became the Geriatric wing. It finally closed in 1982 and was demolished in 1985. In 1988 it was announced that the site would be used for housing

Lost Hospitals of London. Web site
Merchant Taylors School. Web site
West Watford History Group. Web site
Watford Council. Web site.

River Colne. Oxhey

River Colne
The Colne flows south westwards

Post to the north Watford Stadium
Post to the west Brightwells

Broadfield Lane
Oxhey Hall Community Association Hall and Sports Centre. Established 1940.

Eastbury Road
The Happy Hour Pub

Hamper Mill Lane
Moreton Hall – Ebury Children’s Centre and a number of local clubs.
Bushey Cricket Club, It is believed that the Club was formed before 1864. The home ground is owned by Veolia Water Company and was created in the 1940s and owned by the Colne Valley Water Company. There is a bowling green, two hard court tennis courts, and a pavilion
Oxhey Hall. 16th house extended in the 17th and remodelled in 1870. It has a Timber frame with stock brick casing. The house is on a moated site. Barn – 17th or early 18th with a timber frame, and weather boarded.
Eastbury Pumping Station. The Colne Valley Water Company built the Pumping Station in 1873. It is thought that the last beam type pumping engine was installed here in 1919 from John Taylor and Sons which worked until 1954. In 1956 the station switched to diesel power,
Railway. In 1931 the Colne Valley Water Company opened a narrow gauge railway connecting the Eastbury pumping station with the London North West Railway line from Rickmansworth. A 2.0' narrow gauge line ran southeast from a private siding on the railway to a yard at the pumping station. It handled coal and salt, used for the water softening plant. The line closed in 1967 and the two locomotives were purchased by the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum
On the public footpath to and from Hamper Mill is a footbridge over what was the narrow gauge railway to Eastbury Pumping station. . It came from the ‘Never Stop Railway’ at the Wembley Exhibition, 1925.

River Colne
Bridge – the narrow gauge railway crossed the River Colne on a plate girder bridge.

Silk Mill Lane
Electricity transmission station

The Rookery
The Rookery Silk Mill built in 1770 by Thomas Deacon. It was on the Colne, and a set of sluices controlled the flow of water into the works. In the late 18th, the mill employed 100 people. It closed in 1881. Watford Steam Laundry & Dye Works, were in the buildings by 1898. The buildings were later converted into a piano factory and in the 1970s workshops and offices for engineers and joiners

Ancient Monuments. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Bushey Cricket Club. Web site
Happy Hour. Web site
Osborne. Defending London
Roberts. Chelsea to Cairo
Three Rivers District Council. Web site
West Watford History Group. Web site
Whitelaw. Hidden Hertfordshire

River Colne. Watford Stadium

River Colne
The Colne flows south and divides in two, and reunites

Post to the east Watford Lower High Street
Post to the south Oxhey

Cardiff Road
At one time called Pest House Lane,
Sewage works and pumping station. The sewage pumping station was initially at the end of what is now Cardiff Road, and dates from before 1870.  A sewage works was built later further to the west.
Cardiff Road Power Station.  Watford Council were granted an Electric Lighting Order in 1897 for the supply of e1cctrical energy, and two years later works were erected and cables laid. The power station was built in the early 1900s and operated by the Watford Corporation Electricity Department until nationalisation. It was by the railway and there was a rail siding into the site. It appears to have been a large gothic building with six chimneys.  It was later converted to oil firing. Eastern Electricity Board had a maintenance depot and workshop on the site after the power station itself was demolished. In 1970 the Central Electricity Generating Board built a gas-turbine peak-load plant of 150 MW here
A refuse destructor was erected in 1904 and demolished in 1947.

Colney Butts
The name for this area west of the main part of Watford. Butts may refer to an archery practise area.

Queens Avenue
10 Warehouse complex behind

Watford Junction to Rickmansworth. In 1862 a single line railway, later doubled, was opened by the Watford & Rickmansworth Railway. It ran electric trains from 1927 but closed to passengers in 1952 although freight continued until 1967. The line follows the Colne Valley an crossed the Colne three times and some of this area is mow a local park
Croxley Green Branch. Under its New Lines Act, the London North West Railway built a short branch to Croxley Green from the line to Rickmansworth – from Croxley Green Junction. It opened in 1912 and was electrified in 1922. In 1988 it was called the Harlequin Line Services were reduced gradually and withdrawn in 1996 and closed in 2003
Croxley Green Sheds Carriage sheds built for the London & North-Western Railway in 1914/15 to house electric trains, some Bakerloo stick. It was demolished in 1987. They were used for stabling rail stock and carrying out minor maintenance for the London North Western Railway 1915-23, London, Midland & Scottish Railway 1923-1948 and British Rail 1948-1987.

River Colne
Tumbling Bay

Riverside Road
The Riverside Road Community Park in Watford was opened in November 2001, completing the eastern end of the Ebury Way rail line. The park has a skate park and a children’s playground.
Riverside works
Watford South Sub station

St. James Road
Baptist Church. St James Road Baptist Church began in a private house in 1902. Mr & Mrs Bareham donated the site for the original building on the corner of St James Road and Farraline Road. The first baptismal service took place in 1904. An organ was acquired in 1906 and gas lighting was installed in 1907. In 1951 was agreed in principle to rebuild. A house for use as a manse became available at no 21 St James Road, which had an adjacent plot of orchard land. A new structure was built here and the building remaining in use as a Hall. Work was needed to be done on the old church building and it was demolished. The new building was officially opened in 1966 and the 1955 building then reverted to use as a Church Hall.
Baptist Church Hall. This is the second church now the hall.

Vicarage Road
This was originally named as part of Hagden Lane
45-47 cottage hospital building. This is thought to be Watford’s first hospital, financed by public subscription, designed Charles Ayres and opened in 1886 by Lady Clarendon. It has been used for a variety of medical uses, including as a geriatric hospital and Day Centre. It is now offices. Memorial tablets commemorate the opening by Lady Clarendon and later by Adeline, Duchess of Bedford. Others commemorate the Diamond Jubilee and the coronation of the king in 1901.
58 Watford Printers. Established in 1921, and is a Workers Co-partnership Society. They are in what was Colney Butts House, and partly designed by William H. Syme. Colney Butts House was part of a farm in the 18th, and extended during the 19th. In 1910 it was bought as a home by Syme, who added a single storey extension in 1911. He sold it to the Watford Printers in 1924 and they added to it in the 1930s.
105 Red Lion. Pub with a brick stable block on a linear plot alongside the road. It was designed in the 1890s for Benskin's by Charles P Ayres but a pub here dates back to at least 1751. Now called the Yellow and Red Lion
Watford Stadium. This has been used by Watford Football club since 1922, when the club moved here from elsewhere. The ground was opened by Col. Charles Healey of Benskins Brewery. It is also used by Wealdstone Football Club and Saracens Rugby Club.
The Vicarage Road Stand. This was built in 1993 and was previously an open terrace on an earth bank. It was paid for by selling a football player.
The Rookery Stand. This was built in 1995 and is used fir administration and a shop. The area was originally a roofed over cinder bank and this was concreted in 1959; the new stand includes housing on an adjacent site.
The Rous Stand. Built in 1986 this is alongside the pitch and is used for executive boxes and a TV camera gantry.  It replaced the Shrodells Stand which itself replaced an earlier Union Stand brought here from an earlier site.
The Main Stand. This includes changing rooms, director's box and press area and is part of the original stadium built in 1922,
60 Watford Union workhouse.  The Watford Union workhouse was built in 1836-7. It was designed by T.L. Evans and opened in 1838.  Its buildings were built of brick, and were mainly two storeys high. The former workhouse buildings now contain various hospital departments.
119a West Watford Christian fellowship church. Founded in the 1890s
Sycamore House, This is the administration building of the workhouse and still in use by the Hospital. Courtyard buildings in front of it were demolished in 1950.
Workhouse chapel. Renamed St Barnabas' chapel under the NHS. Its organ, built by Thomas S. Jones & Son, was moved to All Saints' Church, South Oxhey.
60 Watford General Hospital. In 1929 Poor Law Unions were abolished and workhouses came under the control of the local authorities. Watford Borough Council renamed their workhouse as the Shrodells Public Assistance Institution -'Shrodells' apparently means ‘shrubberies’. In the Second World War it became part of the Emergency Medical Scheme as an Advanced Base for University College Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital.  It joined the NHS in 1948 as Shrodell's Hospital with 464 general beds.  In 1965 it became the Watford General Hospital merging officially with the Watford and District Peace Memorial Hospital as Shrodells Wing. It became a geriatric hospital. In 1972 the Shrodells Psychiatric Unit was established. 
Nurses' Home built in 1983 by Willow Lane.  Built in a U-shaped building and linked to existing staff accommodation. 
Princess Michael of Kent Wing opened in the 1980s, for the Out-Patients Department, and Accident and Emergency Department,
Acute Admissions Unit. Opened in 2010. Believed to be the largest such unit in the country, and includes beds for emergency admissions, laboratories, a pharmacy and an Imaging Department for X-ray,
Lodge at the Hospital entrance
Dermatology Centre and Medical Education Centre are housed in the infirmary block of the workhouse.
Harwood’s Recreation Ground. With a new adventure playground
Cemetery. Opened in 1858. Chapel in the 14th style built when time the Cemetery opened in 1858. Originally this was the Anglican chapel with another for non-conformists.
War Memorial. This is in the cemetery erected by the Imperial War Graves Commission. To the memory of servicemen who died during the Great War. It was unveiled at a civic ceremony in 1929. It is stone with a large cross on a stepped plinth. On the front is a bronze sword. and an Inscription ‘THIS CROSS OF SACRIFICE IS ONE IN DESIGN AND INTENTION WITH THOSE WHICH HAVE BEEN SET UP IN FRANCE AND BELGIUM AND OTHER PLACES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD WHERE OUR DEAD OF THE GREAT WAR ARE LAID TO REST THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE’.
West Watford and Oxhey Garden and Allotment Society. The allotment site is Holywell once much bigger and in in 1900 extended across the road to Rose Gardens and Laurence Haines School are now.
Laurence Haines School. Primary School opened in 1972
Watford Stadium Station. Opened in 1982 by Elton John. Funded by the Football Trust, Watford Football Club and Watford Borough Council to try and ease congestion at football match times. Used only when the club were playing at home and including footpaths to take crowds away from residential areas. It had a single concrete platform and no shelters. It was closed when the line closed in the 1990s but remains in place although overgrown.
Railway bridge
Electric sub station
Holywell Farm. The site is now housing
Abattoir replaced Holywell Farm before the current housing was built

Willow Lane
On the line of Pest House Lane
Pest House. Ruins of the old Pest House said to be in the corner of the allotment site. It was in bad repair in 1754 and demolished in 1914
Willow Lane allotment. Given up in the 80's
Farm Terrace allotments. The second oldest site in Watford, set up in 1896
Lime kilns

Bygone Lines of the LNWR. Web site
Diamond Geezer. Web site
Disused Stations. Web site
Hertfordshire County Council. Web site
Lost Hospitals of London. Web site
St.James Road Baptist church. Web site
The Workhouse. Web site
Three River District Council. Web site
Watford Council, web site
Watford Printers Web site
Watford Stadium. Wikipedia. Web site
West Watford Christian Fellowship Church. Web site
West Watford History Group. Web site

Friday, 28 June 2013

River Colne. Watford Lower High Street

River Colne
The Colne flows south and west, with a canalised diverted section to the west.

Post to the south Watford
Post to the west Watford Stadium

Aldenham Road
1 The Railway Arms. This is a stock brick building with a stable behind dating from the mid-19th.  If ‘arms’ is not just the commonly used pub designation but refers to heraldic arms – then it might be named for those of the London Midland and Scottish Railway  The inn sign shows a ‘'Royal Scot' class locomotive in original parallel boiler form, surmounted by the LMS circular device as used on coaching stock’.
A.T Roberts, Mechanical Engineers. This firm was established in 1896 as a ‘smithy’ on a site which was previously a chalk pit.
Electricity sub station.

Blackwell Drive
This is the drive to Wiggenhall now a road of suburban housing mainly built in the 1950s

Bridge Place
Bus depot. This was operated by National from 1925 and used by London General Country Service from 1926 and subsequently operated by the London Passenger Transport Board. In 1935 Green Line Coaches ran from there and the first models of some London Transport Country Bus services. Space was rented on the gas works site opposite to accommodate buses under repair. It was closed in 1959 following construction of the garage at Garston, but closure was triggered by a bus workers strike in 1958.  The site is now a car park for local big shed shops.

Cannon Road
Presumably named after the nearby Cannon Brewery

Chalk Hill
10 Waste Transfer Station
14 former farm house. Timber-framed 17th building,
18 office building. This was once part of a row of four semi-detached properties and is set back behind gardens.  It is possible that the it is 18th
Flint and rubble wall. The wall is said to have been made up of rubble from demolished cottages and maybe waste from a stone mason
Bushey Lime Works. The chalk pit in which these works were situated has been worked from since, at least, the 18th. In the 19th it was frequently visited by geologists and botanists – at which time it was known as Bushey Kiln.   The pit – which was of considerable size – was infilled.

Dalton Way
Dalton Way encircles the Century Park trading estate built on the site of the bus depot and some other works and passed twice under the rail viaduct between Bushey and Watford high Street stations. The enclosed area covers the path of a diversion from the river Colne which crossed the gas and water works sites.
Railway viaduct. This impressive brick viaduct was built around 1913 by the London and North West Railway as part of their New Lines project. It diverged from the main line on the north side of Bushey Station and carried the railway on a sweeping curve towards Watford High Street Station to join the branch line to West Watford and Croxley Green branch. It was however run as part of the Bakerloo Line with special stock designed to handle both main line and underground service. From the 1960s this service was reduced and closed when the Jubilee Line opened. It has however since been reinstated.
Croxley Green Curve construction of the New Lines in included a triangular junction to Bushey. The western end of the curve retained the name Croxley Green Junction and included the junction between the Croxley Green and Rickmansworth branches.
Colne Junction The eastern end of the curve at the railway triangle junction became Colne Junction

Deacons Hill
Tommy Deacon’s Hill. This was a new road cut in the 1920s from part of the Wiggenhall Estate and to replace Blackwell Drive. The Deacon family has lived at Wiggenhall, and Thomas Deacon had died in 1780. He is said to have died as a result of a fall from a horse and to haunt the road in the interests of road safety.

East Bury Road
This was formerly called Hamper Mill Lane
Cliff Villa. This stood alongside the church, on raised ground.
Kingsfield House. This was owned by the King family and built about 1880. In 1928 it became Freelands School which in 1933 it was renamed Kingsfield School. It was a private boys’ ‘preparatory’ school and it closed in 1970.
Bushey Station. Opened in 1841 it now lies between Watford Junction and Watford High Street and Carpenders Park on the London Overground and the Main Line into Euston.  The first station here was opened in 1841 to serve the railway line built by the London and Birmingham Railway Company. This was replaced by the current station buildings when plans were drawn by the Chief Engineer’s Department of the London and North Western Railway Company in 1911 when the suburban line to Watford was electrified. From 1917 it was used by the Bakerloo Line.  Technically the site is in Oxhey and the station was originally called ‘Bushey and Oxhey’. In 1939-44 called ‘Ampersand Railway Station’ – and the name sign was painted out leaving the word ‘and’. In 1974 it was renamed ‘Bushey’ . The buildings are described as ‘An excellent example of an early twentieth century railway station’ which may have been designed by Reginald Wynn Owen.  Note the loco on the weather vane
Oxhey Park. In 1919 Watford Council’s Estates Committee met on Wiggenhall Bridge to view the Wiggenhall Estate and later purchased it and in 1924 land was allocated for the park.  This opens onto Eastbury Road along its south boundary and originally there was a wrought iron fence with gates alongside the Eastbury Road frontage and some remain although most were given to the war effort in the 1940s.  The riverside walk was set up a boat house provided, although later demolished. A new play area was opened in 2011 and the park is used for hurling marches, since Glen Rovers GAA Club and Watford Irish Club play there.
The Dell. Wooded area shown as a hollow before the park was built  - presumably an old pit.

Farthing Close
Farthing Close is a ‘exclusive’ gated estate near the site of Farthing Lane
Cottages - lath-and-plaster cottages which became slum property and were demolished.
Farthing Lane Methodist chapel opened in 1838 and closed in 1868;

Kingsfield Road
55 in the wall can be seen locally fired bricks

Lammas Road
St James’ Church. This was consecrated in 1913, when a new parish was created. It was originally designed by Arthur Durrant and the 1928 chancel was designed by Martin Travers and Thomas Grant. Regular services ended in 1971 and the building was declared redundant. It was later converted into a sports hall for Watford Fields School.
War Memorial. This commemorates the names of local men from the former St James Parish who died fighting during the Great War. It was unveiled in 1921 and is built of Portland stone with a large cross on a stepped plinth. Four panels list the names of those who died.
Railway Bridge
8a The Curate’s House. Previously the vicarage for St James’ parish church, closed in the 1970s, it was built in 1949

Local Board Road
1a 19th brick building with a pyramid topped ventilation tower and a loading hatch.  Its shape relates to a former water channel which ran behind it,
Terrace of three mid-19th houses – these are earlier than most such housing in Watford.
Waterworks pumping station. Small brick water pumping station built for the Watford Local Board of Health in 1854 and later the building is now used by the Pump House Theatre. It was designed by Charles Ayres.  In 1850 the Local Board of Health was set up to improve the local water supply. It was decided to pump water to the town from a holding reservoir and these works were built for that use. A new pumping engine was added in 1885. The buildings went out of use in 1972 and was taken over by the theatre 
Pump House Theatre, the building was converted to provide a theatre auditorium and rehearsal room. Other improvements have been carried out making a centre to support the local community and it mainly provides help and coordination for artists, groups and local societies

Lower High Street
194 Benskin's Watford Cannon Brewery Ltd. Benskin's began as a brewery owned by John Pope the late 17th which was passed to the Dyson family in 1741 and sold to Benskin in 1867. Over the next century Benzoin acquired all the other Watford Breweries and some others with pubs throughout southern England.  The site in the High Street was called Three Tunes Yard and Buskin’s had two large traditional maltings on the site and one built later. There was capacity to stable 40 horses. There was a railway extension built in the 1870s, with a siding running into the brewery. They were taken over by Ind Coope in 1957 and Benskin has remained as a brand name for Allied Brewers and now Carlsberg, Denmark. Brewing ended in Watford in 1972 when they had 636 tied houses. The brewery buildings were demolished in 1978, except for the offices.
196 Watford Museums.  This is housed in what was the head office of Benskin's Brewery from 1868. It is a large red brick house with the date of 1775 on a rainwater head with initials JAD– which may refer to one of the Dyson, brewers here. Entrance gates on the High Street.
200 Kings House and Queens House. Once part of the brewery complex and now in office use.
203 Three Tuns Pub. This was the Brewery Tap which was demolished in 1932
Sedgwick's Brewery. This probably began in a brew house owned by William Smith in the Watford High Street in 1655. In 1790 the Watford Brewery was sold to George Whittingstall. Whittingstall expanded the brewery and on his death it passed to Edmund Fearnley-Whittingstall and it was eventually leased in 1862 to William F. Sedgwick. The brewery continued to expand by in 1923 it was sold to Benskin's and subsequently demolished.
Wellspring Church Centre. Watford community church. The church was established in 1951 as the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church which was demolished for the Harlequin Centre, and they then went to a chapel building in Sotheron Road. Until 2010 they met in Watford Girls Grammar School but then opened this centre. During its construction a Wellspring Centre for Watford Community Church, a 15-metre deep well was found likely to have been the brewery's source of water. 
Watford Springs Swimming Pool.  This was built as part of the legal agreement on the Harlequin Centre on the demolished brewery site. Construction started in 1988 and completed in 1990. During the first weeks pieces of glass from the roof were found in the pool, and it was shut for six months while the roof structures were repaired. It reopened in 1991 with subsidies from the council to keep the plant equipment going and closed in 2000. It was demolished in 2004.  The company which built it had gone into liquidation.
239 A maltings of 1836 survived as a garage on this site, now part of the Tesco complex.
253  Brookland. House and brick outbuildings around a courtyard. Original buildings were designed by William Grace as a private residence house for a Mr Newberry in 1911. The site was bought by George Ausden in 1925 for his metal recycling business. That firm are still based there,
251 Angel Inn. This is now the site of the Co-op Funeral Service and chapel.
292 Frogmore House. An 18th house with 1716 on the rainwater head. Derelict but converted to flats.
Frogmore Cottages. This terrace of four brick cottages stands at right angles to the road. They were designed by Sydney Dawe and built in 1931 for the Watford and St Albans Gas Company to house their workers.
302-304 Terrace of brick houses which are shown on the 1842 Tithe Map, and they are probably early 19th. “BRIDGE COTTAGE” is painted on one of them.
Toll house – the site was at the bottom of Chalk Hill on the Watford side of Bushey Arches. A plaque has been mounted on a plinth which was part of an old flint stone wall and is a relic of the Sparrows Herne Turnpike Trust.
Bushey Arches. The road goes under a five arch brick and stone viaduct built by the London and Birmingham railway. The arch is angled to allow the toll road to pass underneath without a deviation It is extended westward by a 20th viaduct.
Pillbox.  This single storey rectangular structure of brick is below the central span of Bushey Arches. It was built during the early stages of World War II, as part of the Outer London Stop Line. There are four gun apertures in the front and two in the rear and there is a metal door at the back
Gazelda Industrial Estate, named for the Gazelda Works which made leather clothing and other items before the Second World War.  The works was north of the omnibus depot and behind other buildings
Watford Mill. The mill of Watford belonged to the abbey of St. Albans, and in the middle ages the one which people were obliged to use. There was a mill pond and a fishery.  It stood on the west side of the High Street at the point at which the mill stream or cut passed under it and opposite Local Board Road and slightly south of it. Behind it another cut ran between the Colne and the cut. A malt house stood alongside it
Watford Bridge. This was Townesend Bridge, or the Great Bridge of Watford and thought to have originally been built by St. Albans Abbey
Watford Fire Station. The fire station includes a purpose built fire station museum.
Watford Gas Works. Watford Gas and Coke Company was founded in 1834 with a works in the High Street near the Colne. In 1930 it amalgamated with the St Alban's Gas Company to form the Watford and St Alban's Gas Company. On nationalisation it became part of the Watford Division of the Eastern Gas Board. A  Gasholder remained and is a late example of column-guided gasholder, built in the 1930s.
Wheatsheaf Pub The Wheatsheaf Public House was built in 1931 to replace an earlier pub which had stood here for over 200 years, to allow the road to be widened. This 1930s pub was, in turn, demolished in 1995 to make way for a retail park. The first performances of Henry Irving were in room behind the pub.

Neal Street
Houses backed on to the brewery rail cutting
Watford Field Infant School. The Watford School Board was established in 1883. The first new schools built by the board were the Watford Fields Schools and the infants’ school moved to its present site in 1981.

Pinner Road
Liberty boundary 1882
Coal post. This stood at the junction with Capel Road. Since moved.
Pillbox. Single storey concrete hexagon part of a Second World War defence stop line,  It was built in the early stages of the Second World War. It is a ‘Type 27’ with various gun apertures, a covered entrance on one side and a gun pit on the roof.
Bushey and Pinner Railway Yard. The coal depot lay south of the station from 1882 with many sidings to the east
37 Shop with flats above and a stone statue of Queen Victoria on a stone plinth over the corner door. The words ‘Queens Terrace’ are on the hood.
56 Belvedere house. Two storey building of rendered brick
85-88 Table Hall. This old church hall is now a day nursery. It was designed by the Reginald St Aubyn Roumieu in an Arts and Crafts style. It was the church hall for St Matthew’s Church and was occupied by charitable organisations from 1963

Railway Line
Coal post. This was at the North West corner of Bushey arches. It has since been moved
Electricity sub-station – the lower brick courses survive in the vee of the lines, a new sub-station having been built inside the yard

River Colne
A canal/cut ran south through the area passing under Lower High Street at Watford Mill cutting off a section of the Colne.  Another cut ran from this north of the mill to the Colne. Neither of these are now extant. There were boat houses on both sections in the 1880s.
Iron foundry. This was sited on the Peninsula formed between the Colne and its cut
Bridge - a cycle and foot bridge was put to cross in over the river in Oxhey Park in 2010

St Matthews Close
Church of St Matthew . Built 1880 by W. H. Syme as a red brick Gothic church with a north-west tower and spire.

Waterfields Way
Colne Valley Retail Park

Watford Field Road
28-29 houses. Originally part of a terrace set back from the High Street and extant in 1842 and possibly earl 18th
34-36 Almshouses designed by Sedgwick, Son & Wall and built in 1884. They were funded by Mary Bailey Smith in memory of her parents and sister.
Watford Fields. Open space and recreation area with some sports use
Field Road Junior School. Single storey building of stock brick. The original building was by Ayres & Ardron. It was built for the Watford School Board and opened in 1891 as a mixed elementary school. It is now a mixed junior school, with an associated infant school in Neal Street.

Wiggenhall Road
Wiggenhall sports ground
Wiggenhall House. The house was roughly on the site of the current depot. This was purchased by Watford Council with the rest of the estate and was let out by them at first to individuals and then to community groups. It was later used as a clinic and demolished in 1955.
Depot – in the grounds are some of the original Wiggenhall  mansion outbuildings -old pig sties housing lorries; rings for tying up horses on the external wall of what were stables, and a weather vane on top of what are now offices. It is now a Council depot.
Watford Irish Centre. The Irish Association in Watford was formed in 1969 and in 1991 acquired this premises,
Fisher Industrial Estate
Wiggenhall Bridge
Hertfordshire Ice and Cold Storage. Dates from before 1908


Benskin’s Brewery. Wikipedia Web site
Brewery History Society. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Cinema Theatre Association Newsletter
Clive’s Lines. Web site
Disused Stations. Web site
Day. London Underground,
Geolocation. Web site
Glazier. London Transport Garages
Hertfordshire Churches
Kingsfield School. Web site
London Railway Record
National Archives. Web site
Pump House Museum. Web site
St. Mary’s Church, Watford. Web site
Watford Community Church. Web site
Watford Council. Web site
Watford Irish Club. Web site

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
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.

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

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,