West Watford History Group

History of West Watford


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A History of Cycling

Posted by Watford on September 15, 2016 at 3:50 PM

Interested parties gathered at the West Watford Community Centre on Thursday 8th September for a talk by Peter Stray on the History of Cycling.

Peter brought along a lovely old racing bicyle and displayed it in all its shining glory on a stand in the corner - everyone had a chance at the end of the talk to check it over. There was a cigarette card book of very old models through to up-to-date ones, two or three guides to cycling and the maintenance of bicycles and a leather racing helmet about 30 - 40 years old that belonged to a friend of Peter and which was passed around for the group's interest. 

Peter spoke for just over an hour, first explaining that his area of expertise covered the activity in the 1920s and 1930s. However, he began by giving a brief description of how cycling evolved from the 1870s and how popular it became towards the end of the 19th century, "the golden age of cycling". 

This was followed by a look at how cycles changed over the years and how styles of dress are still influenced by what is best to wear whilst riding a bicycle. For instance, ladies in later Victorian times started to wear "rational dress, Plus 2s in tweed and a tweed jacket". 

The audience were asked to join in and much discussion took place about local bike shops and manufacturers.  The future of the cycle was also a keen topic.

With thanks to Peter Stray for the talk and Sue Ettridge for the write-up.

Forthcoming Exhibition

Posted by Watford on September 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Roger Kattenhorn is a member of the West Watford History Group. Check back for dates. 

We Need Your Help

Posted by Watford on June 16, 2016 at 5:45 AM

West Watford Shops 

We are currently undertaking a new project mapping the "lost shops and small businesses" of West Watford. Do you know of any shops that once stood on a corner of a road but have since gone? Or changed usage? Like the fish and chip shop that was once on the corner of Pretoria Road and Chester Road. 

If you remember these places, we'd love to hear from you. You can contact us via our email address:

[email protected]

or through the website's contact page. Just leave a message with a few details and we'll get back to you.

Thanks for your help and we look forward to hearing from you. 

Public Meeting

Posted by Watford on May 27, 2016 at 7:25 AM

History of Market Street

Posted by Watford on January 4, 2016 at 1:15 PM

"The History of Market Street".  A presentation by Janet Goulding.

To be held at the West Watford Community Centre, 15 Harwoods Road, West Watford on

Thursday 14th January at 7.15 pm. 

All welcome.  Admission £2.50

WW1 Project

Posted by Watford on July 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM

The West Watford History Group is currently working on a very exciting project to research all WW1 combatants with a West Watford connection. With the help of  'Ancestry' and 'Find My Past' websites, you will be able to find out what the people living in your house in West Watford did in the war. 

For example, in 1914, Frank Bonham Ryder was a dairyman at 15 Harwoods Road (now West Watford Community Centre). Married to Dorothy in 1911, Frank attested in 1915, which showed he was willing to serve, but would like to delay his service for business reasons. Like many, he was given a brief exemption by the local Tribunal, but by 1917 helping his dairy farmer father was not enough reason to delay joining up, so he became a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillary (RGA) aged 29.

The RGA was responsible for firing the heavy guns positioned behind allied lines and would have received similar shells from the enemy. Seriously wounded in the fighting, Frank's leg was amputated at the thigh in a Belgian hospital from where he was sent to a military hospital in Edmonton to recover. 

Discharged on 20th March 1919 as unfit for further service, but of good character, as a married man he was awarded an initial pension of 27/6d reducing to 16/6d for life and 7s per week for his two children for as long as they were eligible. 

Make a note in your diary for the Heritage Weekend, 13th/14th September and find out more. 

Heritage Weekend

Posted by Watford on July 9, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Art Competition

Posted by Watford on May 6, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Don't forget to submit your entry for this year's Watford Live! art postcard competition by 4pm, Saturday 24th May!

Make a postcard of your favourite place in Watford using any media or art techniques. Anyone of any age can enter, just make sure it is no bigger than 150mm x 150mm.

Entries can be submitted to Watford Museum, Thursday-Saturday 10am - 5pm.

Your work can be seen on Watford Lives! website, with winners displayed at the museum!


Nationally Listed Buildings in Watford

Posted by Watford on February 28, 2014 at 6:30 AM

The Council has produced a document on all the Nationally Listed Buildings in Watford.

This document includes the original building descriptions, from when properties were listed, as well as additional information on the constraints relating to listed building status. Paper copies of the full documents can be viewed at the Town Hall and at both the Central and North Watford Libraries. The documents can also be downloaded for free as a PDF.


A four week consultation runs until Friday 21st March. Comments and suggestions are invited on the draft document, and these will be used to inform the final version.


Further information on this process can be obtained by phoning the Planning Policy team on 01923 278263 or by e-mailing [email protected]

Pre Launch Notice

Posted by Watford on May 10, 2013 at 7:05 AM


Please check out the new website www.pastdayspublishing.com which explains the background and contents of a new book ECHOES OF OLD WATFORD, BUSHEY & OXHEY. The launch will take place at Watford Museum in mid-October.

It is based on the local history newspaper articles written by my father, Ted Parrish, for the "Evening Post-Echo" newspaper in the early 1980s and includes his recollections of life in the area through the decades. In addition there are footnotes, maps, a selection of readers' letters and more than 200 illustrations, a significant number of which will be appearing in print for the first time.

I will be updating the blog on the website on a regular basis, so please check it out again and again.

I'm happy to respond to any queries you may have about the book, which is a solo self-publishing effort.

Lesley Dunlop - [email protected]