Thursday 24 November 2022

Whippendell Road Shops

Tony's, Gents Hairstylist

In the Whippendell Road Parade of Shops you will find Tony's Gents Hair Stylists, surely the Oldest Hairdressers in Watford. It appears there has been a Hairdressers here for over a Hundred Years.

166 Whippendell Road started off as Butchers Shop, Killala, early 1900's, then Eastmans c1906 until c1911, then from c1912 to the present day it seems it has been a Gents Hairdressers owned by the same family. Present Owner Gio has said his Grandfather opened here in the Sixties and has been in the same Family ever since.

Photo of Gio and Assistant celebrating over 50 years of hairdressing in the same family at the same shop. Photo credit Stephen Danzing

Inside Tony's Hairdressers, the Decor hasn't changed since the 1970's.
Photo Credit Steve Danzig

Gio and Assistant celebrating over 50 years of hairdressing in the same shop.
Photo credit Stephen Danzig

January 1990, China Garden opens next door to Tony's.
Photo - Watford Observer

Top Photo - Watford Observer - Opening of China Garden ....
Below 2018 - Photo Credit Eric Johnson with permission to share

Whippendell Road shops with Southsea Avenue to the right. Little change through the years. Photo Credit Stephen Danzing

Looking in the direction of the town from Tesco on the corner of Harwoods Road.
Photo credit Stephen Danzing October 2022

Thursday 3 November 2022

Watford Charter Centenary Celebration

Centenary Celebration of the granting of Watford's Borough Charter

2022 marks 100 years since the town of Watford was awarded its borough status by Royal Charter.

On Friday 30th October at the West Watford Community Centre, an exhibition and afternoon tea was held in celebration of the granting of Watford's Borough Charter on 18th October 1922.
The person behind the idea was West Watford History Group's secretary Sue Ettridge and the event was brilliantly put together by her. Sue also gave a short speech to the invited guests and special thanks were given to all the volunteers who helped it all go smoothly and for the amazing celebratory cake made by one the Centre's Trustees. Photos can be found in the website gallery, but below is one of Sue in front of one of her Charter Day exhibits delivering her short but informative speech.

Centenary Charter Tea and Exhibition held at West Watford Community Centre

~ oOo ~

Below is a full report concerning Charter Day posted in the Watford Observer. Credit goes to them for the photos used.

Watford’s Charter was granted in recognition of the town’s increasing importance as a centre for industry, business and as a home for a growing community, who, like today, were the heart of the town’s success and popularity.

The following extracts are taken from the Watford Observer:

Charter Day, October 18th, 1922: “Long before noon, crowds began to gather in High Street and to line the pavements. Those taking part in the procession began to assemble soon after 10 o’clock at the borough boundary at Haydon Road. Here a platform had been erected; it was covered with red baize, carried a score or more of chairs and at its back floated the Union Jack, flanked on either side by coloured bunting.”

The report goes on to then list all those who officiated from “the Charter Mayor, the Earl of Clarendon” through the mace bearer (Sgt-Major C Maxted) to Judge Dawson Crawford, a number of ladies and members of the Urban District Council and other public bodies”.

“The uniforms and robes which were worn, and the municipal maces and swords carried, contributed to a brilliant spectacle”, the report adds.

“There was little time to wait before the arrival of the Charter; in fact, some ten minutes before the hour fixed, cheering announced the arrival of the motor car in which were seated Mr Dennis Herbert (chairman of the Incorporation Committee), and Mr T.R. Clark (chairman of the Urban District Council) and Mr G Blake (vice chairman). Mr Dennis Herbert was in Court dress and as soon as the car had pulled up, he rose from his seat and addressed the Charter Mayor, those on the platform standing meanwhile.

“He said: ‘The people of Watford lately besought of his Majesty that their town might be raised to the position and dignity of a Borough as befitting its size and importance. Their request was put forward in a petition, signed by a majority... of the inhabitants. His Majesty was graciously pleased to comply with that request and has granted a Charter of Incorporation, in which your Lordship is designated as First or Charter Mayor, Mr Councillor R.A. Thorpe as your deputy and Mr William Hudson as First or Charter Town Clerk. I, therefore, as chairman of the Incorporation Committee, in company with the chairman and vice-chairman of the Urban District Council, have the honour to have received this morning from his Majesty’s Secretary of State, and to hand now to you the original Charter given by warrant under the King’s sign manual.’”

Receiving the Charter The Earl of Clarendon

The Mayor then received the Charter, said a few words of thanks and handed it to the chairman of the council for safekeeping.

He then read out a telegram to be sent to the King, George V, thanking him for granting the charter. “The telegram was at once despatched and a reply was received in time to be read by the Mayor at the subsequent meeting in the Palace Theatre,” the report notes.

Then it was time for the procession, and looking at the list of those involved, it must have gone on for some time. Police horses were first, followed by the local fire brigades, detachments of the Herts Territorial Regiment (with band and guns), the British Legion, Watford Company of Church Lads’ Brigade, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Watford Grammar School and other Watford schoolchildren... the list goes on and on including, yes, the good old Watford Observer, sandwiched between the chairman and members of the Watford and West Herts Medical Society and various magistrates.

Among the more unusual vehicles was, it seems, “a full size model of Stephenson’s Rocket”.

After that, and other train exhibits, came the trade cars from “such prominent firms as the Cobra and Delectaland”. Other highlights listed included “a car on which a shoemaker was at work”.

The report concluded: “The procession, which was of great length, travelled along High Street, St Albans Road, Station Road, Woodford Road, Queen’s Road and High Street, to the Market Place.”

Once it got there, so many people had gathered “that it was found impossible to clear an open space for the proclamation of the Charter” so the officials addressed everyone from the balcony of the Essex Arms hotel.

After various speeches, the Lord’s Prayer and much cheering, a banquet was held at Buck’s Restaurant. After that, came a public meeting at the Palace Theatre with many more speeches covering not only why Incorporation was a good idea but also containing much speculation on the future.

Lord Clarendon, when he rose to address the meeting, was received with loud and prolonged cheers and a quick chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” with three cheers first for His Lordship and then three more for Lady Clarendon. The Charter Mayor began with the King’s reply to their telegram, which he concluded: “the King trusts that the Borough of Watford may long prosper and flourish.” Lord Clarendon said he hoped so too and “they could all assure [the King] they would one and all do their best to merit the high honour he had conferred upon them.”

The afternoon featured many speeches and much rejoicing but even when “God Save the King” was sung, that wasn’t the end of Charter Day. Still to come was a firework display in Cassiobury Park. It was so popular three people were crushed leaving the Park and 16 suffered “fainting fits” but it seems the worst injury in the evening was “a burn of the eye from a firework spark”. A great time was clearly had by most, if not all.

With thanks to Lynda Bullock and Stephen Danzig for the photos

and the Watford Observer for report and photos

Sunday 11 September 2022

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

1926 - 2022

Many great and fine words have already been spoken about Her Majesty's exemplary life of duty and reign of 70 years. For many people she has always been a part of their lives, but even for those who have known her for just a few, her passing, at the age of 96, is a sad event. It is only fitting that we add a few more words on this Watford Website.

Queen Elizabeth II visited the Watford area a number of times during her long and glorious reign.

Her first visit was as Princess Elizabeth when she visited the Herts Show in Cassiobury Park in July 1946. This was the first Hertfordshire agricultural show following the amalgamation of the Herts, Tring and Watford events.

The Queen's second visit to Watford was a brief stopover in Christmas 1962 when she alighted the royal train at Watford Junction, received a brief loyal greeting and then left for Windsor by car.

In 1977, Her Majesty celebrated her Silver Jubilee and in that year she visited Rolls Royce to present a Queen's Award for Industry.

The Queen visited two schools in the Watford area in the 1980s, Parmiter's School in 1981 and the Royal Caledonian School in Bushey five years later.

In May 2010 Her Majesty opened the Joint Headquarters Building in Northwood where she toured the premises and met operations staff.

With thanks to the Watford Observer and Watford Museum

Books of Condolence are currently available to sign at Watford Museum and the Town Hall. Flowers may also be let at the Peace Memorial.

St Mary's Church is also open for quiet reflection.

St Mary's Parish Church - Photograph Lynda Bullock

Long Live the King

If you have any memories of Her Majesty's visits to the area and would like to share them, please add them in the Comments box at the foot of the page.

Monday 22 August 2022

Workhouse Bricks Update

Damage to Bricks

Earlier this month (August 2022) there was an unfortunate accident in the courtyard where the engraved memorial bricks are. A car hit a wall and quite some damage was done to the external door, interior office and surrounding structures.

Members of the Council's Conservation Team have been on site to assess the damage and save what bricks they can. There are some whole bricks which can hopefully be reused and more part/broken bricks so there is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle exercise to be done.

All bricks have been removed to a safe place and the area cordoned off and made secure.

Further updates will be issued when we know more.

(We sincerely hope the driver of the car is making a good recovery)


On 25th August Ed Bristow, a Planning Technician from WBC and myself were invited to see the damage to the bricks and see all the etched bricks that had been saved. Mr Brian P Hargreaves - Design Team Manager, Capital Projects Team - Environment division from West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had been through the pile of dislodged/damaged bricks and removed all pieces of brick with any 'graffiti' on them. These were stored securely in the Estates Meeting room. They had been carefully laid out as in the photo below. The other photos show some of the damage around the doorway in the courtyard.

Since that date, work has commenced on repairing the damage and re-siting the bricks as close to their original position as possible. A further update will follow on completion.

And we are pleased to be able to say that the unfortunate lady involved in the accident was released from hospital after treatment.

Monday 6 June 2022

Zoom Talk

Wednesday 8th June. Contact West Watford Community Centre for link:

Wednesday 16 February 2022

Scammell Lorry Centenary Run 2022

SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2022 AT 12 PM – 4 PM

The Scammell 100
100 years of Scammell in Watford, King George V playing fields, Tolpits Lane Watford.

The 1st May 2022 is the centenary of the founding of Scammell Lorries Limited – prior to this the trading Company was G Scammell & Nephew.
To commemorate the founding of Scammell Lorries Limited and the move from Fashion Street in Spitalfields, London, to Tolpits Lane, Watford, The Scammell Register is holding a celebration of Scammell products.
Thanks to Watford Council we have the use of The King George V Playing Fields for a Scammell gathering over the 1st May weekend.
The playing fields are in Tolpits Lane, between the site of the original and latter Scammell factories.
We intend to celebrate all things Scammell; the lorries and all associated Scammell products.
As well as the gathering on the playing fields, which will be open to the public Sunday 1st May 10am – 4pm there will be a road run leaving the playing fields at 4.30pm.Information from the Scammell Register:

Photo credits and copyright Lynda Bullock
taken at Classics on the Green, Croxley, 2008

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