West Watford History Group

History of West Watford and environs


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Posted by Watford on February 20, 2018 at 3:25 PM

70 Years of the NHS

Our forthcoming exhibition celebrating 70 years of the NHS will now take place on Sunday July 15th at the West Watford Community Centre, 15 Harwoods Road. We will once again be conducting walks across to the hospital to view the "etched bricks" in what was once the male courtyard of the Workhouse. Please book a tour on the day. 

If you work/worked in the NHS and would like to contribute to the 70 year celebration, we would welcome your memories and stories, especially how things have changed during your time in the NHS; for example qualifications needed, training, technology, uniforms, anything you would like to share. Please contact us by email in the first instance: 

lyndadmb@aol.com   or  ettridge17@aol.com

Thank you.  

Group Meeting

Posted by Watford on January 11, 2018 at 7:30 PM

First group meeting of 2018 to discuss the way forward in the coming year.

New members welcome. First meeting free. 

£2.50 towards hire of room.  Tea/coffee/biscuits £1

At West Watford Community Centre, 15 Harwoods Road, West Watford, WD18 7RB

Public Meeting

Posted by Watford on October 3, 2017 at 4:10 AM

Public Meeting of the West Watford History Group on 12th October, 7.30 to 9.00 pm at West Watford Community Centre, 15 Harwoods Road, West Watford. 

If you attended the recent Heritage Day event at the Red Lion and would like to give us some feedback or contribute to the way forward in getting protection for the Workhouse building and bricks, then please come along.  Or if you would just like to know more about the group, then join us for the evening.  All welcome. 

£2.50 entrance on the door.  50p for tea/coffee and biscuits.  We look forward to seeing you. 


Posted by Watford on September 9, 2017 at 11:00 AM


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:


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.