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West Watford History Group

History of West Watford and environs

St Michael and All Angels

Mildred Avenue

In the 1900’s, as the town spread out and with the prosperity brought by the railways and new industries, plans were made for a new Church to serve the growing population in the west of the town.  With the development of the Harwoods Estate, sites were sold for churches and chapels of various denominations and a new ecclesiastical parish was formed out of the old Parish of Watford by an Order in Council dated August 1905.

A site was chosen on the corner of Mildred Avenue and Durban Road West. Two people of vision and energy were mainly responsible for this initiative.  Canon Walter Littlebury was charged, as a young man, with the job of starting this new Christian Community.  This he did, and stayed to consolidate this work until almost the time of his retirement in the 1940’s.  Alice (”Mildred”) Schreiber, a well-to-do, socially minded lady was enthusiastic that a new Church be built and, with her forceful personality, encouraged others to set up Christian work in West Watford.

At first, worship took place in a building that later became the Church Hall when the fine new Church was largely completed in 1913. The church, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1911, is of flint stone, the Architect being Mr A. G. Bond and was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of St Albans in 1913.

St Michael’s was originally near enough in the middle of its parish, but as West Watford expanded, with the building of the Cassiobury Park Avenue area and particularly the Holywell Estate, the Church found itself “up-one-end” of the parish.  So a partnership with West Watford Free Church (opposite the shops in Tolpits Lane) was a welcome strengthening of the Christian presence in the area.

The original Church hall is now the Multi-Cultural Community Centre.

In Kelly's Directory for 1915 - 16, it is noted that there is a Mission Church in Holywell Road, which apparently had a connection with St Michael's.