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Watford
Watford
(/ˈwɒtfərd/ ( listen)) is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, situated 15 miles (24 km) northwest of central London
London
and inside the circumference of the M25 motorway. It is not to be confused with Watford, Northamptonshire
Watford, Northamptonshire
which is 55 miles to the north. The town developed on the River Colne on land belonging to St Albans Abbey until the 16th century. During the 12th century a charter was granted allowing a market, and the building of St Mary's Church began. The town grew partly due to travellers going to Berkhamsted Castle
Berkhamsted Castle
and the royal palace at Kings Langley. A mansion was built at Cassiobury in the 16th century. This was partly rebuilt in the 17th century and another country house was built at The Grove. Connections with the Grand Junction Canal
Grand Junction Canal
(1798) and the London
London
and Birmingham Railway (1837) allowed the town to grow more rapidly with paper-making mills, such as John Dickinson and Co. at nearby Croxley, influencing the development of printing in the town. Two brewers, Benskins
Benskins
and Sedgwicks, amalgamated and flourished in the town until their closure in the late 20th century. Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
County Council designates Watford
Watford
to be a major sub-regional centre. Several head offices are based in Watford. Both the 2006 World Golf Championship and the 2013 Bilderberg Conference took place at The Grove.[4] Watford
Watford
became an urban district under the Local Government Act 1894 and a municipal borough by grant of a charter in 1922. The borough, which had 90,301 inhabitants at the time of the 2011 census, is separated from Greater London
Greater London
to the south by the parish of Watford Rural in the Three Rivers District. Watford
Watford
Borough Council is the local authority with the Mayor of Watford
Mayor of Watford
as its head; one of only 18 directly elected mayors in England and Wales. Dorothy Thornhill
Dorothy Thornhill
has been the mayor since the directly elected system was set up in May 2002 and is both the first Liberal Democrat and the first female directly elected mayor in the United Kingdom. Watford
Watford
elects one Member of Parliament (MP) for the Watford
Watford
constituency. Prior to the establishment of this constituency in 1885, the area was part of the three-seat constituency of Hertfordshire.

Contents

1 History 2 Industrial Revolution 3 20th Century 4 Geography 5 Governance 6 Economy 7 Parks

7.1 Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Park 7.2 Cheslyn House and Gardens 7.3 Woodside Park

8 Heritage 9 Theatres

9.1 Watford
Watford
Palace Theatre 9.2 The Pump House 9.3 Watford
Watford
Colosseum

10 Museums

10.1 Watford
Watford
Museum 10.2 Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Fire Museum 10.3 Leavesden Film Studios

11 Transport

11.1 Bus 11.2 Rail 11.3 Air 11.4 Transport schemes 11.5 Water 11.6 Cycling

12 Education 13 Sport 14 Notable people 15 References 16 External links

History[edit] There is evidence of some limited prehistoric occupation around the Watford
Watford
area, with a few Celtic and Roman finds, though there is no evidence of a settlement until much later.[5] Watford
Watford
stands on a low hill near the point at which the River Colne was forded by travellers along an ancient trackway from the south east (the London
London
area) to the north west (the Midlands) – heading for the Gade valley and thence up the Bulbourne valley to a low and easily traversed section of the Chiltern Hills
Chiltern Hills
near Tring. Watford's High Street follows the line of this route on the northern side of the ford.[6][7] The town was located on the first dry ground above the marshy edges of the River Colne. The name Watford
Watford
may have arisen from the Old English
Old English
for "waet" (full of water – the area was marshy), or "wath" (hunting), and ford.[5] St Albans Abbey
St Albans Abbey
claimed rights to the manor of Cashio (then called "Albanestou"), which included Watford, dating from a grant by King Offa
King Offa
in AD 793.[8]

The Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Estate (1707)

The name Watford
Watford
is first mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
charter of 1007, where "Watforda" is one of the places marking the boundary of "Oxanhaege"; this is believed to refer to the ford . It is not mentioned in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
of 1086, when this area was part of St Albans' Abbey's manor of cashio. In the 12th century the Abbey was granted a charter allowing it to hold a market here and the building of St Mary's Church began. The settlement's location helped it to grow, since as well as trade along this north-south through route it possessed good communications into the vale of St Albans
St Albans
to the east and into the Chiltern Hills
Chiltern Hills
along the valley of the River Chess
River Chess
to the west. The town grew modestly, assisted by travellers passing through to Berkhamsted Castle
Berkhamsted Castle
and the royal palace at Kings Langley. A big house was built at Cassiobury
Cassiobury
in the 16th century. This was partly rebuilt in the 17th century and another substantial house was built nearby at The Grove. The houses were expanded and developed throughout the following centuries. Cassiobury
Cassiobury
became the family seat of the Earls of Essex, and The Grove the seat of the Earls of Clarendon.[5][9] The Sparrows Herne turnpike
Sparrows Herne turnpike
was established in 1762 to improve the route across the Chilterns, with the road maintained from charges levied at toll houses along the way. The location of a toll house can be seen at the bottom of Chalk Hill on the Watford
Watford
side of Bushey Arches close to the Wickes
Wickes
hardware store; set in an old flint stone wall is a Sparrows Herne Trust plaque.[10] In 1778, Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe
described Watford
Watford
as a "Genteel market town, very long, having but one street".[11] Industrial Revolution[edit]

The London
London
& Birmingham Railway, Watford
Watford
(1839)

Watford
Watford
remained an agricultural community with some cottage industry for many centuries. The Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
brought the Grand Junction Canal (now Grand Union Canal) from 1798 and the London
London
and Birmingham Railway from 1837, both located here for the same reasons the road had followed centuries before, seeking an easy gradient over the Chiltern Hills. The land-owning interests permitted the canal to follow closely by the river Gade, but the prospect of smoke-emitting steam trains drove them to ensure the railway gave a wide berth to the Cassiobury
Cassiobury
and Grove estates. Consequently, although the road and canal follow the easier valley route, the railway company was forced to build an expensive tunnel under Leavesden to the north of the town.

St Albans
St Albans
Road railway station (1837)

Watford's original railway station opened in 1837 on the west side of St Albans
St Albans
Road, a small, single-storey red-brick building. It closed in 1858 when it was replaced by a new, larger station at Watford Junction approximately 200 metres (220 yd) further south-east. The old station house still stands today; it is a Grade-II-listed building and is now occupied by a second-hand car dealership.[12][13] Watford Junction railway station
Watford Junction railway station
is situated to the north of the town centre.[14] These developments gave the town excellent communications and stimulated its industrial growth during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Grand Union Canal, allowed coal to be brought into the district and paved the way for industrial development. The Watford
Watford
Gas and Coke Company was formed in 1834 and gas works built. The canal allowed paper-making mills to be sited at Croxley. The John Dickinson and Co. mill beside the canal manufactured the Croxley brand of fine quality paper. There had been brewing in Watford
Watford
from the 17th century and, by the 19th century, two industrial scale brewers Benskins
Benskins
and Sedgwicks were located in the town.[15] The parish church of St Mary's was extensively restored in 1871.[16] The town expanded slightly during this time. In 1851 a new street off the High Street was opened, King Street, followed by Queens Road and Clarendon Road in the early 1860s. During this time, Watford
Watford
had a population of around 6,500[11] The railways also continued to expand from Watford
Watford
during this period; the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway
Watford and Rickmansworth Railway
opened in 1862 as a short branch line via Watford
Watford
High Street to Rickmansworth
Rickmansworth
(Church Street), and another branch was added to Croxley Green
Croxley Green
in 1912. The original plan was to extend the Rickmansworth
Rickmansworth
line south connecting Watford
Watford
to Uxbridge; this scheme failed and both the Rickmansworth
Rickmansworth
and Croxley branches eventually closed.[17] By 1891 the population of the town had risen to 17,063 and it had become very cramped. Local landowners sold land for the development of the town and it was bought up by commercial interests. Various factories and other works sprung up in Watford, mostly breweries and prints, but also engineering works, a steam laundry, a cold storage company and a cocoa processing plant. The town expanded rapidly, most of the new inhabitants moving in from London.[11] 20th Century[edit]

Odhams Press
Odhams Press
printworks Dome Roundabout (1954)

At the start of the 20th century the town was growing fast. New roads were laid out in Callowland (North Watford) and in West Watford, on what had been until then farmland. However, a lot of people still lived in the older cramped and unsanitary houses in the yards and alley-ways opening off the High Street. Some of these people were among those who rioted in 1902 when celebrations for the King's coronation were postponed. The Council had a programme of slum clearance and was building council houses when the outbreak of war in 1914 brought this to a halt. This work resumed after the war and in the 1920s the Harebreaks estate was developed.[18][19] By the 1920s, printing had become the biggest industry in Watford. The biggest printers in the town were Sun Printers Ltd and Odhams Press. Watford
Watford
was the biggest printing centre in the world and many advances in printing were made in Watford. During World War II
World War II
the prints were taken over by the government who used them to print propaganda. After the war, the printing industry began going into decline. Union activity was common in Watford
Watford
and advances in technology meant much of the industry became obsolete. Odhams Press
Odhams Press
closed down in 1978 and The Sun moved out of Watford
Watford
during the 1980s after market reforms allowed it to do so.[20]

The Parade, Watford

In 1925, the Metropolitan Railway
Metropolitan Railway
Company built a branch to Watford, opening a station close to Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Park.[21][22] In the 1950s and 1960s, Watford
Watford
was the home of the British designer furniture manufacturer Hille. At their premises on St Albans
St Albans
Road, designed by the modernist architect Ernő Goldfinger,[23] the designer Robin Day conceived the polypropylene stacking chair, now recognised as a classic of modern design.[24] Although Hille left the area in 1983, the listed Goldfinger building still stands on St Albans Road.[25] Mod culture found expression through clubs such as the Ace of Herts in the 1960s. The de Havilland factory at Leavesden was responsible for the manufacture of the Mosquito fighter bomber and the Halifax bomber
Halifax bomber
and later became Leavesden Aerodrome, to the north of Watford. No longer operational, it was converted into Leavesden Film Studios, now famously the home of the Harry Potter films. Geography[edit] Watford
Watford
is 15 miles (24 km) northwest of central London
London
and inside the circumference of the M25 motorway. Located on rising ground to the north of the River Colne, originally the settlement was of the street type. The commercial centre of Watford
Watford
has moved over the centuries to dryer ground and closer to the principal mainline railway station, Watford
Watford
Junction. Nineteenth century railways made it part of the London
London
commuter belt. Post World War II
World War II
road-building has placed it close to motorway junctions on the M1 and M25.

Neighbouring communities

Kings Langley Abbots Langley Radlett

Rickmansworth

Watford

Borehamwood

Northwood Pinner Bushey

Governance[edit] Watford
Watford
was created as an urban district under the Local Government Act 1894, and became a municipal borough by grant of a charter in 1922. The borough had 90,301 inhabitants at the time of the 2011 census.[2] The borough is separated from Greater London
Greater London
to the south by the urbanised parish of Watford Rural
Watford Rural
in the Three Rivers District. The Watford
Watford
subdivision of the Greater London
Greater London
Urban Area, which includes much of the neighbouring districts, had a total population of 120,960 in the 2001 census.[26] Watford
Watford
Borough Council is the local authority, with a directly elected mayor as head. The Mayor of Watford
Mayor of Watford
is one of only 18 directly elected mayors in England; Dorothy Thornhill
Dorothy Thornhill
has been the major since the directly elected system was set up in May 2002, and is both the first Liberal Democrat and first female directly elected mayor in the United Kingdom.[27][28] Since 1999 Watford
Watford
has been divided into 12 wards.[29] Each ward has three councillors who are elected for a four-year term. Following the 2012 election the political make-up of the council is: Liberal Democrat 24 seats (including the elected mayor), Labour 8 seats, Green 3 seats, Conservatives 1 seat, Independent 1 seat.[30] The council have made twinning links with five towns. The first was Mainz, Germany, in 1956, and the most recent is Pesaro, Italy, in 1988; the others are Nanterre,[31] Novgorod, and Wilmington, Delaware.[32] Watford
Watford
elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election, for the Watford
Watford
constituency. Prior to the establishment of this constituency in 1885 the area was part of the three seat constituency of Hertfordshire. Economy[edit]

intu Watford
Watford
Shopping Centre entrance

Watford
Watford
is a major regional centre for the northern home counties. It is the most westerly of these commercial centres and the only one in Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
County Council designates Watford
Watford
and Stevenage
Stevenage
to be its major sub-regional centres, heading its list of preferred sites for retail development.[33] The High Street is the main focus of activity at night having a high concentration of the town's bars, clubs and restaurants. The primary shopping area is the Harlequin Shopping Centre, a large purpose-built indoor mall with over 140 shops, restaurants and cafes built during the 1990s, opened officially in June 1992. The owners of the shopping centre, Capital Shopping Centres, rebranded all their shopping centres, resulting in The Harlequin changing name to intu Watford
Watford
Shopping Centre from May 2013.[34] The town contains the head offices of a number of national companies such as J D Wetherspoon, Camelot Group, Mothercare, Bathstore, and Caversham Finance (BrightHouse). Watford
Watford
is also the UK base of various multi-nationals including Hilton Worldwide, Total Oil, TK Maxx, Costco, JJ Kavanagh and Sons, Vinci and Beko. Both the 2006 World Golf Championship and the 2013 Bilderberg Conference, took place at The Grove hotel.[4] The town was home to the Scammell Lorries
Scammell Lorries
factory from 1922 until 1988. The site is now a residential area. Tandon Motorcycles, founded by Devdutt Tandon, were manufactured in Colne Way from 1947 until 1959. Parks[edit]

Daffodils in Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Park

There are 43 public parks, gardens, recreation grounds and allotments in Watford. Of these, eight have been awarded a Green Flag, in recognition of their quality.

Woodside Athletics Stadium

Cheslyn Gardens

Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Park[edit] The name Cassiobury
Cassiobury
has had various spellings over time. It is derived from 'Caegshoe', which is believed to be the combination of 'caeg', a person's name, and 'hoe', meaning a spur of land. When the land was granted to Sir Richard Morrison in the 16th century, it was called 'Cayshobury', with 'bury' indicating a manor.[5][9] Cassiobury Park
Cassiobury Park
was formed from the grounds of Cassiobury House
Cassiobury House
and consists of 190 acres (0.77 km2) of open space. The house was demolished in 1927 and the Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Gates in 1970, for road widening. In July 2007, the park won a Green Flag Award, which recognises the best green spaces in the country.[35] There is a children's play area, which includes a paddling pool, play equipment, a bouncy castle, an ice cream van, a kiosk where one may buy food, and 10.25" gauge miniature railway. The Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal
passes through the park. Cheslyn House and Gardens[edit] Awarded Green Flag status since 2009, Cheslyn has been open to the public since 1965 as a formal gardens and house. The 3.5 acre gardens comprise a formal open area to the front and a semi-natural woodland area to the rear. Henry and Daisy Colbeck originally owned the house and gardens. Mr Colbeck was a renowned local architect, and designed Cheslyn House; he and his wife created the original gardens. The Colbecks travelled extensively, and this is reflected in the range of unusual and exotic plants in the gardens. Since the space has been open to the public it has been further developed, with new features added such as the pond, rock garden, large herbaceous borders and aviary. Woodside Park[edit] Awarded Green Flag status since 2011, Woodside Playing Fields cover approximately 59 acres of playing fields, sports facilities and woodland. The site comprises a range of sports facilities including an eight lane synthetic track and stadium, an indoor bowls green, a community centre, cricket squares, football pitches and Woodside Leisure Centre. Woodside Stadium is home to Watford
Watford
Harriers Athletics Club and hosts national level events such as the British Milers Club Grand Prix. The wider parkland includes two children's play areas and Albans Wood
Albans Wood
is a local nature reserve. Heritage[edit] There are 92 nationally listed buildings in Watford. These include St Mary's Church, which dates to the 12th century, and Holy Rood Church which dates to 1890.[13] St Mary's is noted for its interior which was renovated in 1850 by the architect George Gilbert Scott
George Gilbert Scott
and includes fine oak pews decorated in the Gothic Revival style. It also contains the Essex
Essex
Chapel, which served at the burial place of the nobility of the Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Estate, including the Earls of Essex. The chapel contains a number of large, ornate marble tombs and memorials dating from the 16th century and later, and was described by Pevsner as "the chief glory of Watford Church".[36] The Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church, Holy Rood, is a much later structure. Built in 1890 by John Francis Bentley, the architect responsible for Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
in London, it is noted as a particularity fine example of Gothic Revival architecture. The ornate interior contains stained glass by the designer Nathaniel Westlake.[37] There are ten conservation areas in Watford; one Grade II Listed Park, and 240 locally-listed buildings.[38] Theatres[edit] Watford
Watford
Palace Theatre[edit]

Watford Palace Theatre
Watford Palace Theatre
opened in 1908

The Watford Palace Theatre
Watford Palace Theatre
is the only producing theatre in Hertfordshire. It presents world premières, dance, family shows and an annual traditional pantomime. Situated just off the High Street, the Edwardian building was opened in 1908 and the 600-seat theatre underwent a refurbishment in 2004. It houses its own rehearsal room, wardrobe, cafe, and bar. The Palace also shows films and 'live' and 'as live' streams of opera and ballet during its theatre season. The Pump House[edit] The Pump House Theatre and Arts Centre is based in an old pumping station situated just off the Lower High Street. The building was converted for use as a theatre, with rehearsal rooms, and meeting place for local arts based groups. Current facilities include a 124-seat theatre, rehearsal rooms, and live music venue. Community groups currently meeting at the Pump House include Dance House (children's ballet), Pump House Clog Morris (women's Morris dancing), Pump House Jazz (jazz club), Open House (live open mic music), Woodside Morris Men
Woodside Morris Men
(men's Morris dancing), child, youth and adult theatre groups and also the Giggle Inn comedy club.[39] Watford
Watford
Colosseum[edit]

Watford
Watford
Town
Town
Hall (to which the Colosseum is annexed)

Watford Colosseum
Watford Colosseum
was built in 1938 as Watford
Watford
Town
Town
Hall Assembly Rooms to the design of architect Charles Cowles-Voysey and acoustician Hope Bagenal.[40] It acquired a worldwide reputation for its fine acoustics,[41] and throughout the second half of the twentieth century it was used for concerts and recordings by leading orchestras and musicians.[42] Rising costs and falling attendance led the council to close it in 1994, reopening it in 1995 as the Colosseum in a joint management agreement with a commercial company who had previously operated at the Town
Town
and Country Club in London.[41][42] After the management company collapsed in 2004, the Colosseum was managed by Watford
Watford
Council until April 2010, when it closed to undergo a £5.5 million refurbishment; reopening in August 2011 with new management.[43] Concert life at Watford Colosseum
Watford Colosseum
collapsed with the management change in 1994. Two years later, the Classic Concerts Trust presented regular concerts by the English Classical Players until the end of 2009.[41] It was used to record various film soundtracks, including The Lord of the Rings, The Sound of Music, and Sleepy Hollow; and among classical recordings, Julian Lloyd Webber's performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin.[43] It is regularly used to host concerts by the BBC Concert Orchestra, including Friday Night is Music Night, and has housed performances by performers including The Who, Robbie Williams, and Oasis.[42] The acoustics were analysed by an acoustics company in 2009, who reported that the size and "shoebox" shape of Watford
Watford
Colosseum; the flat floor and the materials used in construction; allow for pleasant reverberation and good sound quality and clarity, such as to make it among the best in Europe.[40] Museums[edit] Watford
Watford
Museum[edit] Watford
Watford
Museum, housed in a former brewery building on the Lower High Street, is home to a collection of fine art and sculpture which includes works by J. M. W. Turner, Sir Joshua Reynolds, William Blake and Jacob Epstein. The museum also hold special collections related to the Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Estate, Watford
Watford
Football Club, and local heritage, as well as an archive collection of documents, printed ephemera, photographs and diaries related to Watford
Watford
townsfolk, local government, nobility and businesses.[44] Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Fire Museum[edit] The Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Fire Museum is dedicated to the history of firefighting in the county. It is based in a purpose-built building at Watford
Watford
Fire Station, on the same street as Watford
Watford
Museum. The Museum includes a wide range of vehicles, equipment, uniforms and archive material.[45] Leavesden Film Studios[edit]

The Warner Bros. Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden

Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden
Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden
is an 80-hectare film studio complex which has been used for a wide range of Hollywood film productions. Part of the site is open to the public and houses the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour, displaying costumes and sets from the Harry Potter films which were produced at Leavesden. The studio complex is to the north of the borough, around 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the town centre, and a special shuttle bus provides a connection from Watford Junction station to the studios. Transport[edit] Watford
Watford
is close to the orbital M25 and the M1 which links London
London
to the Midlands and the North. Bus[edit]

Watford
Watford
Junction, northern terminus of London
London
Overground

Watford
Watford
is served by a number of different companies, including Arriva Shires & Essex, Arriva London, Uno, Red Rose Travel, Carousel, Mullany's Buses, Redline Buses and Tiger Line. Oyster Cards are accepted on TfL routes 142 (towards Brent Cross) and 258 (towards Harrow) into London. Intalink Explorer and Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
SaverCard is accepted on all but the London
London
Bus routes. Rail[edit] Watford
Watford
is served by three railway stations and a London
London
Underground station. Watford
Watford
Junction is on the West Coast Main Line
West Coast Main Line
with trains from London
London
Euston to the Midlands, the northwest and Scotland. The station is mainly served by frequent suburban and regional trains operated by West Midlands Trains
West Midlands Trains
which run to Tring
Tring
and Milton Keynes and the cross- London
London
Southern service to Clapham Junction
Clapham Junction
via Shepherd's Bush. Two all-stations services terminate at Watford Junction: the suburban service operated by London
London
Overground which runs to Euston; and the Abbey Line
Abbey Line
shuttle service to St Albans
St Albans
Abbey. Watford
Watford
North is the first stop. The London
London
Overground service from Watford
Watford
Junction runs south via a suburban loop and stops at Watford
Watford
High Street, before continuing via Bushey
Bushey
to London
London
Euston. Watford tube station
Watford tube station
is the terminus of the Watford
Watford
branch of London Underground's Metropolitan line
Metropolitan line
at the outer northwest limit of the Tube system. The station is located outside the centre of Watford, close to Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Park.

Map of railways around Watford
Watford
(2013)

Stations in Central Watford

Pic Station Services Notes

Watford
Watford
Junction National Rail London
London
Overground

West Coast Mainline local & regional services Abbey Line Cross- London
London
service to Clapham Junction Watford
Watford
DC Line

Watford
Watford
High Street London
London
Overground Watford
Watford
DC Line & Metropolitan Line from 2018

Watford
Watford
North National Rail Abbey Line

Garston National Rail Abbey Line

Watford
Watford
tube station London
London
Underground Metropolitan line

Air[edit] Hourly bus services connect Watford Junction station
Watford Junction station
and the town centre to Heathrow Airport on weekdays, with a service once every two hours at weekends and on bank holidays. Regular bus services run between Watford
Watford
and Luton, but not directly to Luton
Luton
Airport. Direct train services run from Watford
Watford
Junction Station to Birmingham Airport and also used to run to Gatwick (since 2009 it is necessary to change train at Clapham Junction
Clapham Junction
or London
London
Euston and London
London
Victoria Station). Watford
Watford
contains 2f flight squadron part of the air training core, 2f is the oldest running air cadet flights in the world. Watford's closest airfield is Elstree Aerodrome, 3 miles (5 km) east of the town. Several private charter companies and flying clubs are based there. Transport schemes[edit] On 7 August 2014 Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced proposals to extend Crossrail into the Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
area. The £6 billion proposals are, in part, designed to ease congestion on Euston station and allow its redevelopment ahead of completion of HS2 between London
London
and the West Midlands. The proposals would connect Watford Junction and other commuter stations such as Harrow and Wealdstone, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted
Berkhamsted
and Tring
Tring
to Crossrail and the City and Canary Wharf via Old Oak Common in West London. It would therefore not be necessary to change at Euston to get to these areas. Proposals would in theory cut travel times from Watford
Watford
Junction to Liverpool Street to just 37 minutes and from Watford
Watford
Junction to Canary Wharf to just 43 minutes. A scheme to introduce light rail to Watford
Watford
was conceived in 2009 when it was proposed that the Abbey Line
Abbey Line
should be converted to tram-train operation and run by Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
County Council.[46] The project was cancelled due to the complications and expense of transferring the line from National Rail
National Rail
to the county council.[47] In 2008 a proposal was made that Regional Eurostar
Regional Eurostar
services could run via Watford
Watford
to Paris via Kensington Olympia.[48] In 1999 the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and the Regions took the view that Watford
Watford
was "well placed to become an integrated transport hub" and it recommended that "services from Watford
Watford
to Paris should commence as soon as possible".[49] The Regional Eurostar
Regional Eurostar
scheme eventually came to nothing and was put on hold indefinitely.[50] Water[edit]

The Grand Union Canal, seen from the Metropolitan line

Watford
Watford
is on the main Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal
route northwards from London. There is little commercial use, since the advent of the motorways, but the canal is used for recreational purposes. The River Gade
River Gade
and the River Colne flow through Watford. Cycling[edit] Watford
Watford
town centre and the surrounding area is relatively compact and the terrain is generally quite flat. Over 15 km of new cycle routes have been developed in the town since 2003 and a range of cycle maps are available locally. In Watford
Watford
cycling to work makes up 2.2% of all journeys compared with 1.6% across the whole of Hertfordshire.[51] National Cycle Routes 6 and 61 run across the eastern and southern sides of the town, utilising the off-road Ebury Way
Ebury Way
and Abbey Way. There is a continuous cycle route through the north-south axis of the town centre, including the pedestrianised parts along The Parade and High Street. Cycle parking is provided at intermittent points in the town centre and at local centres in the wider town. Education[edit]

Watford
Watford
Free School building

See also: Watford Grammar School for Boys
Watford Grammar School for Boys
§ History of the Watford
Watford
Grammar Schools The earliest records of schooling in Watford
Watford
are of a schoolmaster named George Redhead in 1595, and of a Free School receiving an annual donation of £10 in 1640. The school consisted of "a room over two houses belonging to the Church Estate, nearest the churchyard."[6] In 1704, Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
of Watford
Watford
Place built a new Free School for forty boys and twenty girls on her land next to the churchyard, with rooms for a master and a mistress.[14] In the mid-19th century, the recorded schools in Watford
Watford
were Fuller's Free School, by now in a poor state, and the separate boys and girls national schools of St Mary's in Church Street. All offered elementary education. State-funded elementary schools began to appear in the 1860s and 1870s.[clarification needed] The Free School closed in 1882, and its endowment contributed to founding the Watford
Watford
Endowed Schools, which provided secondary education and charged fees.[52] After these schools, now called the Watford Grammar School for Boys
Watford Grammar School for Boys
and the Watford
Watford
Grammar School for Girls, moved to new sites in 1907 and 1912, the building housed the Watford
Watford
Central School, which taught pupils up to the age of 14. St Mary's National Schools closed in 1922, and the site is now a car park.[53][54] The London
London
Orphan Asylum, later Reed's School, was located near Watford Junction station
Watford Junction station
between 1871 and 1940. The buildings are now the Reeds housing estate off Orphanage Road. All the state-funded primary schools in Watford
Watford
are co-educational. Under an earlier system, schools were divided into infant schools, covering Reception and Years 1 and 2, and junior schools, covering Years 3 to 6. Most such schools have amalgamated to form Junior Mixed Infant schools or (equivalently) primary schools, and all new schools are of this type. Within the municipal borough, there are now 6 linked pairs of infant schools and junior schools, and 14 JMI or primary schools, of which 2 are Roman Catholic. Watford
Watford
is also served by schools in the neighbouring districts of Three Rivers and Hertsmere. Although all state-funded secondary schools in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
are comprehensive, there is a great deal of differentiation in the southwestern corner of the county, centred on Watford
Watford
but also including most of the Three Rivers district and Bushey
Bushey
in Hertsmere district. Within this area, there are:[55]

partially selective schools, which offer a proportion of places according to ability or aptitude, and the rest to siblings or those living near the school: Parmiter's School, Queens' School, Rickmansworth
Rickmansworth
School, St Clement Danes School, Watford
Watford
Grammar School for Boys and Watford
Watford
Grammar School for Girls. Bushey
Bushey
Meads School, which selects 10% for technological aptitude and uses banded admissions to ensure a comprehensive intake for the remainder. non-selective Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
schools, whose intake is evenly spread: St Joan of Arc Catholic School and St Michael's Catholic High School.[56] other non-selective schools, whose intake is markedly affected by the above partially selective schools: The Bushey
Bushey
Academy, Francis Combe Academy and Westfield Academy.[57] Falconer School, a school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The partially selective schools and Bushey
Bushey
Meads School operate common admissions tests in mathematics and non-verbal reasoning each autumn. In addition to those seeking selective places, all applicants to Bushey
Bushey
Meads and Queens' School, Bushey
Bushey
are required to take the tests, so they are taken by the majority of Year 6 children in the area. The partially selective schools also operate a common test and audition procedure to select children for specialist music places.[55] Results achieved by the schools at GCSE
GCSE
are also widely spread, including the three highest and the two lowest scoring state schools within Hertfordshire.[58][59] The area also has by far the highest incidence in the county of children allocated to schools to which they had not applied.[60] The only independent secondary school in the borough is Stanborough School, a day and boarding school operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There several independent schools nearby, including Purcell School, a specialist music school. The Watford
Watford
Campus of West Herts College
West Herts College
is the only grade 1 further education college in the United Kingdom according to a 2011 Ofsted report. The Centre for Missional Leadership
Centre for Missional Leadership
(CML) is the Watford branch of the London
London
School of Theology, Europe's largest evangelical theological college,[61] and teaches an applied theology course in missional leadership, accredited by Middlesex University. Sport[edit]

Watford
Watford
v Coventry at Vicarage Road
Vicarage Road
in May 2000

Watford
Watford
is home to professional football team Watford
Watford
F.C., who reached the 1984 FA Cup Final, also finishing as league Division One (now the Premier League) runners-up in 1983. They were relegated from Division One in 1988. In 1996, Watford
Watford
was relegated from the new Division One (now the Football League Championship). Watford
Watford
won the then Nationwide Division Two championship in 1998, then the following season (1998–99) reached the Premier League. The club was relegated the next season. After five years of uncertainty, Watford
Watford
won the Football League Championship
Football League Championship
Play-Off Final achieving promotion to the Premier League
Premier League
in 2006, this time beating Leeds United A.F.C.
Leeds United A.F.C.
by three goals to nil. The club was relegated to the Football League Championship after a single season (2006–2007) in the Premier League. They were promoted to the Premier League
Premier League
in 2015, after finishing 2nd in the Championship. Singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriter
Sir Elton John
Elton John
is a keen, long-term supporter of Watford F.C.
Watford F.C.
and a former club chairman. He still maintains his links with Watford
Watford
as Honorary Life President.[62] Between 1997 and 2013 the club shared its ground, Vicarage Road, with Saracens Rugby Football Club. Watford
Watford
has a Non-League football
Non-League football
team Sun Sports F.C.
Sun Sports F.C.
who play at The Sun Postal Sports & Social Club. Watford
Watford
were home to the Watford Cheetahs American Football team who played their home games at Fullerians R.F.C. between 2008 and 2012 and Glen Rovers, who play both Hurling and Gaelic Football. The town also has a cricket team, Watford Town, and several Sunday League football clubs. Notable people[edit]

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Bruce Alexander (1946–), actor, best known as Superintendent Norman Mullet in A Touch of Frost Rene Alperstein (1964), actress Barbara Amiel
Barbara Amiel
(1940–), journalist Stephen Andrew, Canadian television reporter, presenter and talk show host Michael Attwell
Michael Attwell
(1943–2006), actor Marion Bailey (1951–), actress Grant Benson (1963–), broadcaster Michael Bentine
Michael Bentine
(1922–1996), comedian and former Goon Anthony Berkeley Cox (1893–1971), crime fiction author Tom Carroll (1992–), footballer for Swansea City Sue Cleaver (1963–), actress, best known as Eileen Grimshaw in Coronation Street Jack Collison
Jack Collison
(1988–), former West Ham United and Wales footballer, turned coach Ray Cooper
Ray Cooper
(1942–), percussionist (performed in both Elton John's and Eric Clapton's bands) Chris Date (1941–), database guru, author of a textbook on the subject[63] Steve Easterbrook (1967–), CEO McDonald's Steven Finn (1989–), Middlesex and England cricketer Cyril Fletcher
Cyril Fletcher
(1913–2005), comedian Declan Ganley
Declan Ganley
(1967–), businessman and political activist Philip Glenister
Philip Glenister
(b. 1963), actor, Life on Mars Robert Glenister (b. 1960), actor Geri Halliwell
Geri Halliwell
(b. 1972), singer and former Spice Girl Sean Hoare
Sean Hoare
(1963–2011), journalist Amos Howard, championed the use of subterranean clover in Australia[64] Mark Ilott (b. 1970), former England cricketer Kenny Jackett
Kenny Jackett
(b. 1962), Welsh international footballer who spent his entire playing career at Watford; formerly manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers Vinnie Jones, footballer, actor Anthony Joshua, boxer, Olympic gold medalist 2012 and current WBA and IBF world heavyweight champion. Liz Kendall, Labour politician who attended Watford
Watford
Grammar School for Girls Matt King, Actor, comedian and writer Lewis Kinsella, footballer for Colchester United Nick Knight, cricketer turned commentator Kyla La Grange, singer-songwriter Rebecca Lacey, actress John Lawley, Commissioner in The Salvation Army Neil Lawson Baker, artist Simon Le Bon, lead singer for Duran Duran, born in Watford
Watford
on 27 October 1958 Nick Leeson, securities trader responsible for the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995 Josh Lewsey, 2003 rugby World Cup winner with England, grew up in Watford Tim Lovejoy, television and radio presenter Craig Mackail-Smith, Luton
Luton
Town
Town
and Scotland
Scotland
footballer Anthony Meyer, actor David Meyer, actor Gerald Moore (1899–1987), pianist Mo Mowlam
Mo Mowlam
(1949–2005), Labour politician Neil Mullarkey, actor best known for roles in Austin Powers Mark Oaten, Liberal Democrat politician Olajide Olatunji
Olajide Olatunji
(1993-), rapper, comedian, actor and YouTube personality Stuart Parkin, physicist Arthur Peacocke (1924–2006), biochemist and Anglican theologian Mary Portas, retail consultant and television presenter Thomas Webster Rammell (1814–1879), engineer of The Crystal Palace, is buried in Watford Rak-Su, boy band, winners of the fourteenth series of The X Factor Paul Robinson, footballer for Watford, West Bromwich Albion, Bolton Wanderers, Leeds and now Birmingham Lawrence Sanderson (c.1542–1611) landowner and Vicar of Watford Terry Scott
Terry Scott
(1927–1994), TV and Carry On actor and comedian, blue plaque at 32 Tucker St 51°39′01″N 0°23′39″W / 51.650354°N 0.394242°W / 51.650354; -0.394242[65] Grant Shapps, Conservative MP for nearby Welwyn
Welwyn
Hatfield Robert Simons (1922–2011), cricketer Kelly Smith, Arsenal Ladies, England and Great Britain footballer Gareth Southgate, former football player for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and England, also managed Middlesbrough and now manager of England John Taylor, former rugby player for Wales and British & Irish Lions, turned commentator Paul Terry, former child actor, star of James and the Giant Peach Roger Tilling, voice actor, voiceover artist and broadcaster Simon Treves, actor and writer Ian Walker, former Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Bolton Wanderers and England goalkeeper, turned football manager Bradley Walsh, actor, comedian and television presenter Mark Walsh, professional darts player Nat Wei, Baron Wei, politician Arthur Woodward (1906–1984), footballer who spent his entire career at Watford Frank Yallop
Frank Yallop
(1964–), former footballer turned manager

References[edit]

^ Virgil. Aeneid. pp. VI, 95. Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito, translates to "Yield thou not to adversity, but press on the more bravely"  ^ a b 2011 Census: Usual resident population and population density, local authorities in the United Kingdom, Accessed 8 January 2012. ^ Watford
Watford
Strategic Intelligence Assessment Summary ^ a b Charlie Skelton. "The week ahead: Bilderberg 2013 comes to ... the Grove hotel, Watford". the Guardian.  ^ a b c d Mary Forsyth (1 December 2008). T. R. Slater, Nigel Goose (eds), ed. A County of Small Towns: The Development of Hertfordshire's Urban Landscape. Univ of Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Press. Retrieved 29 January 2013. CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link) ^ a b William Page (ed.) (1908). "Watford". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. pp. 446–451. Retrieved 27 January 2013. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ W.R. Saunders (1931). History of Watford. Watford: Peacock.  ^ William Page (editor) (1908). The hundred of Cashio - Introduction A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2 (pp. 319–322). british-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2013. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ a b William Page (ed.) (1908). "Watford: Manors". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. Victoria County History. pp. 451–464. Retrieved 19 May 2008. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Sparrow Herne Trust Turnpike Marker, Lower High Street, Watford, Images of England, English Heritage
English Heritage
National Monuments Record. ^ a b c "Watford: Introduction". british-history.ac.uk.  ^ "The original Watford
Watford
station". North Watford
North Watford
History Group. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.  ^ a b "Nationally Listed Buildings in Watford". Watford
Watford
Borough Council. p. 103. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2015.  ^ a b William Page (ed.) (1908). "Watford: Introduction". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. Victoria County History. pp. 446–451. Retrieved 22 March 2008. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ "The History of Watford". Haberdashers Askes Boys School – Geography Department. 4 February 2008. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010.  ^ William Page (ed.) (1908). "Watford: Churches and Charities". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. Victoria County History. pp. 464–469. Retrieved 19 May 2008. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Oppitz, Leslie (2000). "3. Lord Ebury's Line". Lost railways of the Chilterns. Newbury: Countryside Books. pp. 40–48. ISBN 9781853066436.  ^ "Slum housing in Watford, 1850s to 1930s". hertsmemories.org.uk.  ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140407091449/http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/nostalgia/crimelibrary/watfordriot/. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Peter Lavin. "Why did Watford
Watford
lose the print?". sunprintershistory.com.  ^ Wolmar, Christian (2009). The Subterranean Railway How the London Underground Was Built and How it Changed the City Forever. London: Atlantic Books Ltd. ISBN 9781848872530.  ^ Goudie, F. W.; Stuckey, Douglas (1990). West of Watford : L.N.W.R., L.M.S., Metropolitan, L.N.E.R., Bakerloo, Watford, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth. Bracknell: Forge Books. ISBN 9780904662184.  ^ "History of Hille". Retrieved 13 April 2015.  ^ Abrahams, Charlotte (13 March 1999). "The people's chair". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2015.  ^ "Hille House and Business Centre". North Watford
North Watford
History Group. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2015.  ^ Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas in the South East, Office for National Statistics. ^ Mike Wright (30 January 2012). "Mayor picks up MBE". Watford Observer. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.  ^ Iain Dale
Iain Dale
(13 September 2008). "The 50 most influential Liberal Democrats: 41-50". The Daily Telegraph. TMG. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 30 January 2013.  ^ "The Borough of Watford
Watford
(Electoral Changes) Order 1998". Legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 22 January 2013.  ^ "About Your Councillors". Watford
Watford
Council. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.  ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.  ^ Twinning Archived 11 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine., Watford Borough Council, accessed 12 October 2007. ^ "Hertfordshire: an Economic Overview" (PDF). Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
County Council. November 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2008.  ^ "intu Watford". theharlequin.uk.com.  ^ Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Park, Green Flag Awards. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; revised by Cherry, Bridget (2002). " Watford
Watford
- Churches". The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
(2nd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 385. ISBN 9780300096118. Retrieved 30 December 2014.  ^ Historic England. "Holy Rood Church (1101104)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 May 2017.  ^ "Locally Listed Buildings in Watford". Watford
Watford
Borough Council. 2010. p. 245. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2015.  ^ "The Pump House Theatre & Arts Centre". pumphouse.info.  ^ a b Scarbrough, Paul (6 March 2009). Acoustical Survey Report for the Watford Colosseum
Watford Colosseum
(PDF). Akustiks.  ^ a b c "Classic Concerts - Watford
Watford
Archive". classicconcerts.org.uk. 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2013.  ^ a b c " Watford Colosseum
Watford Colosseum
Refurbishment". BBC News. BBC. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2013.  ^ a b "About the venue Watford
Watford
Colosseum". watfordcolosseum.co.uk. Retrieved 9 February 2013.  ^ " Watford
Watford
Museum". Archived from the original on 28 November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.  ^ info@watfordmuseum.org.uk, Watford
Watford
Museum, Watford, Hertfordshire, UK,. " Watford
Watford
Museum: Telling the story of Watford, past and present: Fire Brigade Museum". fire.watfordmuseum.org.uk. Retrieved 22 May 2017.  ^ Lewis, Alex (30 October 2009). "Tram service promised for St Albans to Watford
Watford
Abbey Flyer rail link". Watford
Watford
Observer. Watford: Newsquest. Retrieved 20 August 2013.  ^ " Abbey Line
Abbey Line
Light Rail Proposals". Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
County Council. Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.  ^ "Talks held at Parliament Regarding Regional Eurostar". www.publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2008.  ^ " Regional Eurostar
Regional Eurostar
services: The Government's Response to the Memorandum of Inquiry by the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and the Regions". Department for Transport. 30 January 2006. Archived from the original on 17 July 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2008.  ^ "Regions 'cheated' over Eurostar". BBC. 27 January 1999. Retrieved 21 September 2008.  ^ "Annual Monitoring Report". Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2015.  ^ W.R. Carter (1894). "Mrs. Fuller's Free School". Watford
Watford
Endowed Schools Journal. 3.  ^ R.E. Slinn (1957). A History of Elementary Education in Watford 1704–1903. University of London
London
Institute of Education.  ^ J.B. and L.V. Nunn (2003). The Book of Watford: A portrait of our town (2nd ed.).  ^ a b Moving On – Applying for a Secondary or Upper School place Archived 16 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine., Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
County Council, 2007. ^ Ofsted
Ofsted
reports for these schools describe their intake. ^ Ofsted
Ofsted
reports for these schools discuss the effect on their intake. ^ Hertfordshire: GCSE
GCSE
(and equivalent) results Archived 13 September 2010 at the UK Government Web Archive, Secondary School achievement and attainment tables 2007, Department for Children, Schools and Families. ^ "Secondary schools in Hertfordshire: GCSE-level". BBC News. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.  ^ Admissions Update 2007 Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine., Agenda Item No. 4, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
County Council Admissions Forum, 14 June 2007. ^ Journal LST Insight Autumn 2009, p. 2. ^ They Shaped the Club Archived 3 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.", Watford F.C.
Watford F.C.
History, 3 February 2008. ^ Oral history interview with C.J. Date by Thomas Haigh on the Computer History Museum website Archived 26 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Gilbert, L.A. (1983). "Howard, Amos William (1848–1930)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University.  ^ Roll of Honour Archived 5 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine., The Heritage Foundation. - "Great Scott!". Chortle. 9 May 2003. 

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.