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WATFORD (/ˈwɒtfərd/ ( listen )) is a town and borough in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
, England, situated 17 miles (27 km) northwest of central London and inside the circumference of the M25 motorway
M25 motorway
. It is not to be confused with Watford, Northamptonshirewhich 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 building St Mary\'s Church began. 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 . Connections with the Grand Junction Canal(from 1798) and the London and Birmingham Railway(from 1837) allowed the town to grow more rapidly, with paper-making mills, such as John Dickinson and Co. at Croxley, influencing the development of printing in the town which continues today. Two brewers Benskinsand Sedgwicksflourished in the town until their closure in the late 20th century. Hertfordshire County Council designates Watford, along with Stevenage
Stevenage
, to be its major sub-regional centre. Several head offices are based in Watford. Both the 2006 World Golf Championshipand the 2013 Bilderberg Conference took place at The Grove .

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. The borough is separated from Greater London
Greater London
to the south by the parish of Watford Rural
Watford Rural
in the Three Rivers District. Watford Borough
Borough
Council is the local authority with the Mayor of Watfordas its head; one of only 18 directly elected mayors in England and Wales . Dorothy Thornhillhas 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
Member of Parliament
(MP) for the Watford constituency . Prior to the establishment of this constituency in 1885 the area was part of the three-seat constituency of Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Origins * 1.2 Early history * 1.3 Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
* 1.4 20th century

* 2 Geography * 3 Governance * 4 Economy

* 5 Parks

* 5.1 Cassiobury Park
Cassiobury Park
* 5.2 Cheslyn House and Gardens * 5.3 Woodside Park

* 6 Theatres

* 6.1 Watford Palace Theatre
Watford Palace Theatre
* 6.2 The Pump House * 6.3 Watford Colosseum

* 7 Museums

* 7.1 Watford Museum * 7.2 Leavesden Film Studios * 7.3 Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Fire Museum

* 8 Heritage

* 9 Transport

* 9.1 Buses * 9.2 Rail * 9.3 Air * 9.4 Transport schemes * 9.5 Water * 9.6 Cycling

* 10 Education * 11 Sport * 12 Notable people * 13 References * 14 External links

HISTORY

ORIGINS

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. 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 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 Hillsnear Tring
Tring
. Watford's High Street follows the line of this route on the northern side of the ford. 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. St Albans Abbey claimed rights to the manor of Cashio (then called "Albanestou"), which included Watford, dating from a grant by King Offa in AD 793.

EARLY HISTORY

The Cassiobury
Cassiobury
Estate , as it appeared in 1707 St Mary\'s Church

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 Hillsalong 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 .

The Sparrows Herne turnpikewas 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.

In 1778, Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe
described Watford
Watford
as a "Genteel market town, very long, having but one street".

INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

The new London "> Watford's original 1837 railway station on St Albans
St Albans
Road

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
Grand Union Canal
) from 1798 and the 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.

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. Watford
Watford
Junction railway station is situated to the north of the town centre.

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 Benskinsand Sedgwicks were located in the town. The parish church of St Mary's was extensively restored in 1871. 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 The railways also continued to expand from Watford
Watford
during this period; the Watford and Rickmansworth Railwayopened 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.

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

20TH CENTURY

Watford
Watford
Met station (pictured in 1977) Odhams Press printworks (1954) at the Dome Roundabout

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 camped 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.

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.

In 1925, the Metropolitan Railway
Metropolitan Railway
Company built a branch to Watford, opening a station close to Cassiobury Park
Cassiobury Park
. The company had long held an ambition to extend this route into the town centre and unveiled proposals to drive a tunnel under the park to the High Street. In 1927 it purchased the Empress Tea Rooms at 44 High Street with the intention of converting it into a Metropolitan station. The plans were opposed by local councillors and the scheme was not realised and Watford tube station
Watford tube station
remained as the branch terminus of the London Underground.

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 1968 and The Sun moved out of Watford
Watford
during the 1980s after market reforms allowed it to do so.

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, the designer Robin Day conceived the polypropylene stacking chair , now recognised as a classic of modern design. Although Hille left the area in 1983, the listed Goldfinger building still stands on St Albans
St Albans
Road.

The de Havilland factory at Leavesden was responsible for the manufacture of the Mosquito fighter bomber and the Halifax bomberand 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
Harry Potter
films.

GEOGRAPHY

Watford
Watford
lies on the edge of the Chiltern Hills14 miles to the north west of London It is located on rising ground to the north of the River Colne and east of the River Gade
River Gade
, which have a confluence to the south west of the town. The 'ford' which gives it its name was where an ancient major route from London to the north west crossed the River Colne. Originally the settlement was of the _street _ type close to this crossing place. The commercial centre of Watford
Watford
has moved north over the centuries on to dryer ground and closer to the principal main line railway station of Watford
Watford
Junction . Nineteenth century railway building made it part of the London commuter belt
London commuter belt
. Twentieth century road building has placed it close to the junction of the M1 and M25 motorways giving it a central location in the UK motorway network .

NEIGHBOURING AREAS

Chesham
Chesham
Hemel Hempstead St Albans
St Albans

Rickmansworth
Rickmansworth

Borehamwood
Borehamwood

WATFORD

Northwood Harrow Bushey
Bushey

GOVERNANCE

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. 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.

Watford
Watford
Borough
Borough
Council is the local authority , with a directly elected mayor as head. The Mayor of Watfordis one of only 18 directly elected mayors in England; Dorothy Thornhillhas 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.

Since 1999 Watford
Watford
has been divided into 12 wards . 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. The council have made twinning links with five towns. The first was Mainz
Mainz
, Germany, in 1956, and the most recent is Pesaro
Pesaro
, Italy, in 1988; the others are Nanterre, Novgorod
Novgorod
, and Wilmington, Delaware.

Watford
Watford
elects one Member of Parliament
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
Hertfordshire
.

ECONOMY

Entrance to the intu Watford
Watford
Shopping Centre

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. 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
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.

The town contains the head offices of a number of national companies such as J D Wetherspoon, Camelot Group, Mothercare
Mothercare
, Bathstore, and Caversham Finance (BrightHouse). Watford
Watford
is also the UK base of various multi-nationals including Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide
, Total Oil , TK Maxx , Costco
Costco
, JJ Kavanagh and Sons, Vinci and Beko
Beko
.

Both the 2006 World Golf Championshipand the 2013 Bilderberg Conference , took place at The Grove hotel .

The town was home to the Scammell Lorriesfactory 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. Woodside Athletics Stadium

PARKS

Daffodils in Cassiobury Park
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.

CASSIOBURY PARK

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.

Cassiobury Park
Cassiobury Park
was formed from the grounds of Cassiobury Houseand 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
Green Flag Award
, which recognises the best green spaces in the country. 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

Cheslyn Gardens

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

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, 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 Woodis a local nature reserve .

THEATRES

WATFORD PALACE THEATRE

Watford Palace Theatre
Watford Palace Theatre
opened in 1908

The Watford Palace Theatre
Watford Palace Theatre
is the only producing theatre in Hertfordshire
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

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(men's Morris dancing), child, youth and adult theatre groups and also the Giggle Inn comedy club.

WATFORD COLOSSEUM

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

Watford Colosseumwas built in 1938 as Watford
Watford
Town
Town
Hall Assembly Rooms to the design of architect Charles Cowles-Voyseyand acoustician Hope Bagenal. It acquired a worldwide reputation for its fine acoustics, and throughout the second half of the twentieth century it was used for concerts and recordings by leading orchestras and musicians. 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. After the management company collapsed in 2004, it was managed by Watford Council until April 2010, when it closed to undergo a £5.5 million refurbishment; reopening in August 2011 with new management.

Concert life at Watford Colosseumcollapsed 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. It was used to record various film soundtracks, including _The Lord of the Rings _, _ The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music
_, and _Sleepy Hollow _; and among classical recordings, Julian Lloyd Webber's performance of Elgar
Elgar
's Cello Concerto, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin
Yehudi Menuhin
. 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
The Who
, Robbie Williams, and Oasis .

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.

MUSEUMS

WATFORD MUSEUM

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
J. M. W. Turner
, Sir Joshua Reynolds
Joshua Reynolds
, William Blake and Jacob Epstein
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.

LEAVESDEN FILM STUDIOS

_ 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 stationto the studios.

HERTFORDSHIRE FIRE MUSEUM

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.

HERITAGE

The Essex
Essex
Chapel in Saint Mary's Church

There are 92 nationally listed buildings in Watford. The two top-graded buildings are St Mary\'s Church —which dates to the 12th century—and Holy Rood Church . 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
Watford
Church". Holy Rood Roman Catholic Church is a much later structure, built in 1890 by John Francis Bentley , the architect responsible for Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
in London. Holy Rood is noted as a particularity fine example of Gothic Revival architecture and its ornate interior contains stained glass by the designer Nathaniel Westlake.

There are ten conservation areas in Watford, one Grade II Listed Park and 240 locally listed buildings.

TRANSPORT

Watford
Watford
is close to the orbital M25 and the M1 which links London to the Midlands and the North.

BUSES

Watford
Watford
Junction, northern terminus of London Overground
London Overground

Watford
Watford
is served by buses which link it to the wider surrounding area. These are operated by a number of different companies, including Arriva Shires and the London Midland
London Midland
shuttle train via the Abbey Line to St Albans Abbey
St Albans Abbey
.

The London Overground
London Overground
service from Watford
Watford
Junction runs south via a suburban loop and stops at the closest station to Watford
Watford
town centre, Watford
Watford
High Street , before continuing via Bushey
Bushey
via the Watford
Watford
DC Line to London Euston. Watford North railway stationis the first stop on the northbound Abbey Line, serving the suburban area of North Watford
Watford
.

In the west of the town, Watford
Watford
Met is currently the terminus of the Watford
Watford
branch of London Underground
London Underground
's Metropolitan line
Metropolitan line
at the outer north-western boundary of the Tube system. The station is located outside the centre of Watford, close to Cassiobury Park
Cassiobury Park
. Map of railways around Watford
Watford
(2013)

Stations in Central Watford
Watford
PIC STATION SERVICES NOTES

Watford
Watford
Junction National Rail
National Rail

London Overground
London Overground
West Coast Mainline local & regional services

Abbey Line Cross-London service to Clapham Junction Watford DC Line
Watford DC Line

Watford
Watford
High Street London Overground
London Overground
Watford DC Line
Watford DC Line
"> Map of the Croxley Rail Link
Croxley Rail Link
scheme

A project has been proposed to extend the Tube into the town centre: the Croxley Rail Link
Croxley Rail Link
will divert the Metropolitan line
Metropolitan line
branch to Watford
Watford
Junction by reinstating a stretch of disused railway, the Watford and Rickmansworth Railwaywhich used to run trains to Croxley Green until it closed in 1996. The new route, which does not have a firm opening date will provide two new Underground stations at Cassiobridgeand Watford
Watford
Vicarage Roadand will share track with London Overground
London Overground
from Watford
Watford
High Street to Watford
Watford
Junction. As a result of the diversion of the line, Watford
Watford
Met will close to passengers.

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 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 Lineshould be converted to tram-train operation and run by Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
County Council . The project was cancelled due to the complications and expense of transferring the line from National Rail
National Rail
to the county council.

In 2008 a proposal was made that Regional Eurostarservices could run via Watford
Watford
to Paris via Kensington Olympia
Kensington Olympia
. 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". The Regional Eurostarscheme eventually came to nothing and was put on hold indefinitely.

WATER

The Grand Union Canal, seen from the Metropolitan line
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 and the River Colne flow through Watford.

CYCLING

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.

National Cycle Routes 6 and 61 run across the eastern and southern sides of the town, utilising the off-road Ebury Wayand 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

Watford
Watford
Free School building See also: Watford
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." In 1704, Elizabeth Fullerof 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. 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. The Free School closed in 1882, and its endowment contributed to founding the Watford
Watford
Endowed Schools, which provided secondary education and charged fees. 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. The London Orphan Asylum, later Reed's School, was located near Watford Junction stationbetween 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
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:

* 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 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 . * 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. * 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.

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
Hertfordshire
. The area also has by far the highest incidence in the county of children allocated to schools to which they had not applied.

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 Collegeis the only grade 1 further education college in the United Kingdom according to a 2011 Ofsted report. The Centre for Missional Leadership(CML) is the Watford branch of the London School of Theology, Europe's largest evangelical theological college, and teaches an applied theology course in missional leadership, accredited by Middlesex University
Middlesex University
.

SPORT

Watford
Watford
v Coventry at Vicarage Roadin May 2000

Watford
Watford
is home to professional football team Watford F.C., who reached the 1984 FA Cup Final, also finishing as league Division One (now the Premier League
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
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.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.and a former club chairman . He still maintains his links with Watford
Watford
as Honorary Life President. Between 1997 and 2013 the club shared its ground, Vicarage Road , with Saracens Rugby Football Club .

Watford
Watford
has a Non-League footballteam Sun Sports F.C.who play at The Sun Postal Sports formerly manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers * Vinnie Jones, footballer, actor * Anthony Joshua
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 * 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 Bankin 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(1949–2005), Labour politician * Neil Mullarkey, actor best known for roles in Austin Powers * Mark Oaten, Liberal Democrat politician * Olajide Olatunji(1993-), rapper, comedian, actor and YouTube personality * Stuart Parkin, physicist * Arthur Peacocke(1924–2006), biochemist and Anglican theologian * Thomas Webster Rammell(1814–1879), engineer of The Crystal Palace , is buried in Watford * Paul Robinson , footballer for Watford
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 * Grant Shapps, Conservative MP for nearby 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
Aston Villa
, Middlesbrough and England , also managed Middlesbrough and now manager of England * John Taylor , former rugby player for Wales and British currently coach of Chicago Fire

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