Watford's Vanishing Trick

Stumbled across this site a year or three back and just got back from UK visit, which brought me here again. I have lived in California since 1964; was born in 1942 (at Shrodell’s) and grew up on Denmark Street, just up from Watford Junction. I went to school at St. Theresa’s Prep and Joan of Arc Convent (then all girls) in Rickmansworth. First job was Saturday’s at Boots, then went to work at Prudential Assurance on the Parade when I left school in 1958, then to John Dickinson’s at Nash Mills after that. My older sister Jeannette worked at Jackson’s Jewelers in the High Street after she met her husband at White Cross Insurance. She started school at Holy Rood then went to St Joan’s. I remember the Pond on the Parade when it had the green railings – and those lovely flower beds in front of the Town Hall; also Grillo’s Ice Cream cart, which was parked across from the Pond where the coffee shop (wonderful smell of roasting beans!) and the Corner Cafe were. We used to get fish’n’ships at DeLuca’s on the High Street, which was owned by my friend’s family. My Dad worked at a furniture store on Market Street near Holy Rood church, but I can’t remember the name right now. I spent hours and hours at the Library on Hempstead Road and when I went back some years, stopped in there and then went for a long walk In Cassiobury Park, which we used to go to all the time. Loved the old gates! What a shame they didn’t just move them rather than tear them down. During that visit, I went to the Cha Cha Cha cafe in the park and have been trying to find more about the history of that building, because I went there – probably some time in the mid-1940s when it was a nursery. I remember my mother dropping me off and me playing with plasticene. Does anyone remember that? Was a wonderful place. I also used to play tennis on the grass courts in the park, fish for tiddlers and hang out on the gates over the Grand Union canal. We’d go out in the morning on our bikes with neighbor kids from Denmark Street and wouldn’t get back home until the evening. In those days we didn’t have a house phone (never mind a cell phone!) but nobody worried and we knew to be back in time for dinner. My sister used to go to the Saturday night big band dances at the Town Hall with our cousins, often escorted by the U.S. servicemen stationed at Bushey Hall. The boys were shipped home just as I was getting old enough to go out and I ended up going to dances – no big bands! – at the Technical College just as the twist came in (no comparison to those big bands). Oh well; that’s life.

This page was added on 06/10/2017.

Comments about this page

  • Hi, my uncle Lewis Hitner owned that shop. Whilst I called him uncle, I believe he was related by marriage to a cousin of my grandfather. I remember visiting the shop as a toddler. He had a lovely house In St Johns Rd, now an office block.

    By David (30/03/2018)
  • Hello,

    Sad your name wasn’t printed at the bottom of your contribution. You were referring to the furniture shop in Market Street. If I recall there was one half way down on the right where my mum would take me in each week to pay the HP payment on some furniture. I think the name was Hitner, whether it was the name of the shop or the gent working there, I stand corrected if wrong. I always remember as a small child walking down this long narrow aisle to the office at the back of the shop with furniture on either side.

    By Christine Partridge (nee Sharman) (05/12/2017)

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