Childhood in Queens Road

Jayne Nicholson

Watford High Street. View of Clements from the flyover. 1980s
Watford Museum, Halcyon of Bushey Postcard

I am so pleased I stumbled across this website. I was born in Bushey (Bushey Hall Road in a house next to Watford Technical High School) in the 1960s and moved several times in Watford. My childhood was mainly spent at 99 Queens Road, Watford and I remember walking with my mum up Queens Road to the High Street.

In Queens Road, right at the start of the shops, you had the Corner Shop which was run by Bert and his assistant Nancy. Bert also ran a dolls hospital here and I often took my dolls to him to be repaired though was rather upset when he changed the colour of one of my dolls eyes from blue to brown because he didn’t have any brown eyes in stock! I must have been around 5 then. Just across the road you had Clarks, run by Mr and Mrs Clark. This was a Tobacconists/sweet shop and you could buy loose tobacco that Mr Clark would weigh on his scales. The Victoria Tavern was just before Clarks. There was a launderette next to what must have been the first Indian general stores. I hated the smell of the spices as a child going past that shop and would run past it holding my nose and breath!

A very pronounced limp

There was a coblers opposite run by Mr Malone who walked with a very pronounced limp – his wife Mary worked in the launderette. There was Carrs second hand shop, Symbols, Dunns Wallpaper and my very favourite shop of all, Ivor Newman’s pet shop. He moved his shop from one side of the road to the other. He always had puppies for sale in the front window and I loved going in there and picking them up for a cuddle! He also had a talking parrot that I had the most extraordinary conversations with.

I can just about remember the Congregational Church on the corner being knocked down, where Allied Carpets were sited. Grevilles Photographers were on the opposite corner and a Dairy Shop opposite that with a lady serving with white hair in a bun and always wearing a pinafore. Trewins, a charity shop, a toy shop and then, turning left into Lower High Street was my favourite, Fantos. I loved this old shop with wooden floors and would make a bee-line for the toy department upstairs. I’m pretty sure that Boots was on the corner. At the top end of town I loved the chips from Sea Pride fish and chip shop, next to Peter Spiveys.

A train ride to see Father Christmas

Clements was a favourite especially at Christmas when they had a fake train ride for the children to see Father Christmas. I really felt we were on a long journey and then saw Father Christmas in his own ‘home’, wow! I’d sit on Father Christmas’s lap and tell him everything I wanted for Christmas and go home with my present and a competion entry form which was a picture you had to colour in and put your age on. Loved Cawdells, which had two entrances, one at the front and one in the side opposite the market. A little tobacconists opposite was where my dad used to buy his pipes. Christmas pantos at the Palace Theatre where I went with the school and the sweet shop opposite that sold lovely sherbet lemons. The Palace Theatre used to have wooden phone boxes inside the foyer with sliding doors exactly the same as they had at Watford Junction. Watford Junction, mmmmm, the smell that used to waft across the front from the cafe was luvverly, I can still remember it now. Opposite the Junction in Woodford Road, you could get the 142 and the 258 to London and the small single decker green bus to Two Waters Garage in Hemel Hempstead.

Does anybody remember Technical Designs?

Does anybody remember a firm in Woodford Road called Technical Designs? Know as TD, my mum used to work there and I’d walk down Queens Road with my toys to meet her from work. Completely unaccompanied, you couldn’t do that now, could you?

This page was added on 26/07/2010.

Comments about this page

  • My dad Ivor Newman owned the pet shop in Queens Road, mum Ruby and sister Barbara brother Max and I all lived above the shop, happy days, unfortunately me Julie Newman is the only surviving member of the family

    By Julie Newman ( warrell) (13/11/2023)
  • I remember Stan Freeman (mentioned above) Couldn’t remember what his shop was but music sounds just right. My parents were good friends with him and his wife Edna. Stan lived I think on Elstree Road on the way to Borehamwood and he had very big garden with a well in it. I was terrified by it because it was only half covered with a paving slab My brother used to tell me that it was REALLY deep! Funny how these little things stick. He and my dad used to concoct articles for the Watford Observer. I have no idea how they became friends. We used to pass his shop on the way to the Doll’s hospital with my dolls when they needed repair.
    Maybe it was the .Watford Observer connection!

    By Jennie Dott (nee Ladell) (28/08/2021)
  • I have just discovered that my now 93 year old mother worked in Clements in the early 40s when she left school. Her job was to decorate the insides of the glass display cabinets. Apparently she painted Delphiniums on the back panels! I am so amazed to still find out things about her. They remained in place for a number of years, sadly no photos of them. She was known then as Barbara Bone.

    By Mrs Gillian Astley (25/01/2021)
  • Queens Road:
    Greville Studios. Artistic, Photographic Historical Records, for many years of people and places in what was once one of the ten most important towns in England , or so my primary school Teacher had led me to believe.
    Do not forget Barkers gentlemens outfitters. The dynamic duo were always ready to assist and were responsible for ensuring my group of school friends thought we were up there with the local fashionista.

    By John (22/01/2020)
  • Remember visiting Queens Road as a kid in the late 70’s/early 80’s with my parents who were antique dealers. There were 2 shops owned by the Carr’s , you had “old man” Carrs bookshop on the corner opposite Blakes Wine Bar, then his son Dennis had an antique shop further up on the right opposite Stan Freemans music shop. Sadly Stan died a couple of months ago but he had a good innings , making it to 90 years

    By Dan (15/04/2019)
  • Does anyone remember a boutique in Queens Road called Orange Hand?

    By Nigel (03/06/2017)
  • I remember probably the first boutique in Watford. It was in lower high street on the right looking north. This was about 1967. I loved the Biba like clothes they sold but could never afford them

    By Sally Edmondson (02/10/2016)
  • I recall Clements. I was born in 1961. At Xmas the whole top floor in late 1960s and early 70s Clements, which at any other time of year would eb mostly furniture/ Beds became a Mahoosive toy shop with everything I could ever want. I spent my days milling round it in the Xmas school break, dreaming of my Xmas present which was surely going to coem from there anyway. There was another toy shop (proper), I think in North Watford soemwhere but i can’t recall where.

    By Martin C (14/01/2016)
  • Jayne – do you have any memories of the junk/bric a brac shop to the right of the dolls hospital ? It was called Vera’s Dresses i think. Jim Rogers

    By James Victor Rogers (23/10/2010)

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