I lived in Watford, 1965 – 1991. I was born in Barrow in Furness but at only a few months old my parents moved to Watford.
We lived in Railway Cottages off St Albans Rd by the Railway Club. They were old victorian terraced houses which belonged to the railways, my dad worked on the railways. No bathroom (Tin Bath hung on a nail on the wall in the garden) and an outside freezing toilet. Two big rooms downstairs, front room with a coal fire that you could not light because it smoked out the next doors front room and a big back kitchen with a fire you could use. The bedrooms were in the roof, three in total. Two small rooms at the back and one large room at the front. The windows were sash and very low to the floor which was wooden and had small holes in. My brother and I used to post pencils down into the front room!
The coal man and bottles of pop
I remember the coal man arriving and a lorry used to come around full of bottles of pop. The insurance man used to call and I think Benskins Brewery with the big shire horses used to come down the road to the Railway Club as well. I lived there until I was 11 and then we were one of the last families to go up to The Harebreaks, Woodside.
I went to Holy Rood School (Percy Rd) then went to Greenbank school near Leavesden and finally St Michaels in Garston. Such memories came flooding back!!
The Sundays I spent at a club I think called The Pumphouse listening to Blues Groups and coming home to my dinner in the bin, New Penny Nightclub in Queens Road, Baileys Nightclub with the chicken in a basket dinners which then became Paradise Lost (never as good without the live groups)
My first job was working in Clarendon Road at a florist opposite the Watford Palace Theatre Dorothy Heathcote Florists who then moved into Market street. I remember going as a child into Cassiobury Park Golf Course and rolling down the bunkers and then running away from the keepers. Swimming in the locks and rivers etc around the park, spending all day there on a weekend from 09.00 till late and then using the phone box near the entrance where the old Peace Memorial Hospital was to phone home to say I was OK…could not do that nowadays.
The Saturday morning clubs at the Odeon Cinema, going up to the pond in town to the bakers who also owned a restaurant (black n white building) cannot remember its name, sorry. The Harlequin Centre being built and destroying the top of town and most of the bottom of it as well!
The old sewing machine shop
I remember as a very little girl going into Liptons in Market Street which was a small shop, the outside market near where they built the flyover and the new one near my beloved C&A. I remember Clements at Christmas time, the old sewing machine shop in Clarendon road, Going to John Lewis for my uniform in Queens Road.The toy shop on St Albans Road next to Woolworths, Froggys clothes shop along there as well. Swimming at weekends at the Leggets School Pool (cant remember how its spelt)
So many memories that keep coming back…I often think about Railway Cottages and the amazing childhood I had there. Unfortunately the houses were protected by a plaque hung on the wall in between our house and next doors so they could not be pulled down BUT one day it went missing, we were moved and they were demolished..I do not know to this day whether anything is there now in its place? I remember the elderly gentleman who lived in the old railway station house, Mr Messenger, when he died it became a car sales/hire office I think.
A rosy childhood
I have friends who still live in Watford but it saddens me to visit because it has had its heart ripped away and is not the vibrant place I remember but then again at 48 yrs old everything looks rosy to me from my childhood!! Thank you for making my day..keep on posting!!