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Discover Watford's rich heritage with special free events and openings across town.

  • Sir Elton John - Global Icon
    Elton John is an iconic singer, composer and pianist who has had a legendary career spanning 50 years. Whilst his impact has been felt globally, there is nowhere he has influenced more than Watford. He has been a lifelong fan of Watford FC, attending games since he was 5 years old and eventually becoming Chairman and President in 1976. He appointed Graham Taylor as manager and was involved in the club rising into the English First Division in 1984. Whilst Elton stepped down in 2002, he has remained President and is a continuing presence at the ground, attending with his family. Honouring his decades of service to the club, Watford Football Club rebuilt and renovated the East Stand, naming it in his honour with the chorus to ‘Your Song’ on back of the stand in 2014. When opening the stand, Elton claimed it was “one of the greatest days of my life”. Most recently in July 2022, he chose to bring his record-breaking ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour to Vicarage Road, unsurprisingly selling out both nights. Using his global platform, in 1992, in response to the AIDS epidemic, Elton launched the ‘Elton John AIDS Foundation’. It has now become one of the leading independent AIDS organisations in the world with the mission of ending the AIDS epidemic by ensuring that everyone at risk of HIV has access to the non-discriminatory HIV information and compassionate care. So far, the Foundation has raised more than $565 million for HIV/AIDS grants, funding more than 3,000 projects in over 90 countries. In June 2019 President Emmanuel Macron presented Elton the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest award, for his lifetime contribution to the arts and the fight against HIV/AIDS. Elton was awarded the Companion of Honour in the 2021 New Year Honours list. The highest acknowledgement in the list, Elton became one of only 64 people to hold the honour. September 2022 saw President Biden awarding him the National Humanities Medal in recognition of his storied career and advocacy work to end HIV / AIDS. Although he is undoubtedly a global icon, Elton has always ensured he supports his hometown community. In June 2022, Watford Council commissioned a mural to be painted by acclaimed street artists MurWalls to immortalise his legacy on Watford Central Library for years to come. Image taken by Malcolm Orvis (1978)
  • The Baroness Thornhill, first elected and female Mayor of Watford
    It came as no surprise when Dorothy Thornhill, MBE, was awarded a peerage in 2015, she chose to link her title to our town, becoming The Baroness Thornhill, of Watford. Whilst she has both strong Welsh and northern roots, Dorothy has shown unwavering commitment and passion for Watford, serving local people and the community over many years. Many local people will remember Dorothy from her career as a teacher, for a number of years at St Joan of Arc in Rickmansworth and later at Queens School where she became assistant head. However, it is as Watford’s first directly elected Mayor who served the town for 16 years, winning four mayoral elections over this time, that has cemented her in the fabric of Watford’s history. A trailblazer for women in politics, Dorothy was both the first female and Liberal Democrat directly elected mayor. She continues to represent Watford in the House of Lords, currently as Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Housing, pursuing her belief in the importance of quality, affordable homes to people’s health, wellbeing and quality of life. While Elected Mayor, she oversaw some major transformations in the town including improvements to historic Cassiobury Park, the rejuvenation of the town centre, including the extension of the town’s regional shopping centre and investment in the Watford’s two outstanding leisure centres. Throughout her time in office, she championed plans for improved facilities and services at Watford General Hospital, providing both strategic and practical support that delivered the vital new access road and has opened up land for hospital development. Although a lifelong rugby supporter, Dorothy has become an avid fan of Watford Football Club, and she has chosen Watford FC Community Trust among her many local patronages. Overall, Dorothy’s story is one of dedication, leadership, and a commitment to making positive changes in the town she loves.
  • Henry Grover - Founder of the 'Rovers' later known as Watford Football Club
    In 1881, a spirited group of youngsters found their passion for football in Cassiobury Park, courtesy of the Earl of Essex's permission. At the heart of this budding team was Henry Grover, the visionary organizer, and the driving force behind the birth of Watford Rovers, ultimately leading to the establishment of Watford FC. Hailing from a lineage of local wine and spirit merchants, it was Henry who acquired their very first football and, in a peculiar arrangement, secured an agreement with the Earl to refrain from organized matches on his estate. The Grover name was well-respected in the community, with Henry Grover Senior being a prominent figure of property. Young Henry dedicated nearly a decade to playing for Rovers, showcasing his versatility by transitioning from a back player to a formidable half-back. Yet, when he decided to hang up his boots, his enthusiasm for the game waned. Residing initially on Cassio Road and later on Upton Road from 1906 until his passing in 1949 at the age of 83, Henry Grover left an indelible mark on Watford. He rests in eternal peace at Vicarage Road Cemetery, alongside other pivotal figures in the club's history. Beyond football, Henry Grover's legacy also extends to his distinction as the town's first motorist. Though often unsung, Henry Grover's enduring contributions remain a testament to his unwavering dedication to the beautiful game and the enduring spirit of Watford FC.
  • Rob Smith - Community Hero
    Rob Smith has been involved with Watford FC Community Sports and Education Trust for over 26 years, witnessing its growth from a small team working from a cupboard to a thriving charity with a major impact on the local community. The Trust's work has evolved over time to include a wide range of programmes, from football coaching to social value projects. Rob is particularly proud of the variety of services and opportunities the Trust provides and the people it has helped, including former Watford player Britt Assombalonga. Looking to the future, Rob hopes to see the Trust continue to grow and expand its impact. He is passionate about the Trust continuing to be a positive force for good in the community as he has seen first-hand how, as a charity, it can enrich people’s lives, create special memories and enable positive futures. In an article with Watford Observer, Rob said: “Our growth has come from a lot of very good people doing a lot of very good and hard work. And all those people and all that work is there as part of the legacy that Graham Taylor left for Watford FC and its community. I believe a football club almost has an obligation to work with, help and support its community, and Watford FC has always had a very special way of meeting that obligation.”
  • Deputy Lieutenant Harjit Singh - Trailblazing Community Leader
    Deputy Lieutenant Harjit Singh holds several significant roles within various organisations. As the Chair of Trustees for One Vision, he provides leadership and guidance to the organisation. Furthermore, he serves as the Chair of Watford Interfaith Association (WIFA) fostering an understanding and cooperation among different Faith communities. Harjit Singh is also a Trustee of the Watford and Three Rivers Trust (W3RT), demonstrating his commitment to the community welfare and development. Passionate about community engagement, Mr Singh thrives on collaborating with like-minded individuals to drive positive change in Watford and its neighbouring areas. Alongside his community endeavours, he holds a position in Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, where he contributes his skills and expertise to ensure public safety. Earlier this year he has also become the Chair of a national body, AFSA (Asian Fire Service Association) working with Brigades up and down country.
  • Clive Saunders OBE - Trailblazing Community Hero
    Clive is a married father of three and a grandfather. He has lived in Watford for over 30 years and first became chairman of Watford African Caribbean Association (WACA) in 2004. He has an extensive history of community involvement extending from his early twenties in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Reading and now Watford. He has a passionate desire to make a positive difference. Clive received an OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2017 for his services to community, education, and equality. He was one of a small group of people that established the Watford African Caribbean Supplementary School in Watford in in 1995 and he remained part of the driving force for over 20 years. Whilst his main focus has been on helping vulnerable people particularly those from African and Caribbean backgrounds, he has impacted all communities through the range of his work. An incredible and sustained achievement that both WACA and the community are immensely proud of!
  • Founders of the New Hope
    Dr Tim Robson OBE - Tim is a founding trustee of New Hope, leading the charity as Chairman from 1991 to 2008 and now standing on New Hope’s board. He is a qualified medical doctor who helped set-up a specialist surgery for people suffering health issues as a result of poverty and homelessness. Tim was awarded an OBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to the homeless in Hertfordshire. Sheila Meaning BEM - Sheila co-founded New Hope with her friend, the late Janet Hosier, who saw the many people sleeping rough in the centre of Watford and felt moved to act. Sheila has won various accolades for her work with those who are marginalised. Notably, in 2016, Sheila was awarded a British Empire Medal and in 2011, she was awarded the Lesley Peace ‘Women of Courage’ Award and Watford Borough Council’s Audentior Award. Janet Hosier - Janet’s willingness to give so much of herself and her time to supporting people who were left behind and often ignored was profound. From the humble beginnings of providing meals to vulnerable people at a local church, Janet was always committed to helping those experiencing homelessness which eventually led to the founding of Watford New Hope Trust which is still providing meals, accommodation and support today. Polly Odbert - For over 20 years, Polly has been the volunteer manager of New Hope’s Watford charity shop, a shop that provides much needed income to support people in their recovery from homelessness. Polly’s enthusiasm and commitment to helping people is well-known and she has been recognised for her dedication with Volunteer of the Year from Watford’s Audentior Awards in 2015, and received a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017. For more information about New Hope and their services, please visit:
  • Dr Bharat Shah CBE - Trailblazing entrepreneur
    Dr Bharat Shah CBE arrived from Kenya in the early 1970s and went on to graduate from the University of Bath in 1971 as a qualified Pharmacist. In 1977, Dr Shah established an independent pharmacy in Watford, which later became a distribution business, serving the independent pharmacy sector. In 1982, Dr Shah and his brother co-founded Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. That initial start-up, has now developed into one of the UK’s leading pharmacy wholesalers. The multimillion pound business is reckoned to be the largest independent pharmacy wholesaler in the UK. Over the years, the company has won numerous national awards for growth and success with Dr Shah collecting quite a few personal awards for his skill and endeavours in business entrepreneurship. Bharat was proud to receive a doctorate from the University of Bath in 2013 for his services to pharmacy. In 2019, he was then awarded a CBE for “services to business, economic growth, exporting, the independent pharmacy sector and philanthropy”. Furthermore, Dr Shah actively engages in giving back to the Asian community, serving as a trustee or chairman for various charitable organisations.
  • Anthony Joshua OBE - Legendary Boxer and Olympian
    Anthony Joshua OBE, born on October 15 1989, is a British professional boxer. Growing up in Watford, Joshua discovered his passion for boxing quite late at 18 years old. He trained at Finchley Amateur Boxing Club in North London, where he honed his skills and developed the discipline that would later define his professional career. Joshua's connection to Watford remained strong even as his boxing career skyrocketed. He has consistently expressed his pride in representing his hometown and has often credited the support of the Watford community for playing a crucial role in his success. Throughout his professional career, Anthony Joshua's achievements have made him a household name not only in the UK but also on the global stage. He clinched the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, which marked a pivotal moment in his journey to becoming a world-class boxer. As a professional boxer, he has gone on to become a two-time Unified Heavyweight World Champion. Outside the ring, Joshua has also been involved in philanthropic efforts and community initiatives in Watford and beyond. He has his own giveback project called Clean Herts Community and his dedication to giving back to his hometown showcases his commitment to using his platform for positive change. Anthony Joshua's legacy extends beyond his remarkable boxing achievements, reflecting his roots in Watford and his determination to inspire the next generation of athletes. His story serves as a testament to the power of hard work, resilience, and the bond between an athlete and their hometown. Image provided by 258 Management and taken by Mark Robinson Photography
  • Dominic de Luca - Community Hero
    Dominic de Luca's history with Watford began with his father, Donato De Luca, who left his homeland of Italy to seek new opportunities in England. Settling in various places across the country, the De Luca family eventually found their permanent home in Watford in 1912. It was here that they established a fried fish bar on the bustling High Street. Growing up, Dominic was deeply rooted in the family business, working at their fish bar for numerous years. In time, he decided to venture out on his own, opening a café on Market Street. Fluent in his native Italian, Dominic became a bridge of communication for the Italian families that had migrated to England following World War II. He provided invaluable support to an Italian Prisoner of War during his extended stay at Shrodells Hospital in 1944, bringing solace and understanding to a fellow countryman far from home. Similarly, he offered his interpretation services to an Italian seaman at St Albans Hospital, easing the challenges of language barriers during a time of vulnerability. Dominic's commitment to his community was not confined to the walls of his confectionery. His active involvement in the local Church and his unwavering dedication to serving others earned him a Papal Knighthood in 1966. This prestigious honour recognized his efforts, which included frequent visits to the nearby hospitals, where he offered comfort and companionship to patients. His nickname, the 'Pear Drop Man,' stemmed from his habit of always carrying pear drops – a small gesture that brought smiles and comfort to those he interacted with. Beyond his professional and service accomplishments, Dominic De Luca was a beloved figure in Watford. His warmth, generosity, and kind-hearted nature left an indelible mark on the community. His legacy lives on through his family, who continue to reside in the town, a testament to the enduring impact he made.
  • Dan Dark OBE - Innovator
    Dan Dark was born into the film industry, as his father was a film producer and from a very young age, Dan, was present on many film sets. Working his way up in the film industry in various roles, from runner to special effects and floor supervisor, he went to Spain in 1992 to build a studio from scratch for the BBC programme Eldorado. Upon his return to the UK in 1994, he was part of the team who showed the makers of the James Bond film, Goldeneye around the old Rolls Royce factory in Leavesden. This site is of course the site of what is now Warner Bros. Studios, including the Harry Potter studio tour and home of some of the biggest cinema franchises in recent cinema history. Dan was part of the team that developed this site and when Warner Bros. took over in 2011 he became the managing director and further developed the site to what it is today. He has now been appointed to the role of executive vice president of worldwide studio operations for Warner Bros. and splits his time between Watford and California. However, after all the work he has done developing the film industry in Hertfordshire and abroad, in his own words, “What I’m proudest about is the work we have done and will continue to do in the local community. It’s a really special relationship that we have with a number of charities, organisations, and schools that have really helped us to be fully integrated into what is a really strong community around us.” In 2021, Dan received the Officer of The Order of The British Empire for his services to the UK film industry and was awarded the honour at Windsor Castle in June 2023. Image: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
  • Lijun Bi (毕丽俊) - Community Hero
    Lijun Bi (毕丽俊) is the founder and chair of the UK – China National Dance Exchange Association (UKCNDEA) and the artistic director of Aubretia Dance studio, as well as London Chinese Community centre performing art troupe. She has an advanced certificate in Chinese classical dance from Beijing dance academy, China. She has also received formal training in large scale Chinese festival dance at the school of music and dance in Huaqiao university in Xiamen, China. She is good at Chinese classical dance, Han and Tang dance, Dunhuang dance, folk dance, ethnic minority dance and fusion dance. Lijun has attended and supported many events celebrating the diversity of the town. From events like Watford Celebration from many years on annual basis to the Watford Palace Theatre. She is very much admired not just for her talent but also as an individual that believes in community engagement and supports the celebration of diversity in our town.
  • Charles Brightman and Robert Ashby - Histroic Entrepreneurs
    Charles Brightman, along with his business partner Robert Ashby, played a significant role in the extensive building projects undertaken by Watford during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their company had a strong presence in the development of various areas, notably Callowland and Cassiobury estates. Their involvement with the latter included substantial land sales to the Urban District Council in 1909 and 1913, which ultimately became the award-winning Cassiobury Park.
  • Phyllis Chase - Community Hero
    Phyllis is a remarkable individual whose impact extends throughout the community. With her warm, calm, and inclusive spirit, she enriches numerous community groups. Known for her heart of gold, Phyllis possesses an innate ability to offer assistance to anyone in need. Her infectious chuckle has the power to mend wounded hearts, and she consistently provides advice, comfort, and support to those seeking help. During the lockdown, she dedicated herself to making masks, bags, and scrubs for the PPE Project of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, demonstrating her commitment to serving others. Additionally, she takes on the responsibility of regularly contacting members of the Caring Sharing Friends, ensuring everyone's well-being is prioritized.
  • Christine Blackett - Community Housing Advocate
    Christine Blackett is passionate about good quality housing and friendly neighbourhoods. Involved in the stock transfer of local homes in 2007, she has led the Gateway Membership Team and mobilised groups of local residents for over 20 years. She lives locally and is an active member of the Leavesden Community Group and other projects. She cares passionately about the town and bringing local people together, so they have a collective voice. She has also been involved in national decision making for tenants and was responsible for ensuring that the stock transfer of Council owned homes to Watford Community Housing, has enabled more affordable housing to be built in Watford. She is deeply rooted in the town and passionate about making it a great place to live. Image: Watford Community Housing
  • Kelly Smith MBE - Iconic Footballer
    Kelly Smith MBE was born in Watford in October 1978. Kelly is an English former football player who played for Arsenal. She won 5 League titles and 5 FA Cup as well as the UEFA Women’s champions league. She accumulated 117 caps for the England’s women’s football team and scored 46 goals since making her debut in 1995. She played for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.
  • Helen Roberts - Inspiring Faith Leader
    Helen Roberts, together with her husband Tim, serves as a Senior Leader on the Wellspring Church staff team. Since 1998, Helen has wholeheartedly embraced the joys and challenges of leading the church, dedicated to bringing their vision to life. As a Ministry Leader on the Senior Leadership Team, Helen plays a vital role in supporting and empowering their staff and leaders in their ministries and personal growth. She actively engages in the pastoral care of their community, providing wise counsel, mentorship, and guidance during seasons of difficulty. Additionally, she has authored three 40-day devotionals, and together with her husband, has co-authored 2 books. In 2020, she released ‘The Comparison Trap’, a powerful resource to help women discover the strength to support one another using religion. Beyond her church involvement, Helen is also the CEO and Founder of a charity called Together with her team, she works to foster a fresh dialogue about sexual objectification and its impact on children, young people and society as a while. Helen and the Wellspring Church played a significant role in supporting individuals in Watford, particularly during times of great need, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Helen’s selfless acts of kindness over the years has truly enhanced the lives of many in our town, making a better place for all.
  • Trefor Jones - Legendary Sports Historian
    Trefor Jones was born in Abbots Langley in 1941. In the early 1950s, Jones saw Watford FC players, including Frank Mitchell and Jimmy Bowie, training at Watford Fields near his grandmother’s house – the love affair with the club began. This love and Jones’ love of facts led to his production of two books of scholarship: ‘The Watford Football Club Illustrated Who’s Who’, documenting every player who appeared in the club’s first team from 1881 and then ‘Watford Season by Season’, encompassing every match along with attendances, line-ups and substitutions for more than 100 years. It also led to the enormously popular Watford FC Archive website, which is still the go-to resource for supporters today. In Jones’ research he discovered that the grass-roots of Watford Rovers, later to evolve into Watford Football Club, began in 1881 with a letter written by Henry Grover asking permission from the Earl of Essex for him and his friends to play in what would later become Cassiobury Park. Grover explained that they would not play actual matches in the park. Not a word survived about this history until Jones discovered a document dating from 1902 that described the formation of Watford Rovers. He also unearthed a 1906 editorial in the Watford Observer which noted that – with Watford FC by now well-established at West Herts Sports Ground – it had been 25 years since Grover and company had started playing football in the park. Without Jones’ research, the 1881 date and details of Henry Grover may not have emerged. He maintained his archives for many years until new rules on publishing personal information started to handicap his ability to continue in the same vein. Towards the latter end of his career, he had another element of research to follow up: gathering up second-hand war medals and touring France and Belgium to link the medals up with the graves of the fallen. He wrote a book on it: ‘On Fame’s Eternal Camping Ground’. Trefor Jones passed away in 2019 at the age of 77. Oli Phillips, another 100 people recipient, wrote an incredibly moving tribute saying “I will miss him when reflecting on the imagined pantheon of true Watford legends, I trust there is an ante-room to celebrate the contributions of such as Trefor Jones – a supporter for all seasons." Image: Alan Cozzi/Watford FC, Trefor Jones, centre, receiving his Supporter of the Season award from Oliver Phillips and Sports Interactive's Miles Jacobson.
  • Leslie Regan - Founder of the Watford Philharmonic Society
    As Principal of Watford School of Music, Leslie Regan had a huge influence on the town’s musical life. In 1935 he brought together several local choirs and a largely amateur orchestra to stage a concert to honour the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary. Conducted by his friend, the great Sir Henry Wood, it gave rise to the Watford Philharmonic Society as we know it today with Leslie serving as its conductor for 31 years. He was also a professor at the Royal Academy, working tirelessly to promote music in education, encouraging amateurs and young professionals alike.
  • Corporal Christopher Harrison - War Hero
    Corporal Christopher Harrison was born in Watford, the former Lea Farm School and Parmiter's School pupil joined the Royal Marines in 2003. Corporal Harrison served with the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, and qualified as a heavy weapons (mortars) specialist in 2005. In 2007 he deployed with 40 Commando Royal Marines on Operation HERRICK 7 and had recently returned from an amphibious exercise in the Mediterranean and the Far East. In January 2010 he was selected for, and successfully passed, Junior Command Training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines. Returning to 40 Commando he then deployed on Operation HERRICK 12 as a Mortar Fire Controller with Bravo Company, based at Patrol Base Shuga. There is also memorial seat by the Peace Memorial that commemorates his life and Lea Farm Play Area was dedicated to Chris. A funeral with full military honours was held on May 26, 2010 at St Mary's Church, Watford.
  • Captain Thomas Sawyer - War Hero
    Captain Thomas Sawyer was born on 20 January 1982. He was educated at Watford Grammar and Rickmansworth schools and, as a teenager, was a cadet with the Air Training Corps in Watford. A road - a kilometre-long link road extending from Dalton Way to Watford General Hospital – was named Thomas Sawyer Way after Captain Thomas Sawyer, who died in 2009 aged 26 serving in The Royal Artillery during the Afghanistan war. His family unveiled the new specially designed road signs – which incorporate his name and the insignia of his regiment – the day before the opening of the new road in 2016. They were joined by pupils and staff from Watford Field Junior School, members of The Royal Artillery and all those who have played a key part in the creation of Thomas Sawyer Way. There is also memorial seat by the Peace Memorial that commemorates his life. A funeral with full military honours was held on 4 February 4 2009 at St Mary's Church, Watford. Thank you very much to his family for providing this photo of Captain Sawyer for us to share.
  • Terry Challis - Legendary Cartoonist
    A name known to many Watford FC fans and historians, Terry Challis was born in 1935 and came to prominence with his paintings and illustrations of the football club. One of his major works was from Graham Taylor and Elton John’s era. It’s an allegorical painting which features Elton John astride a giant hornet with the Liver bird in the distance, signalling Watford aiming to take the win from Liverpool in 1977. The painting ended up serving as a metaphor for Watford FC’s way forward under Elton’s chairmanship. The painting is now on loan and can be seen at Watford Museum. Terry’s cartoons were an established part of the Watford Observer newspaper’s coverage of events on and off the pitch at Watford FC for more than 30 years. He was well known amongst the club and fans for his sense of humour as well and regularly attended as matches at Vicarage Road. Former Watford Player, Nigel Gibbs described Terry Challis as “a true gentleman with great wit.” Image courtesy of Watford Observer
  • Sandy Belloni - Environmentalist
    Local environmentalist Sandy Belloni, born 8 February 1964, has helped shape the natural environment in Watford and across the South of England throughout his career. Sandy regularly runs litter picking sessions along the banks of Watford’s waterways, parks and other green spaces. In 2014 he set up Community Connection Projects CIC. This is a not for profit company and helps undertake land and river management projects in Watford. Sandy is the MD of CCP and has worked with numerous other groups and organisations including Watford Borough Council, Herts County Council, Community Payback, the Canal and Rivers Trust, Friends of Attenborough Fields, Friends of Croxley Common Moor, The Wild Trout Trust, The Green Gym and many more. On top of all this work Sandy also helps teach about the biodiversity of our rivers and waterways and runs sessions to remove invasive plant species, such as knotweed, as well as signal crayfish who can be bad for our waterways. These sessions are aided by volunteer groups and those undertaking to work experience to help them learn new skills which will benefit the community and wider world. As part of the council’s Rediscovering the River Colne project, Sandy does a lot of work in developing the environmental side of the project and helping rehabilitate the natural habitat along the river.
  • Harvey Jaquest - Community Hero (Watford Joggers)
    Harvey Jaquest who was a founding member of Watford Joggers. The club celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2021 and has gone from strength to strength after Harvey’s modest beginnings. They have a regular presence at Cassiobury parkrun as we provide pacers every month and this helps to pick up new members and keep the club all ability. Sadly, he is no longer with us but his legacy lives on in events such as the 'Harvey mile' a time trial we run every year round a one-mile circuit of the park that he designed. He continues to be an inspiration and is much missed.
  • Emma Wiggs MBE - Trailblazing Paralympian
    Emma grew up in Watford and throughout her schooling was very active, excelling at hockey. When she was 18, she went on a GAP year to Australia and contracted a virus that initially paralysed her and left her with irreparable damaged nerves in her legs. Despite this life changing event Emma was determined to pursue her chosen career as a PE teacher; studying Sports Science and gaining a PGCE in secondary PE, she started work in West Sussex in 2004. In 2012 Emma represented Great Britain in the GB Sitting Volleyball Team at the London Paralympic Games. After the Games she embarked on a mission to find a sport that would give her a chance to be the best she could be and found canoeing was the answer. She was offered a place on the GB World Class Programme and won European and World GOLD in her first year. At the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio she made history winning the first ever GOLD in KL2 women's event and followed this a year later in 2017, by achieving the first ever Paracanoe ‘Grand Slam’ holding the Paralympic, European and World titles within the calendar year. At the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Emma won the first ever gold medal in the Women’s Va’a Single 200m (VL2) - a newly added discipline to the Games - powering home in a new Games Record time 57.028 and the only athlete to go sub-one minute. She also won silver in the KL2 event behind teammate Charlotte Henshaw. Emma trains 6 days a week, 49 weeks of the year and is also passionate about trying to share her learnings and strategies with businesses through keynote speaking. Her consistent approach to training and her mind set has won her 10 world championship titles and 8 European gold medals throughout her successful career in Para canoe so far. For more information about Emma and the incredible work she does, please visit:
  • Gordon Hales - Legendary Painter
    Gordon Hales was born in Derbyshire but lived in Watford for 45 years, his affection for Watford was demonstrated when he generously donated some of his works to the local museum before his death in 1997. Hale’s popular painting of Watford High Street was the 13th entered into the museum’s 2020 exhibition ’A History of Watford in 50 Objects’ which rekindled memories for the local community of late night shopping in the High Street. The painting highlighted the importance of loving your local businesses and how they often become centres of community kindness. 📷 Image of 'Watford High Street' by Gordon Hales, 1916 - 1997
  • Althea McClean OBE - Community Hero
    Althea McClean was born in 1930 in St Catherine, Jamaica before moving to Watford. Althea co-founded the Watford African Caribbean Association in 1976 alongside her husband Arthur, and others, later becoming a board member and chairwoman. To this day, the charity provides a range of services to the African and Caribbean community including care facilities for the old, support and information and social gatherings. She was for many years the chairwoman of the Watford Racial Equality Council, actively trying to eradicate racial discrimination, and after that she became the chairwoman for the Watford Council for Voluntary Services. Owing to her activities in the community, in 1996 she received an OBE, an honour awarded to an individual for major contributions to business, charity and the public sector. Althea remained active until ill-health forced her to retire from community engagement in 2012. Despite stepping down, she continued to support the Watford African Caribbean Association and its activities as was its vice president right up to her death in 2012. In a tribute to Althea, the Watford African Caribbean Association said she was able to “transcend all community divides” and “foster very good relations in Watford”, adding: “She may be gone but her legacy will live on.”
  • Sandra Fullerton - Community Hero
    Sandra Fullerton who has been a prominent figure in the Watford community for years. Sandra worked at the West Watford Information Shop and then CVS as well as being an active volunteer at the African Caribbean Association, Watford Women's Centre, as a school governor and as a Trustee at Watford Palace Theatre. Sandra worked tirelessly for the community and produced many of the special exhibits on African Caribbean culture during Black History Month every year for several years and the large exhibition for Jamaican in-depth 50 years’ anniversary. Sadly, Sandra had a life changing health issue some 8 years ago and can no longer contribute in the same way but in terms of her contribution, ability to develop partnerships she made a huge contribution to Watford for several decades.
  • Mary Reid - Community Hero
    Mary Reid became chairman of the West Watford and Oxhey Garden and Allotment Society in 1999. Mary has had a plot at Paddock Road since 1975. In 2002 she began researching the history of garden allotments in Watford and their changes over time. She has contributed considerably to our understanding of this previously little known area of our history. Mary is passionate about allotments, and says “It’s nice having the vegetables but just being here in the open air in a beautiful space connecting with the earth is what makes it worthwhile, getting the vegetables is the bonus." (Left to right - Margaret and Mary Reid)
  • Lt. Col. Alfred George Scammell - Trailblazing businessman and Veteran
    Lt. Col. Alfred George Scammell was born in 1878 and is the great nephew of George Scammell, who founded a wheelwrighting business in Fashion Street, Spitalfields, eventually evolving to become Scammell Lorries Ltd. Soon after his marriage in 1898 Alfred George left G. Scammell & Nephew to pursue a military career, taking a commission in the Queen’s Westminster’s Regiment and then the Royal Field Artillery. He resigned from his commission and took over as the Managing Director in 1910. Alfred George wanted to expand the business further into manufacturing their own lorry and in 1914 began looking for space outside of London. These plans were halted by the outbreak of The Great War, where Alfred George re-joined the army to serve, and unfortunately was wounded two years later and invalided out as Lieutenant Colonel with a Distinguished Service Order medal. Despite this, for the duration of the war, he remained in the army at a training establishment in Luton where he lived. Around 1922 a site for developing a factory to manufacture Scammells innovative ‘Articulated Six-wheeler’ lorries had been chosen. The council owned land at Holywell Sewage Farm, off from Tolpits Lane on the outskirts Watford, was chosen for its close proximity to Watford West Station and good communication links to the rapidly urbanising central area. The Spitalfields operation and Watford lorry factory were consolidated into one after deaths in the family and Alfred George became the overall managing director. With his new business partner Mr H. R Hood Barrs G. Scammell & Nephew became Scammell Lorries Ltd.
  • Mary Forsyth - Legendary Historian
    As one of Watford’s most respected historians, Mary has been able to bring to light the many hidden aspects of our town’s long history and heritage which has greatly increased our understanding of its development. Over a period of 30 years she researched and recorded the changing face of the town, covering all aspects of civic, social, industrial and transport history as well and its people. Recently, she published a comprehensive account of the town, “Watford: A History”, in which she brought together all the important events in the town from its very early days. Mary's scholarly commitment in recording the history of Watford is something that benefits the wider community now and will no doubt be appreciated by future generations. Mary has provided invaluable support to the Planning Department of Watford Borough Council for many years. She has taken a keen and active interest in planning policy around the town and made notable contributions with regard to the town’s listed buildings and conservation areas. Mary first joined Watford Museum as a volunteer in 2002 and her local knowledge regularly proved to be of great help in ensuring that details are recorded accurately. Her contributions and expansion of the Museum’s information files will be a lasting legacy. She was also Chair of Friends of Watford Museum for many years and in 2012, in recognition of her contribution to the town, she received the Mayor’s Special Audentior Award in recognition of this.
  • Harry Alfred Rée - Trailblazing Educator
    Harry Alfred Rée was born on 15 October 1914 in Manchester, the youngest of 8 children. He attended St John’s College where he read Economics and Modern language. After the outbreak of the Second World War, Rée was conscripted into the army. He volunteered for Special Operations Executive (SOE) and saw active service in France. Rée spoke against RAF bombing in France, arguing that it was turning French public opinion against the Allies. He suggested that SOE agents could organise effective sabotage of factories on the ground. He worked with the local director of the factory to organise this. His plan was successful and the RAF did not bomb the factory. After the war, Rée became headmaster for Watford Grammar School for Boys from 1951 – 1962. He was a pre-eminent educationalist of the post-war years and a vigorous advocate of comprehensive schools. In 1956, he wrote the book ‘The Essential Grammar School’ and in 1961, he co-founded the seminal ‘Agreement to Broaden the Curriculum’. In 1963, Rée was invited to become a Professor of Education at York University when it opened. In this position, Role established himself as a leading contributor to national debates about the role of education. He argued for innumerable causes including community education, comprehensives and curriculum reform.
  • Helen Ward - Watford FC Legend
    Helen Ward is an international football striker, currently playing club football for Watford FC Women. A Watford supporter, Helen began her illustrious career with the Hornets, where she became the team’s captain and a prolific goal scorer. Her career has taken her to clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Reading before returning to Watford ahead of the 2017/18 season, serving as club captain ever since. Helen has also spent time on the world stage of football, representing England at Under-23 level and also representing Wales. With 44 goals, she is the Welsh national team’s all-time record goal scorer. On 8 April 2022, Ward played her 100th match for Wales in a 2-1 defeat to France in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. As of the 9 February 2023, Helen Ward has scored 153 goals for Watford FC, netting a landmark 150th goal against Crawley Wasps in December. With the surge of popularity for women’s football following the Euros, we encourage everyone to come and fill Grosvenor Vale to cheer on Watford FC Women.
  • Andrea Clarke MBE - Community Hero
    Andrea Clarke MBE is a highly dedicated and passionate paediatric physiotherapist, who founded the Hertfordshire-based charity ‘Playskill’ in 2006. With her extensive experience in the field, Andrea saw a need for a better way to support children with physical difficulties and their families. Her tieless work has brought her into contact with families who felt isolated and needed support that was just not available to them, but she saw a way to positively impact their lives. In response, Andrea founded Playskill, which provides life-changing services for pre-school children with physical delays & disabilities in Hertfordshire. This includes a weekly group offering tailored expertise from Paediatric Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists; plus respite events for the whole family; essential training and personalised support for parents. Now in its 17th year, the award-winning charity works with more than 50 children each term, impacting far higher numbers with the additional support provided to parents and siblings. In 2018 Andrea was awarded an MBE for her services to children and young people with physical disabilities. Discussing her work, Andrea said: “I am passionate about seeing children reach their full potential. I believe wholeheartedly that early intervention gives the best possible opportunity for children with physical/long term disability to achieve their potential, and that’s with the full family support that we provide; to enable the child’s world to stay safe and enriching. We would like to see a Playskill group in every area, but need passionate therapists and vital funding to be able to take these groups all around the country. This will enable these children to thrive, grown and take their place in the world as able contributors to society.” Playskill relies receives no statutory funding and relies wholly on donations to provides its free service. Find out more at
  • Luther Blissett OBE DL - Watford FC Trailblazer & Community Legend
    Luther Blissett has been a pillar of the community for over 40 years, advocating for various initiatives and selflessly lending his time and support to those in need. He made his Hornets debut in 1976, and became the club’s record goal scorer and leading appearance maker. One of only four men to play in all four divisions for Watford in their meteoric climb from the Fourth Division to the First Division, Luther’s career flourished under coach Tom Walley and the club’s greatest ever manager Graham Taylor, the driving force behind bringing the club and community together. As Watford FC’s international cap, he was the first black player to score a goal for England in 1982. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, he organised and participated in numerous fundraising events, including our Big Bold Community Quiz which raised nearly £200,000. Luther’s efforts have benefited numerous local charities and families, as he has rallied fans to help support Ukrainian refugees, securing housing and donations, such as provide food deliveries, baby products and care packs. He has also personally made thousands of phone calls and visits to football fans in need of support. Luther values inclusiveness for everyone in Watford, on and off the pitch, and is recognised worldwide for his advocacy against racism and discrimination. He is also a driving force behind Watford becoming a dementia friendly town, helping to establish the town’s ‘Forget Me Not’ restaurant and other activities for those with dementia. Luther works to ensure that veterans, the elderly and former Hornets are not forgotten through the creation of the Former Players Club.
  • Oliver 'Oli' Phillips - Iconic Journalist & Historian
    Oliver Phillips, affectionately known as ‘Oli’, had a distinguished career at the Watford Observer where he worked for 40 years, in this time he was an assistant editor and sports editor. He was a respected authority on Watford FC, and even authored a definitive book on the club’s history, titled “The Official History of Watford FC 1881 – 1991”. In his later years at the newspaper, Oli shifted his focus to the local area’s history, writing a popular series of supplements and editing the weekly Nostalgia pages. In 2005, Oli retired to a village in France, but he didn’t stop writing. He continued to pen a regular column for the Watford Observer until 2018. To celebrate his 80th birthday in May 2021, the newspaper wrote an article reflecting on his amazing life. Oli said, “I loved my job and I loved to write. I look back with pride on a few articles which I felt hit the spot with Watford fans.” Photo courtesy of Watford Observer
  • Mr Haji Mohammed Yaqoob - Community Pioneer
    Mr Haji Mohammed Yaqoob has been a pillar of the Muslim community in Watford for the past 60 years and the driving force behind the construction and maintenance of the North Watford and Central Mosques. As Chairman of the Watford Mosque Association, his vision was to make sure the buildings have strong community ties. This has been achieved through charity work, donating food to those in need and, during the pandemic, was used as a vaccine centre. Watford Mosque has also been working closely and supporting the Peace Hospice. They also engage in interfaith activities and opened the mosque for regular school visits. He has been instrumental in working towards community understanding and harmony. In 2003, the Watford Mosque Association was the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for their work to improve the quality of life for local communities.
  • Naughty Boy - GRAMMY Nominated Artist & Dementia UK Ambassador
    Naughty Boy is a GRAMMY-nominated artist born and raised in Watford. With his parents originally being from Pakistan, Naughty Boy ensured that his heritage was an important part of his identity, surrounding himself with Pakistani culture. During his illustrious career that has taken him all over the world, Naughty Boy has never forgotten his hometown and is a familiar face within the community. Most recently, we were honoured to have Naughty Boy as a headline for ‘Watford’s Big Centenary Event’ which saw thousands of Watfordians come together to celebrate. Of this event, he said “I will always be a Watford Boy and I am proud to call Watford my hometown.” He is especially involved in Watford’s mission to become a ‘dementia-friendly’ town. Being a Dementia UK Ambassador, he always uses his large platform to spread the message; raising awareness and ensuring everyone has the support they need.
  • The Unknown Mason - Historic Hero
    The Watford Union workhouse, later to become known as Shrodells, is the building that fronts Vicarage Road. In a courtyard at the back, which was once the exercise yard for the male inmates, approximately 50 of the bricks are etched with a name and a date. It is thought that probably the same inmate (possibly with stonemason training) inscribed the names between 1845 and 1858 and these names are probably the only memorials to these largely forgotten men. There are further significant pictures etched into the bricks alongside the names. One is a train most likely inspired by the coming of the railways to Watford in 1837. There is also a horse, which it is thought could be a depiction of Caractacus. In 1862 Caractacus, a racehorse owned by Mr Charles Snewing of Holywell Farm won the Epsom Derby and there is a report of many of the elder male inmates being invited to the celebration feast held at Holywell Farm. The workhouse bricks are a very unique and significant part not just of Watford’s history, but workhouse and social history in general. No other memorials such as these have been found. West Watford history group has worked tirelessly to both research and try to conserve these vital pieces of Watford’s past for future generations.
  • Kate Jenkins - Community Hero
    Kate set up the not-for-profit Watford Cycle Hub 10 years ago, with the aim of making cycling more accessible for all. Since then, she and the team have trained thousands of kids and absolute beginner adults to ride, have led thousands of guided rides and helped increase people’s confidence on the roads. The hub also refurbishes bikes, organises bike donations to local charities and are part of Cycling Without Age, regularly offering free Trishaw rides to the elderly and the disabled.
  • Linda McIntyre - Community Hero
    Linda joined the local charity, Watford Workshop, as Chief Executive in December 2010. She has had a wide and varied career which has been instrumental in giving her the full complement of experience needed to drive all aspects of an independent charity. She spent her early career in management roles within the NHS with particular focus on Community Care. This gave her a profound understanding of the challenges faced by those in desperate need. Linda got her opportunity to use her passion to help disadvantaged people to good use when she began to volunteer at Watford Workshop, initially to review financial systems and on recognising her talents, was offered the role of CEO. Since joining Watford Workshop, Linda has become a leading voice in several organisations working with Central Government to help them understand, shape and deliver disability employment policy. She is often invited as a Keynote Speaker to Disability events to highlight the vast, untapped talent of adults with disabilities who are so often overlooked in mainstream employment and to try to remove this stigma. Linda McIntyre is proud to lead Watford Workshop in providing employment and training for people with disabilities and giving them a chance when no one else will.
  • KSI - Global Entrepreneur
    KSI began his successful multi-faceted career on YouTube and has now accumulated 20 billion views and 40.8 million subscribers, making him the fourth followed person followed behind Ed Sheeran, One Direction and Adele. He is a businessman with a portfolio of interests from owning his music label ‘The Online Takeover’ and his own boxing promotions company ‘Misfits Boxing’. In June 2022, KSI returned to Watford, with business partner Logan Paul, to launch their new drink range ‘Prime Hydration’ which saw thousands flock to Asda to catch sight of the star. The business is now set to surpass $140 million in revenue its first year. From starting out on YouTube at his parent’s house in Watford, KSI has certainly made his mark and shows no signs of slowing down. From knocking out another challenger in the ring, to taking his businesses to the next level and focussing on his music. There is also an upcoming documentary for Prime Video, produced by Louis Theroux, will lift the lid further on this extraordinary life of the 29-year old from Watford.
  • Bruce Martin - Community Hero
    Bruce Martin, aka PC Martin, originally from Fife Scotland, has lived in Hertfordshire for over 60 years. He joined Hertfordshire Constabulary in 1962 after completing his police training at Eynsham Hall, Witney Oxfordshire in the same year. He worked firstly in Stevenage before being posted to Watford Police station in Shady Lane as a Neighbourhood Officer in West Watford. Later on, he was posted as the local Neighbourhood Officer in North Watford covering the Tudor Estate, Harebreaks and St Albans Road from the Odhams Roundabout to Fishburn Ink next to the Junction. As a Neighbourhood Officer, he lived with his family in the police house on Sandringham Road from 1969 until his retirement in 1992. During his 23 years as Neighbourhood Officer in North Watford, he worked closely with the community. **He served by providing advice and crime prevention ** visiting the local schools such as Parkgate, Knutsford and Cherry Tree. Also the various businesses on his patch along St Albans Road and the two business parks located in the Greycaine and Station Estate.
  • Dame Helen Hyde DBE - Iconic Educator
    Dame Helen was the Head of Watford Grammar School for many years. She has been an External Advisor to School Governors and an Executive Mentor to a number of Head teachers. She continues to advise Headteachers and is a trustee of a MAT. She is a Trustee of the Holocaust Education Trust; the National Holocaust Centre and. She is a Fellow of the Imperial War Museum and was appointed a Holocaust commissioner. She sat on the Educational Advisory Board of the National Holocaust Commission. She organises a large annual Holocaust Conference for 6th Form students and leads many adult educational trips. Helen is Patron Director of the Rwandan Sisterhood supporting African Women and works with survivors of the genocide and deprived women in Kigali and Zimbabwe. She is a patron and trustee of the One Vision Charity and spends a number of days a week working at their HUB organising daily meals for those in need. In 2012, Helen was made Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to national education and Holocaust education and in 2018 she was presented with an Honorary Doctorate for her work in Education.
  • Sharifa Chaudry - Local Pioneer
    Sharifa Chaudry has been a pioneer for Muslim woman and the local community for over 50 years, since arriving in Watford from Pakistan in 1965. In 1976, she became one of the first Muslim women in Watford to pass her driving test. Originally she qualified as a social worker, the first of an ethnic minority in Watford, and supported many families for over 20 years. She also worked as an interpreter and voluntary committee member for several organisations, including the police. As chair of the Multi-Cultural Community Centre, she has been at the heart of the community for decades, improving lives and enabling all communities to live harmoniously. She is one of the founding members of the annual Watford Celebration event. At present she is a Governor for Parkgate School and we doubt you’ll find anyone in Watford who is not aware of her legendary samosas. Councillor Asif Khan said “Mrs Chaudry deeply cares for Watford and its residents. She is certainly one of the 100 people who have made Watford.”
  • Major General Pearkes - Veteran
    Major General Pearkes was born in 1888, where he lived over the draper’s shop run by his family in Watford’s town centre. After emigrating to Canada, he joined the Royal Mounted Police and in 1915, enlisted as a private in the Canadian Mounted Rifles. He came to Europe to fight in WW1 and by 1917; he was leading a Canadian unit in the Battle of Passchendaele. It was here that he was awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest service award for gallantry, for leading attacks on the German lines. He later returned to Europe as a Brigadier in command of a Canadian Infantry Brigade in WW2. He retired from the army in 1945 and went into federal politics. In 1960, Major General Pearkes was made Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. He died in Victoria, British Colombia, in 1984, aged 96, and was buried there with full military honours.
  • Arthur Capell - 1st Baron Capell of Hadham Hall and Cassiobury House
    , Watford, both in Hertfordshire, was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 until 1641 when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Capell of Hadham. He supported the Royalist cause in the Civil War and was executed on the orders of parliament in 1649. The Cassiobury estate and house came into his family in 1628 just a year after his marriage to Elizabeth Morrison. Elizabeth was the daughter and sole heiress of Sir Charles Morrison of Cassiobury. When Sir Charles Morrison died in 1628 his sole heir had been a daughter who a year before her father’s death had married Arthur Capel of Hadham in east Hertfordshire. Capell was M.P for Hertfordshire in Charles I last parliament However, when Charles raised his standard at Nottingham in March 1642, Capel, created Baron Capel a few months before, joined him. It was a decision, which was to cost him his life. Meanwhile, Lord Capel was fighting for the king elsewhere. While he was away, the family’s estates at Hadham and Cassiobury were seized by parliament. Elizabeth Capel and her children found themselves having to seek refuge elsewhere. Though her estates had been handed over to the parliamentary general, the Earl of Essex, Lady Capel fought to regain some of the family’s property, petitioning parliament The following year he was tried for treason and executed, a few months after his king. After his death, Lady Capel managed to keep the estate, arguing that it belonged to her. She continued to live at both Hadham and Cassiobury with her children. In this, she was lucky: in many parts of the country, landowners who had supported the king lost everything. It was her son, Arthur, who was to become the first Earl of Essex of the Capel line; at the time of his father’s execution he was in his teens.
  • Alderman Ralph Alfred Thorpe - Second Freeman of the Borough
    Alderman Ralph Alfred Thorpe gave up farming in Lincolnshire in the 1880s and decided to move to Watford where he established the Wells (Red Lion) Brewery on St. Albans Road. Not only an entrepreneur, Ralph Thorpe was also very civic and community minded, serving as captain with the Watford Fire Brigade, the president or vice—president of numerous societies, organizations and sports associations, Governor of the Watford Grammar Schools and Chairman of the Joint Hospital Board. He was elected as Chairman of Watford District Urban Council six times, serving as Mayor twice for the Borough of Watford. Alderman Thorpe was a strong advocate for the purchase by the Borough of Cassiobury Park, and it is largely thanks to his efforts that we have the beautiful park we have today. He was the second individual to be conferred the honour of Freeman of the Borough. Alderman Thorpe died in 1929.
  • George Bolton - Historic Photographer & Librarian
    George Bolton was appointed Librarian of Watford Library when it was still in its location on Queens Road in May 1920. George had a keen interest in photography. He was a forwarded thinking man using his photography skills to document places and antiquities of Hertfordshire. He also photographed early photographs and documents, which was the only way to accurately reproduce an item before photocopiers and scanners. George documented many of the changes around Watford between 1921-ca. 1939. During WWII, while still Librarian, he worked as controller of 17 Group of the Royal Observer Corps. The ROC was a civil defence organization intended for visually detecting, identifying, tracking and reporting aircraft over Great Britain. For his service with the ROC, George Bolton was awarded an M.B.E. in 1941.
  • Dr. Francis Henry Wilson Iles - Community Hero
    Dr. Francis Henry Wilson Iles (with the dot over his head) was born in Lincolnshire in 1834. He studied medicine at Dublin and Paris. He came to Watford in 1859 and entered into partnership with Dr. Spencer Pidcock. He held many appointments during his career including Surgeon to the West Herts Infirmary, to the Salters’ Almshouses and Hon. Assistant-Surgeon to the 2nd Herts Volunteers, of which he was a member for 24 years. He was also involved in many community organizations including the Masons, Oddfellows, local schools, the library and St. Mary’s church. He is particularly noted for forming a volunteer fire brigade in Watford in 1870, of which he was captain and treasurer. He also served on the Local Board for nearly 21 years and oversaw improvements to Watford’s water and sanitation systems. He died September 19, 1883 after contracting blood poisoning following an operation on a patient. His funeral was attended by 1000s with 600 in the procession alone. He is buried at St. Mary’s churchyard.
  • Tyson Martin - Watford born LGBTQ+ Activist
    Tyson Martin was born in 1970 at Watford General Hospital to Janet and Bruce Martin. He grew up on Sandringham Road, North Watford and attended St Michaels RC school in Garston. His parents’ involvement in their community, including his father’s role in the police, led to him to wanting to give back to his community. Since his teenager years, Tyson has been an activist and a campaigner for equality and inclusion. In 1994, he volunteered as a ‘Buddy’ at The Crescent in St Albans, befriending those living with HIV who had been ostracised by their families and communities. Tyson has worked for over 30 years in the Housing and Social Care services and was the lead organiser in establishing Herts Pride. Herts Pride is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers that supports the LGBTQ+ community nationally and locally. This year they will be celebrating their tenth Pride, which has become the largest LGBTQ+ event in Hertfordshire, at our very own Cassiobury Park. Tyson remarked that this has always been the main driving force to everything he does – ensuring there is equality and inclusion for all.
  • Clive Duffey - LGBTQ+ & Sexual Health Activist
    Clive Duffey, originally from Cheltenham, has lived in Hertfordshire for 30 years. The move was motivated by the freedom Clive felt being so close to the capital. This opened up an opportunity for him to see more of his community and feel safer. Clive worked in hospitality and management for over 25 years, including being a personal assistant at Buckingham Palace tea parties, Royal Ascot and a manager at the Chelsea Flower Show. In 2014, Clive began his new career in sexual health, where he began working for the Terrence Higgins Trust, providing support for those recently diagnosed and living with HIV. Amongst his many roles in Hertfordshire’s LGBTQ+ community, including hosting LGBTQ+ events and being one of the organisers for Herts Pride, he is co-founder of the ground-breaking ‘Ask for Clive’ charity. ‘Ask for Clive’, is an initiative to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion and provide welcome spaces with a zero tolerance towards discrimination. Since their launch, they have worked directly with local communities and venues, and collaborated with law enforcement on training and reporting initiatives. Thanks to ‘Ask for Clive,’ over 2,000 venues in the UK now have the ‘Ask for Clive’ sticker which lets people know everyone is welcome and discrimination will not be tolerated. You can find a list of inclusive businesses in Watford at
  • Arthur Trewin - Legendary Businessman
    Arthur Trewin, a young Cornishman, purchased a small draper’s shop in Queens Road Watford in 1880. By 1885, it was trading as ‘A. Trewin and Co., Family Drapers’. They carried a stock of household linens, dress pieces, mantles, furs, hosiery and trimmings for adults and children. In 1887, the shop relocated to the newly built Osborne House. Around 1900, Arthur was joined by his brother Henry in the business, and the company became known as Trewin Brothers. The store occupied a prominent location on Queens Road, and was known for its extravagant displays and exhibitions. The business was sold in 1918 to Gordon Selfridge but continued to trade as Trewin Brothers. In the 1940s, it was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership, and in 1963 it was decided to expand the shop which doubled its size. Seeking to expand the store further, Trewins agreed to participate in the redevelopment of Queens Road area into what was to become known as the Harlequin Centre (now Atria). In 1990, Trewins Partners were the first to move into their new home. In 2001, Trewins changed its name to John Lewis Watford. The Trewins are remembered for their business contribution to Watford.
  • Joy Batchelor - Iconic Illustrator and Animator
    Joy Batchelor was born in Watford, England, in 1914. As an illustrator and animator, she was an incredible trailblazer. In 1937, she began work with John Halas. Their early film work in Budapest was cut short by the start of WW2. It was difficult to find work back in England and they established the Halas and Batchelor cartoon films to be able to take on animated film ads for adverts, including Kellogg’s Train Trouble and Lux soap Carnival in the Clothes Cupboard. That same year 1940, they were married. They both believed that animation was an art form and that they could make a difference through their work. Joy wrote and co-wrote many education and entertainment films, adverts and scripts. These included the first Charley films made for the COI in 1946 to introduce social security and the classic Animal Farm in 1954. Her feature film, Ruddigore in 1964, was the first animated operetta. Even after her retirement she continued to teach at the London International Film School, where she remained a governor until her death in 1991.
  • Councillor, Alderman William Bickerton J.P, Mayor - A man who won the town's affection
    Councillor, Alderman William Bickerton J.P, Mayor 1931-1932. During this period was instrumental in leading a campaign to save the Bedford Almshouses. He had an interest in birds. He was one of the pioneers of bird photography and, for many years, the recorder of birds to the Hertfordshire Natural History Society as well as its Vice-President. He wrote articles and photographs on natural history to books and periodicals, gave lantern slide shows when these were still rather a novelty, and was author of books. He left a collection of scrapbooks to the borough.
  • Robert Clutterbuck - Historian
    Robert Clutterbuck was born in Watford, 1772 and was son of Thomas Clutterbuck. Robert’s name is most associated with his History and Antiquities of the County of Hertford which he worked on for over 18 years. He published the first volume in 1815 and followed this with two more volumes in 1821 and 1827. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a local magistrate and trustee to several charities, his description of Watford appeared in his first volume; despite his association with the town, he did not give it any particular prominence. Robert Clutterbuck, was also churchwarden at St Mary’s for 30 years, and described the walls in 1815 as “constructed of flints and stones loosely cemented together and covered with a coat of plaster” He became owner of Watford House on the death of his father and remained there until his own death in 1831. He also published, in 1828, an Account of the Benefactions to the Parish of Watford in the County of Hertford, compiled from Authentic Documents.
  • Martha Ellis - Local Entrepreneur
    In 1755, Martha Ellis (née Bird) widow, the only daughter of Margaret Bird, inherited her mother’s house in Watford. The following year she bought four adjoining cottages in the lower end of Watford for £200.These cottages had a malthouse, two barns and outhouses in the yard; and it is though that Martha Ellis may have brewed there. Just before her death in 1773, Martha negotiated for and bought two more cottages for £200. In her Will, she left her house, the newly purchased cottages and her “brewing utensils, casks, bottles, and liquors” to her daughter Ann, wife of Edmund Dawson. They had the house and the adjoining cottages pulled down and built a substation red brick double fronted house at a cost of £1,500.
  • Sam Alexander Peacock - Founder of the Watford Observer
    Samuel Alexander Peacock was the son of John Peacock who had started a small print and book binding establishment in the High Street. Samuel was apprenticed to the trade. In the 1850’s he and his wife, Maria, took their young family to America where they settled in the New York area. It is believed that his father’s death, in the early 1860’s, was the reason for his return to Watford, presumably to continue the business. By January 1863 he was sufficiently established to begin publication of a local newspaper. This was the Watford Observer which was printed a single page at a time on a hand-press. Samuel died in December 1880 and, despite ill health, had been involved with the business until a few days before his death. Publication of the paper passed into the hands of his wife, Maria.
  • Edward Mitchell Chater - Iconic Educator
    Edward Mitchell Chater was the son of Jonathan Chater, a chemist and druggist, who established a chemist’s shop in the High Street. On his death in 1873, his sons Edward and Matthew took over this well-established business. Edward became secretary of the British School (a non-conformist school in Beechen Grove). Later he elected to the school board and held the post of chairman for a while. He was instrumental in bringing non-conformist schools into the Watford Board. Chater Junior and Infant schools were named after him in recognition of his work in elementary education in Watford. Photo is Chater school
  • Francis Fisher - Local Butcher
    Francis Fisher was a local butcher. He had previously had a business in Kings Langley. In 1877 he purchased the butchers business of George Stone and continued the business. In 1888, he purchased the Rose & Crown field from Merton College, for development and demolished his butcher’s shop, which made it possible for Market Street to be constructed. He built his new shop on the corner of New Street. He retired in 1903, leaving the business in the hands of one of his sons. He was a member of the Urban District Council for eight years and Chairman from 1901/2 to 1902/3. He was made Justice of the Peace in 1906 and attended the sittings of the Bench quite regularly. He died in 1917.
  • Bob Nunn - Local Watford Photographer
    Bob Nunn is best known for his books about Watford through which he combined his own and historic photographs, to tell the history and heritage of our town. He was born in North Watford, the eldest of a large family. His first job was at John Dickinson at Aspley Mills. He got, as he described it ‘the photographic bug’ at an early age and began his professional career in the early 1950’s. He later became involved in the printing trade with his firm Page Print. He was a member of Watford Camera Club and was their president in 1963. He received an Audentior Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Watford for his work on local history in 2004. Bob Nunn passed away in November 2005.
  • Mary Ann Sedgwick - Brewery Manager & Maltster of MA Sedgwick & Co
    Mary Ann Sedgwick was a brewery manager and maltster of M A Sedgwick & Co. In 1837, Mary married William Fellows Sedgwick a surveyor, auctioneer and estate agent. The couple had seven sons and five daughters together. In 1862, William Fellows leased out the Watford Brewery or Sedgwick’s Brewery. When William died in 1869 at the age of 58, he left the auctioneer, surveyor and Estate Agency business to their eldest son Alfred. The brewery, however, was left to his wife Mary and their son Frederick James. They eventually bought the brewery and traded under the name of ‘Mrs. Mary Ann Sedgwick and Co’. When Frederick James died Mary Ann then became the sole owner of the Brewery however when she passed away in 1897.
  • Abbot of St Albans - Granted Watford Market Charter
    We are not certain which of the Abbots of St Albans granted a market to Watford in the 12th century, but we do know that its establishment was important in the development of Watford. The early parts of Watford was established on a small hill to the north side of the river crossing.Here a church was built and a market established.Before this time, ‘Watford’ seems to have meant only the river crossing.However, from the 12th century it is referred to the parish, the market and the town. The market, also believed to date to the 12th century, was granted to Watford by the lord of the manor, the Abbot of St Alban’s.The market charter gave the Abbot a way of raising revenue from market tolls and from transactions, which took place in the market.The market may have been started in the churchyard before being moved to a position where the road was widened to accommodate it. The original market charter has not survived and its existence has been deduced from later references. .
  • King of Mercia - Established ’Caegesho’ (Cassio)
    In 793, Offa, King of Mercia, established a monastery at St Albans and granted to it, large areas of land for its maintenance. This included an area known as ’Caegesho’ (Cassio) and from later evidence it seems likely that Cassio included what we now know as the town of Watford. Offa, the son of Thingfrith, came to the throne during a period of civil war following the assassination of King Æthelbald of Mercia. Beornred was briefly made king but was defeated by Offa. Offa took the throne and reigned from 757 – 796 during which time he constructed a dyke, which bears his name, to act as a defence against the Welsh. Offa of Mercia died in 796 and is thought to be buried in Bedford. He was succeeded by his son Ecgfrith of Mercia.
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner - Landscape Painter
    Joseph Mallord William Turner, known as J. M. W. Turner was born in 1775 and died in1851. He is celebrated as one of the greatest landscape painters in history. During his career, Turner was commissioned by George Capel Coningsbury the fifth Earl of Essex and visited Cassiobury on two occasions. Watford Museum is fortunate to have a painting he produced on his first visit on display. This watercolour painting is called View of South West Front of Cassiobury House c.1804 – 1807. It shows Cassiobury House after James Wyatt is rebuilding in the gothic style. You can see the Great Dining Room, West Porch and the Kitchen beyond. Another painting thought to feature a Harvest meal at Cassio bury Park is at the Tate. This unfinished work is significant as it is thought to include the Earl’s butler George Edward Doney. He is thought to be the smartly dressed black man standing on the left of the composition it has been suggested that the work may have been commissioned by the Earl as a memorial to his much-loved servant, who had recently died.
  • Margaret and Annie Johnson - First Female Watford Constables
    On 7th December 1928, Margaret and Annie Johnson became Watford constabulary's first two female Constables. The sisters were posted to King Street Police station. They received their uniforms 7 months later. The directions for women police officers at the time included the following. It was said she had to be unmarried or a widow.She was not under 22 or over 35. She could not be shorter than 5’4’’. With thanks to HALS for the use of this photo.
  • Councillor Thomas Rigby Taylor - Mayor of Watford
    Councillor Thomas Rigby Taylor was born 1889 in Flamstead. After serving in WWI, he joined his Uncle at Elliots in St Albans and came to Watford in 1920 to manage the Watford store, later becoming its director. He became a councillor in 1932 and was elected Mayor 1937-1938. Councillor Thomas Rigby Taylor laid the foundation stone of the Town Hall. He is also connected with Watford FC. He died in 1970, aged 80.
  • Dr Tibbles - Creator of “Dr Tibble’s Vi-Cocoa”
    Dr Tibbles was born in Leicestershire into a family of frame knitters. He was an Eclectic Botanic Practitioner who created a fortified, powdered, hot chocolate drink, which became known as “Dr Tibble’s Vi-Cocoa”. Later a company was formed to manufacture Vi-Cocoa on a larger scale, but it is not thought that Dr Tibbles played any part in this new business. This new company relocated to North Watford in 1899 and became a major employer in the town with large range of products. Their factory complex was known as Delectaland and the company later became part of Lever Brothers.
  • James Wyatt - Gothic Revival Architect
    James Wyatt was an architect who is most remembered for his Gothic revival work. He was a rival to Robert Adam in the neoclassical and neo Gothic styles. Wyatt was commissioned by the 5th Earl of Essex to remodel Cassiobury House in the 1800s. Among his other famous commissions was the Pantheon on Oxford Street, London, which was built in 1772. Wyatt was elected to the Royal Academy in 1785 and was its president from 1805 to 1806. He died in a carriage accident in 1813 as the result of a carriage accident.
  • Alice Mary Schreiber - Local Philanthropist
    Mrs Alice Mary Schreiber was the daughter of a French Huguenot, whose family had been in England for 100 years. She served on the Board of Guardians from c1889 to 1913. She was a benefactor of St Michael’s & All Angels church and of the Watford and District Peace Memorial Hospital, which was opened in 1925 by Princess Mary. Mrs Alice Mary Schreiber died in 1944.
  • Dr Alfred Thomas Brett - Watford Coat of Arms
    Dr Alfred Thomas Brett (1828 – 1896) performed many medical roles within the town. He was medical officer to the Poor Law Guardians, and Medical Officer of Health for Watford. He was a tireless advocate for improvements to all aspects of people’s health. Dr Brett was Surgeon Major to the Watford Volunteers for 32 years. He was Chairman of the Public Library Committee. He also secured an endowment from the Platt charity for Watford’s Endowed Schools. Before Watford’s charter, Dr Brett was instrumental in the design of the first coat of arms of Watford and the adoption of the motto, ‘Audentitor’.
  • Bridget Morison - Heritage Property Trailblazer
    Bridget Morison the Bedford Almshouses in 1580. These Grade II listed houses were built for 8 poor women to be chosen from the local area, and are still almshouses to this day and Watford's oldest domestic building. Born Bridget Hussey in 1528, she was the daughter of John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford. She married Sir Richard Morison of Cassiobury and after his death she married again to Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland in 1561. In 1566, Bridget was married for a third time to Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford. Bridget was involved in running of the estate o Cassiobury until her death in 1601, and also commissioned to build the north chancel chapel known as Essex Chapel, or the Morison Chapel, of St. Mary’s Watford.
  • Reverend Newton Price - Iconic Educationalist and Religious Leader
    The Reverend Newton Price influenced both religion and education and was a campaigner for education reforms. As an educationalist, the Reverend Price championed the teaching of cooking in elementary schools. He introduced the teaching of cookery to girls into Watford Heath School, one of the first places to do so and pushed for school meals for a penny for each student. He was the first Reverend of St Matthews church, which was formed in 1879, and helped with the designation of the church. In 1887, he gave evidence before the Royal Commission on Education, chaired by the Viscount Cross, who, as Richard Cross, had been responsible for one of the earlier Education Acts.
  • Joseph Benskin - Cannon Brewery
    Along with his business partner, W G Bradley, Joseph Benskin purchased the Cannon Brewery (originally owned by John Dyson III) in the late 1860s. This sale was at auction. The partnership was dissolved in 1870 and Joseph ran and expanded the business with his son John. Joseph died in 1877. He was said to be one of the last gentlemen to still wear leather Wellington boots on all occasions. On his death, the business passed to his widow Maria.
  • Enid Saunders - Iconic member of Watford's Windrush Generation
    Enid arrived in Glasgow on 31st July 1962, where she took training in general nursing. In 1967 she moved to Edinburgh where she trained in midwifery and psychiatric nursing. Enid has three children and is the heart of a loving family. They relocated to Watford in 1978. Enid is a proud Community Leader and works tirelessly with local groups to distribute essential items to support vulnerable families. She has always been interested in volunteering in the community and has spent much time developing support groups for a wide variety of ages . She formed 'Caring Sharing Friends’. Enid is now a proud Dementia Friend and is working to support local families living with the condition.
  • Moses Cook - Inspirational Gardener
    Moses Cook was an inspirational head gardener to Arthur Capel, the 1st Earl of Essex, in the mid-17th century. He laid out the celebrated Forest Garden in Cassiobury Park before helping to found Brompton Park Gardens in 1681. He also was the author of The Manner of Raising, Ordering, and Improving Forest and Fruit-Trees: Also, How to Plant, Make and Keep Woods, Walks, Avenues, Lawns, Hedges, etc., first published in London, England in 1676. Cook advocated sowing seeds only from the best specimens and it was reported that he even successful grew elms and sallows from seeds, something that was unheard of the time. He recommended using limes, elms and beech and was also famed for his use of cherry tree. Cook’s use of mathematical, formal and geometric planting even won him the praise of John Evelyn in his diary.
  • Mary Pownall Bromet - Trailblazing Sculptor
    Mary Pownall Bromet was among one of the leading British Sculptors in the early Twentieth Century. Rodin, under whom she studied in Paris, influenced her work. Mary was born in Lancashire and married Alfred Bromet in 1902. Until her death in 1937, Mary lived and worked at their house, Lime Lodge in Oxhey, Watford. She produced many works but in Watford she is best known for the “Spirit of War” statues, unveiled outside the Peace Memorial Hospital in 1928; they are now located between the Town Hall and Library. In her autobiography she said that the design came to her “as in a vision” whilst attending a memorial service. She had a wide circle of friends in the district and for some years she was president of the Society of Women Artists.
  • Jimmy Perry - Television & Theatre Icon
    Jimmy Perry was born on 20th September, 1923. Perry was just 16 when he joined the Home Guard in Watford. He went on to use his experiences to co-create the television series, Dad's Army. Indeed much of his writing throughout his career was based on his varied work experience, including a spell as a Butlin’s redcoat. His 25-year writing partnership with David Croft also produced It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi and You Rang M'Lord? We also remember Jimmy for his important role in the development of the Watford Palace Theatre. For many years, Perry ran the Palace Theatre at Watford as part of a small repertory company that produced a different show each week.
  • Terry Scott - Actor and Veteran
    Terry Scott trained as an accountant and served in the Navy during World War II. His acting career spanned more than 30 years. He worked in film, television and theatre. He starred in the Carry-on films, Terry and June and even Dangermouse! He was chosen to open Watford Museum in 1981. Terry Scott died on on the 26th July 1994.
  • Councillor Amelia Florence Broad - Watford’s first woman Mayor
    Councillor Amelia Florence Broad was Watford’s first woman mayor. In 1922, Amelia and a Mrs Cox had been elected to the local council and were its first female members. Amelia has been identified with the National Council of Women and she held strong opinions when it came to the value of women’s co-operation in local politics. Sadly, she suffered a serious illness and was only in office for a period of six months before she passed away in 1930. Although her term of office was too short, she undoubtedly paved the way for the greater political and social representation of women. She was seen to be loved by the town’s people as at her funeral in April 1930, a vast crowd went to pay their respects to her.
  • The Buxton Brothers - Boxing Dynasty
    The Buxton brothers were part of one of the most famous families in Watford in the 1940s and 50s. Often known as ‘The Battling Buxtons’, brothers Alex, Allan, Laurie and Joe were successful boxers and along with their sister Doris were the children of the first Black family in Watford. On one memorable occasion, the four brothers appeared on the same bill at matches at the Town Hall. And they all won! Alex Buxton was the most successful of the four brothers at boxing, becoming British Light Heavyweight Champion. In addition, they were incredibly popular members of the community with distinguished military service.
  • Kenneth Appel - Kindertransport Refugee
    Watford resident, Kenneth Appel was born in Germany into a Jewish family. Sadly his happy childhood was shattered by the rise of the Nazis, and resulting persecution. Of his school friends, only Kenneth survived the Holocaust, due to his escape from Germany on the Kindertransport. Ken has been helping the Watford Museum and Watford Council by sharing his memories of living under the brutal Nazi regime and the terrible losses of his family and community. Thanks to the Kindertransport, Ken was able to escape and go on to live a wonderful life in Watford with his family, devoting his career and retirement to supporting the NHS.
  • Anne Swanson - Vicarage Road Legend
    Vicarage Road has provided many legends over the years, but none made quite the contribution that Ann Swanson has to Watford Football Club and the town, which has been celebrated by a special announcement on 12 Febaury 2022. She was recruited to manage the Family Enclosure and Junior Hornets as part of Graham Taylor and Elton John’s ambitions to make Watford “The Family Stand”. In honour of Anne's phenomenal contribution, "The Family Stand" will now be known as "The Anne Swanson Family Stand". “She still doesn’t really fully appreciates what she did for us kids and how important it was to us. Enabling us to experience live football safely at a time when other clubs were haemorrhaging families what with violence and ramshackle facilities, basically a lack of care. Not only Watford, I think she’s an important figure for football in England. Every single club in the country followed our lead in the end”
  • Adekite Fatuga-Dada - Watford FC Women's Club Legend
    Adekite was born in 1996. She is the longest server player in the Watford FC women’s club. She joined Watford when she was just 12 years old in 2008. She had a successful stint at Gunners’ Under-17s side before returning to the Hornets in 2015. Adekite is a great ambassador for and inspiration to our local community. For this commitment, she was awarded Watford FC PFA Community champion
  • George Edward Doney - Civil Rights Trailblazer
    George Edward Doney was born in Gambia, West Africa and was sold into slavery c.1758. He started work for the Earl of Essex aged about eight and worked for the Essex family for 44 years. Although we do not know who freed Doney, it is likely that the Capel family freed him and he was a respected and high ranking member of the household. George Edward Doney made an incredible mark on history, as one of the first people of colour to live in Watford and inspiring the Earl of Essex to campaign against slavery.
  • Robert Stephenson - Legendary Engineer
    Robert Stephenson was a civil engineer and designed locomotives, bridges, and railways and has been called the greatest engineer of the 19th Century. He was involved with a number of railway projects. His first major commission was the London to Birmingham railway, a route that was to transform our town. Bushey Arches was engineered by Stephenson and it was built between 1834 and 1837. Bushey arches are now Grade II listed.
  • Jack and Edwin Cother - Trailblazing Professional Footballers
    Jack and Eddie Cother were raised in the slums of Ballard’s Buildings, Watford in the late 19th century. Two things set them apart, they were both excellent footballers and their father had been born in India. They went on to become the first professional footballers of Indian heritage in the world. Indeed Jack was the second ever professional footballer of colour after Arthur Wharton. Jack played 123 games for Watford between 1898 and 1905, a Watford record at the time. The brothers both fought in World War One. Jack died in 1946 and is buried in Vicarage Road Cemetery. Edwin died in St Albans in 1961. The Cother brothers have recently been remembered and celebrated by Watford football club. Watford Museum was also proud to include them in their recent Trailblazers exhibition, created by the Watford FC Academy.
  • Margaret Maughan - Paralympic Gold Medallist
    Margaret Maughan was a British competitive archer and bowls competitor. She was Britain's first gold medallist at the Paralympic Games and won four gold and two silver medals at the Games. She lit the cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Paralympics held at the Olympic Stadium in London. She died on 20 May 2020.Margaret was much loved and respected within the Watford community and as a local teacher.
  • Claude Buxton - 'The Battling Buxtons'
    In 1920, aged 22, Claude Buxton left Antigua and travelled through Europe to England. He served as an ambulance driver in France during WW1. Claude settled in Watford where he married Edith, a local girl from Bushey. Together they had four sons and a daughter, becoming the first black family in Watford. The four boys, Allan, Laurie, Alex, and Joe, also known as ‘The Battling Buxtons’, grew up to take the boxing world by storm.
  • Kathleen Freeman OBE - Humanitarian
    In 1939, Mrs. Kathleen Freeman gave up her home for refugee children from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Initially the children, who were primarily from mixed Jewish parentage, lived at “Welcome House” near to Watford Junction Station. Its inhabitants soon became known as the “Welcome Family”. Because the house was near an important railway station, it was at risk of possible bomb damage in the event of war. Therefore, Mrs. Freeman moved the children to her own home, Nascot Wood House in Hempstead Road, where the “Welcome Family” of around 12 children were safely accommodated until the end of the war. In 1964, Mrs. Freeman was awarded an OBE for her 'outstanding services and untiring devotion to the cause of the worlds' children'.
  • Elizabeth Fuller - Iconic Educator
    Mrs Elizabeth Fuller is best known for establishing the Free School which was built on her own land next to the Churchyard. The school opened in 1704 for the teaching of 40 boys and 14 girls "in good literature and manners". She endowed the school with £52 a year. By the 1880’s the school had moved to new premises, a change that lead to the creation of both Girls and Boys Grammar Schools. The original Free School still stands and is a Grade II* listed building.
  • Graham Taylor OBE - Watford Legend
    Graham Taylor, a name synonymous with passion, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to Watford Football Club, left an indelible mark on the team's history and its transformation into a cherished "family club." Born on September 15, 1944, Taylor's journey in football management was defined by his remarkable tenure at Watford, where he not only led the team to unprecedented heights but also nurtured a sense of community and togetherness that remains a hallmark of the club to this day. Appointed as manager of Watford in 1977, Taylor's influence quickly became evident. His vision went beyond the conventional dimensions of football success; he aimed to create a close-knit, welcoming environment that embraced players, staff, and supporters as part of an extended family. This ethos set the foundation for what Watford would eventually become – a club that prided itself on camaraderie, inclusivity, and shared experiences. Under Taylor's astute guidance, Watford experienced a meteoric rise through the leagues, culminating in a historic promotion to the English top flight in the late 1970s. Despite the challenges that came with competing against stronger opponents, Taylor's dedication to unity and a strong team spirit kept Watford's flame burning brightly. The club's progress on the pitch mirrored its success off it, as Taylor's focus on nurturing young talents and building a harmonious squad further solidified the sense of a close footballing family. Taylor's approach was defined by a unique blend of professionalism and approachability. His open-door policy and willingness to engage with fans forged a special bond between the club and its supporters. Every victory was celebrated together, every defeat endured collectively. This sense of shared triumphs and tribulations turned Vicarage Road into more than just a stadium; it became a home where all were welcome and valued. The concept of Watford as a family club reached its zenith during Taylor's second spell at the helm in the 1990s. Despite his stint as England manager, his return to Watford was a testament to his enduring connection with the club. He continued to foster a culture of inclusivity and belonging, reinforcing the idea that everyone involved, from the players to the fans, was a vital member of the Watford family. Graham Taylor's legacy at Watford FC transcends his achievements on the pitch. His legacy is a testament to the power of a united community, where a shared love for the sport and the club brings people together as a family. His impact resonates in the continued emphasis on community engagement, fan interaction, and youth development that remains integral to Watford's identity. As the years go by, his influence continues to guide the club's actions, reminding all who are a part of it that they are part of something more significant – they are part of the Watford family.
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