On Thursday, the sparks from an engine attached to a train on its way from Rickmansworth to Watford set fire to the herbage on the bank as it passed through Mr Snewing’s farm.

The fire extended to his field adjoining, and before it could be subdued the entire herbage of more than eight acres was entirely burnt.

[From the Watford Observer of July 30, 1881]

For more stories from the Watford Observer’s archive, go to our Nostalgia section by clicking HERE