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When buying your own home cost £520
Edna MacKenzie has sent in this picture of Chater Junior School from 1933/34.
She said: “Only a few names are known but your readers may well remember Miss Jump and Miss Gardner as they were at the school for many years.
“The only name known to me is Joyce Nicholas, who is third left in the front row. She cannot remember the reason for the cup held by her neighbour, but perhaps a reader can?”
Graham Chambers has written into Nostalgia to try to find an old friend he lost contact with in the 1980s.
He said: “Her name is Barbara Terry and she used to live with her parents in Sydney Road, West Watford.
“It was through her that I met my first wife who unfortunately passed away in the late 1990s.
“I had tried to find her through the usual methods, including Friends Reunited, local friends and family, but have had no luck.
“I would like to renew the old friendship and keep in contact with her as to whether she had married, had a family of her own, and to catch up on old times.
“Please could you help out. We moved away from Watford after marrying in 1973 and started life anew in Northants – first Kettering and later Rushden. Thanks in anticipation.”
Tony Atkins from Hunstanton in Norfolk has written in about some pictures sent in last month by Diana Whitney, of north Watford.
He said: “I moved from Watford in 2002, having been born there, at Stanborough Park Hydro, in 1938.
“I went to Kingswood Infant School in Briar Road. Miss Pooley was one of my teachers, and Miss Fowler and Mr Burden.
“Then I went to Leggatts Way Boys School. Mr Mitchel taught me, as well as Mr Rolfe, Mr Casbon, and Mr Ritchie. Mr Bainbridge was headmaster.
“I lived at 75 Fern Way, Kingswood estate, 22 Copsewood Road, north Watford, and 53 Norfolk Avenue, Watford, before moving to Norfolk.
“I remember so much of the times spent in the 1940s to 1990s.
“The photo showing Barclays Bank was indeed opposite Leavesden Road. To the right of the bank is a public house that was called the Queens pub, owned by Benskins Brewery.
“The lorry coming down towards Leavesden Road has just travelled over the bridge spanning the railway lines to Watford Junction.
“Opposite the pub was the “flea pit”, a cinema called The Plaza. During the shows the manager would come round spraying some sort of potion from a Flit Fly spray gun.
“From time to time also during a film, small pieces of plaster would fall from the ceiling sometimes hitting you, but it was only 3d and 6d to get a seat, and if you were brave enough you could get in free via the fire escapes.
“Where Barclays Bank is, that was demolished, as was the pub and the row of houses further on to the left (which is now Homebase).
“Behind all of these buildings a Mr Fishburn from America opened his factory, called Fishburns Printing Ink, in the 1940s.
“These inks were delivered all over the UK, to places like Mars Bar company, Smiths Crisps and the Metal Box Company.
“Each Christmas Mr Fishburn would give his workers at the factory tin boxes full of assorted nuts, as a special treat, and as a boy I truly looked forward to my dad bringing them home to share with us.
“Just up from Leavesden Road, on the left hand side, just before Copsewood Road, the building which is still there was used for buses, maintenance and servicing.
“Across St Albans Road at the bottom of Leavesden Road was a police station which kept check of most drinkers from the Queens pub, and any skulduggery in north Watford.
“In Copsewood Road was the Railway Mission Hall which has now long gone, and just as a taster our house at 22 Copsewood Road, cost my dad £520 in 1951.
“If anyone remembers the Rushden Avenue gang versus us lot from the Kingswood estate, on a Saturday morning pictures trip to north Watford Odeon, I would love to hear from you.
“I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who remembers me and would like to contact me, would do so via your column, for old times’ sake.”
John Baldwin, who now lives in Lincolnshire, has also written in about the pictures.
He said: “With regard to the pictures by Diana Whitney, the one going up to the railway bridge I remember well.
“My great aunt Alice lived in one of the railway cottages in the left. This was taken in the early 1950s – the street lights give it away.
“The picture from Cromer Road to Balmoral Road was before the Harebreaks estate office was built, so late 1910s to 1920s.
“The shop with all the bits outside was Arthur’s Stores – a hardware shop which sold everything from paraffin to dog biscuits and lino.
“It was there until 1953 when my boss bought it and ran his electrical business there up until 1968/69. Then it was let to a hairdresser which, I believe, is still there.
“The tall vent pipe on the corner was there until the early 1960s when it was knocked down or fell down, not to be replaced.
“The shop on the corner of Balmoral Road was a sweet shop (Mason’s) just right for the kids from Alexandra School. It was pulled down to widen the road.
“The third picture is way before my time in St Albans Road, even before motor cars. Some of the property may still be there, the road is still just rolled gravel. The horse and cart looks a bit special.
“These pictures bring to mind the bridle path which ran from St Albans Road by the bridge to the station. A great place to watch trains where I spent many hours in the 1940s and early 1950s collecting loco numbers before going home to lunch, then back in the afternoons.
“I’ve still got my number books today. Great memories. The sight and sound of the express trains thundering through the station live forever in my memory.
“Yes. Post-war Watford was great.”
This Nostalgia column was first published in the Watford Observer on March 22, 2013. The next Nostalgia column – with a request for information about Kenneth Clark and ventriloquist Michael Skinner plus Roy Reeves on the US Army's days in Bushey – can be found in tomorrow’s Watford Observer (dated March 29, 2013) or read online here from 4pm next Thursday.
If you have anything to add – or would like to tell us anything you think our readers may enjoy about Watford’s history – we are always pleased to hear from you. Contact Nostalgia, by clicking here firstname.lastname@example.org
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