Many readers will recognise this Watford High Street venue, whether it was as a 1980's wine bar or in its previous life as one of the town's oldest pubs.

The Watford Observer has again teamed up with Watford Museum and is delighted to showcase some pictures from its archive – this week we remember The Swan that became Shades.

The museum's volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "The Swan is said to have been one of the oldest pubs on Watford’s High Street, records suggest that it may have been in existence in the 17th century. Alterations were made in 1895 and this image (below) dates to around 1930 when Albert Boddy was landlord.

Watford Observer:

The Swan c1930

"At that time, the pub was owned by Benskins and around 1957, they demolished the old pub, along with several buildings to its left, and built a larger modern pub set back from the road.

Watford Observer:

The enlarged pub after it was rebuilt

"In the 1980s the pub became Shades wine bar and when it closed in the mid 1990s, had become The Wag & Bone. It was replaced by a car showroom.

Watford Observer:

Shades wine bar

"Today, the name still exists as Swan Alley, but this footpath leads under where the old pub was. The original Swan Alley can be seen in the 1930’s image to the left of the pub."

Watford Observer:

The red dot shows the location of The Swan in this 1948 map

Watford Museum is open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. No booking is necessary but Covid prevention measures are still in place to keep visitors safe.