Such a scene seems unthinkable now but this picture of troops on horseback was taken outside a Watford pub that hosted some impressive-sounding events in the period this photo was captured.

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 Spread Eagle.

The museum's volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "In Watford, one of the prime sites for a pub was the Market Place – at one time there were seven places selling alcoholic beverages in this area. The Spread Eagle was one of these and was in the block of buildings between the churchyard and New Street.

Watford Observer:

Market Place c1929. The Spread Eagle is in the centre

"It was established around 1750 and seems to have been a popular as a Thrift club held meetings here in the early days.

"The usual kinds of events occurred here - many societies held dinners, presumably in rooms above the bar. Some, however, seem rather spectacular.

Watford Observer:

The pub in 1958. Picture: Bob Nunn Collection

"An advert in the Watford Observer for May 1885 stated that 'An Entertainment of Gymnastics, Fencing, Boxing, Singlesticks and Sword Feats' would take place at the pub on Whit-Monday, performed by Staff Sergeant-Major Foley and his Club. Admission was free.

"Sadly the pub closed in 1958 and the site redeveloped."

Watford Observer:

Where the Spread Eagle was located in High Street. Picture: Google

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.