The Watford Observer is again delighted to be teaming up with its friends at Watford Museum to take another journey back to the past to recall the key events and dates that helped shape the town’s future.

Part 43 of '50 events and dates that shaped Watford' looks back to a time to the start of a movement in shops that was to continue until relatively recently - early closing.

The museum's volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "In the mid 1800s, an Early Closing Movement slowly took hold. Its aim was to persuade shopkeepers to give staff a half day off so they had a free evening for leisure activities; some shop hours went well into the evenings.

Watford Observer:

The early closing notice published in the Watford Observer in June 1869

"This began in a small way in Watford. In 1869, 11 businesses stated in the Watford Observer that they had decided to 'close our establishments at 5 o'clock every Wednesday' but just for the summer months.

Watford Observer:

A new building was erected for BHS on the site of Kinghams in 1961. Picture: Google

"One of the chief signatories was the grocer Henry Kingham, whose shop was where BHS had been until quite recently.

Watford Observer:

How the site looked in August 2021. Picture: Google

"Elizabeth Kingham had begun a groceries trade on this site around 1790 with the business transferred to her son, Henry, in 1835. Henry purchased the freehold in 1851. The company was well known in the town and staying at this location until the business was sold around 1959."

Watford Museum is open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.