Watford has a rich brewing history but many pubs in the town have long since closed their doors to customers for the final time.

The Watford Observer has featured plenty of these venues during the past three years as part of our weekly dip into the archives of our friends at Watford Museum.

From The Anchor to The Fox, we began an A to Z look back at these pubs earlier this week when we featured ten of them.

Today we move on to the next batch of 10 in alphabetical order, from G – starting with The George Inn – to O – The Old Berkeley Hunt.

The pictures are accompanied by the original captions kindly supplied by the museum’s volunteer archivist Christine Orchard.

Watford Observer: The George Inn c1905The George Inn c1905 (Image: Watford Museum)

The George Inn

Christine said: “The George Inn stood in High Street where Marks & Spencer is today. It is thought that there was a posting inn on this site at the time of the Civil War.

"In the stable yard there was a large building with a wooden balcony along the front and it was said that ‘soldiers were billeted there during the Great Rebellion’.

“In 1894, a wooden building with a kind of gallery was photographed by A Whitford Anderson. Sadly, the building was pulled down in June 1897, so it’s not easy to prove if the story about the soldiers is correct.

Watford Observer: Marks & Spencer opened on the site of The George InnMarks & Spencer opened on the site of The George Inn (Image: Watford Museum)

“Whether the story is true or not, the George Inn was an important building in the town as many auctions (and a few inquests) were held there, presumable in an assembly room rather than the bar!

“The pub finally closed in March 1936 and was demolished along with some adjacent buildings to make way for a new M&S store.”



Watford Observer: The Green Man in January 1975, shortly before it closedThe Green Man in January 1975, shortly before it closed (Image: Watford Museum)

The Green Man

Christine said: “The Green Man was established around 1730. Daniel Podmore had the pub from around 1881 (his name is on the sign above the door) and the licence was transferred to Mrs Hannah Podmore in 1892.

“Like a number of pubs around the town, the Green Man wasn't just a place that served ale. The sign over the arch reads ‘Horses & Traps To Let or Hire, Good Stabling and Lock Up Coach Houses’.

Watford Observer: The Green Man in the late 1880sThe Green Man in the late 1880s (Image: Watford Museum)

“Another interesting long panel at roof-level states that the pub was the ‘Head Quarters of the West Herts Bicycle Club’. The Watford Observer in 1882 mentions an annual meeting and club dinner held here.

"I assume when the club first formed they were riding Penny Farthing-style cycles with a front wheel larger than the rear.”

Watford Observer: The Greyhound c1930The Greyhound c1930 (Image: Watford Museum)

The Greyhound

Christine said: “A new beer house was built in King Street in 1852 on land which had been part of the Watford Place estate. It is believed that the pub was originally known as the Free Trader.

"There was certainly a pub by that name in King Street in 1875 as it was advertised as being available to rent for £10, the previous tenant having been Charles Cole.

“In 1881, The Greyhound was run by Mary Davis and included lodgings on the premises. The pub closed in 1961 and was demolished.”

Watford Observer: The Halfway HouseThe Halfway House (Image: Watford Museum)

The Halfway House

Christine said: “The Halfway House was where the Watford Road and Rickmansworth Roads met at Cassio Bridge and the pub itself was situated between the Grand Union Canal and the River Gade.

"This photograph was taken at the beginning of the 1900s when the landlord was Henry Colebrooke - he had been running the pub for at least ten years.

“Originally the pub must have served those travelling by boat and working at the wharf as there were few private houses close by.

"However, by 1909, it appears that there were enough regulars to form a quoits team and host matches at the pub. I assume there was also quoits league as results of the games were published in the Watford Observer!

“Sadly the pub was demolished when the road over the canal and river were widened in the 1960s.”

Watford Observer: The Hertfordshire ArmsThe Hertfordshire Arms (Image: Watford Museum)

The Hertfordshire Arms

Christine said: “The Hertfordshire Arms was built in response to the newly developing North Watford area, to designs by J. C. F. James of Benskins Brewery. It appears to have followed a house style as the company were building pubs of a similar design at this time.

“This pub was opened on May 23, 1933 and the first landlord was Ernest L Wyndham. This aerial view was printed in Benskin’s house magazine, The Pennant, in 1938.

“Today, despite no longer being a pub when McDonald's converted it to a takeaway restaurant, the exterior of the building remains little altered.”

Watford Observer: The Hit or MissThe Hit or Miss (Image: Watford Museum)

The Hit or Miss

Christine said: “The Hit or Miss was at 274 Lower High Street which was almost opposite Ausdens.

“The pub was first named the Carpenter's Arms when it opened around 1850 as the landlord, George Clarke, was also a journeyman carpenter.

“By the 1870s it had been renamed the Hit or Miss and was run by Susan Lovegrove. She was widowed and had her three youngest children with her.

“In the 1891 Census, her youngest son Thomas, by then aged 24, was described as being a cricketer. Unfortunately I have not discovered which team he played for but it may have been fairly large one as he would have stated some other occupation for the census.”

Watford Observer: The King's HeadThe King's Head (Image: Watford Museum)

The King’s Head

Christine said: “The King’s Head is believed to date back to the 1600s and appears to have been an inn rather than just a pub. It was located in the Market Place (where Specsavers is now) and was a good size.

“A letting notice in an 1869 newspaper, about ‘the well known Kings Head pub’, described that it ‘contains 15 rooms, well furnished’.

“Everything must have been quite newly decorated as the pub had been badly damaged when the Market Hall, just in front of the pub, had burnt down in 1853.

“The pub closed in the early 1960s and the site was redeveloped.”

Watford Observer: The King William c1930The King William c1930 (Image: Watford Museum)

The King William

Christine said: “The King William pub was right at the end of the High Street, almost tucked under the viaduct at Bushey Arches. It actually predates the viaduct and originally seems to have been a beer house.

“By 1840, it was owned by John Dyson and at this time was known as the King William IV. Dyson died in the late 1860s and his brewing business and pubs were purchased by Joseph Benskin – this may have been when the pub’s name changed to the King William.

“The pub, had a number of landlords and I believe became known locally as the ‘King Billy’. It closed in 1959 but the building is still there and, up until relatively recently, had been the premises of a tool hire company.”

Watford Observer: The Leviathan before its 1928 rebuildThe Leviathan before its 1928 rebuild (Image: Watford Museum)

The Leviathan Steamer

Christine said: “The Prince George pub at the corner of Bedford Street and St Albans Road was first named the Leviathan Steamer, although it was not as large as it is today.

“This photograph, which comes from a street directory of Watford, shows the original building at a period when it had a little single story grocer’s shop next to it.

“The pub was constructed around 1838 or 1839 by Henry Parsons, a brewer, and was one of the earliest buildings in St Albans Road being near to Watford’s first railway station.

“The pub is believed to have been given the original name after a class of new transatlantic steam ships, although it soon became known as just the Leviathan.

“When the pub was rebuilt around 1928 it was extended and took over the plot of land occupied by the grocers. The new building was given a black and white tudor-style which, although repainted still exists today.”

Watford Observer: The Old Berkeley HuntThe Old Berkeley Hunt

The Old Berkeley Hunt

Christine said: “The Old Berkeley Hunt pub (or O.B.H.) was at the corner of St Albans Road and Weymouth Street which, today, puts it roughly in the middle of the Town Hall roundabout!

“The pub was built around 1869, and as a writer to the Watford Observer in 1870 noted, it had ‘clustering around it about nine cottages’.

“The hunt after which the pub was named were said to have visited in its early years but been disappointed that it was just a beer house and did not have a licence to serve spirits.

“The pub continued until 1969 and in this 100-year period must have become a busy part of the community and seems to have been either a starting place or stop off for coach tours.”