The Watford Observer is delighted to team up with Watford Museum and its curator Sarah Priestley to take a journey back to the town's past through items or locations of historic significance.

The first item in A history of Watford in 50 objects is the borough coat or arms, or 'Audentior' as it is often known.

This wasn't the town's first coat of arms, but was specially created when Watford was made a borough in 1922 and the Earl of Clarendon become the first mayor.

A version of the coat of arms can be found as Watford Council’s logo across the town, from welcome to Watford signs to the town's bins, while there are impressive historic examples on the front of the Town Hall and Library.

Watford Urban District was granted borough status on October 18, 1922, although the use of 'Audentior' pre-dates this.

The coat of arms (including the motto) was designed by a committee lead by Dr A T Brett and accepted by the local board on January 24, 1889.

Plans for the borough had been discussed in the 1800s, but not until 1919 was a petition organised and presented to the king due to the outbreak of World War One. Borough status gave Watford the right to build a town hall, make by-laws and gain freedom from the local Government Board.

Watford Observer:

Charter Day in Woodford Road

In the top third of the shield are the Arms of St Alban to commemorate the long association between the two towns.

The stags represent the harts of Hertfordshire.

In the lower part of the shield are two escallop shells taken from the Arms of the Earl of Clarendon, Charter Mayor.

The wavy blue and white lines represent the ford in Watford.

The ceremonial axe (fasces) in the centre denote magisterial authority.

The Motto 'Audentior' is a quote from Vigil’s Aeneid VI: “tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito, quam tua te Fortuna sinet”. Yield not thou to ills, but go forth to face them more boldly than thy Fortune shall allow thee.

Watford Museum has reopened to the public. You can visit on Saturdays at present with pre-booking essential. Housed in the former Benskins Mansion, the Grade II listed building holds treasures of Watford history from Cassiobury to printing to Watford Football Club. To find out more, visit