The Watford Observer has teamed up with Watford Museum and its curator Sarah Priestley to take a journey back to the town’s past through items or places of historical significance.

The third item in ‘a history of Watford in 50 objects’ isn’t actually in the museum or even one item – it’s nearer 90 of them as Sarah explains.

She said: “The Watford Workhouse bricks are a unique reminder of the social history of the town, hidden in a courtyard of the old workhouse or ‘Shrodells’ building between the bustle of Watford General Hospital and Vicarage Road Stadium.

Read more: Do you remember the Watford Observer Clock?

“From a distance it looks like an ordinary Victorian brick wall, but on close inspection names and details of workhouse inmates appear – a physical memorial in graffiti for those who would never afford a properly marked grave.

Watford Observer:

“They date from the mid-19th Century and are a poignant reminder of the poverty faced by many in a growing industrial town.

“Whilst most are names and dates, there is even the faint engraving of a steam train.”

You can find out more about the bricks at the West Watford History Group’s website

Watford Observer:

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