Watford is a vibrant and fascinating place, brimming with culture and hidden history.

But the deeper you delve, the more interesting it gets.

There are popes, royalty, iconic 70s rock bands, obscure TV references and a whole load more.

Here are 33 facts you might not have known about the Hertfordshire town.

Get ready to see your hometown in a whole new light. 

1. Maureen Lipman (below) started her acting career at the Watford Palace.

Watford Observer: Maureen LipmanMaureen Lipman

It was 1967, as a matter of fact.

2. Despite working with the likes of music heavyweights Emeli Sande, Cheryl Cole, Lily Allen and Sam Smith, Naughty Boy (below) still lives in west Watford with his parents.

His first recording studio was in their garden shed.

Watford Observer: Watford's Naughty Boy, aka Shahid Khan, scoops two MOBOs

3. Characters Will McKenzie and Simon Cooper, better known as half of the Inbetweeners, live in Abbots Langley.

Watford Observer: Simon's houseSimon's house

The programme, which follows the escapades of four sixth form pupils, featured the homes at some point throughout its three seasons.

People living in Abbots Langley claimed they had seen actors Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas in Edinburgh Drive.

Watford Observer: Will's houseWill's house

4. School scenes from movie The History Boys were filmed in Watford Grammar School for Boys and Watford Grammar School for Girls.

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5. Comedian Robin Ince was born in Chenies village.

6. Scenes from television show The Demon Headmaster were filmed in Rickmansworth and Sarratt.

Watford Observer: The Demon Headmaster. Credit: BBCThe Demon Headmaster. Credit: BBC

7. Peep Show’s Super Hans aka Matt King was born in Watford.

8. Nick Leeson, who brought down Barings Bank, was a former pupil of Parmiter’s School.

9. Simon Le Bon, lead singer of Duran Duran, was born in Watford.

10. Mary Portas used to live in Bushey.

Watford Observer: ON THE CUSTOMER’S SIDE: Mary Portas goes undercover for her secret shopper TV series

10. Former children’s laureate Michael Rosen attended Watford Grammar School for Boys in the 1960s.

11. Watford has made huge contributions to the printing industry.

Rotary photogravure was a technique which was first used in Watford to reproduce very fine, high quality fine art prints and then it went on to be used to produce colour magazines.

All the ladies’ colour magazines, like Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Own, were all printed in Watford, as well as most of the colour supplements for the Sunday newspapers.

12. Melanie C aka Sporty Spice lived in Watford for a spell.

Watford Observer: Mel C used to live in Watford. And of course her Spice Girls bandmate Geri was born and went to school in the townMel C used to live in Watford. And of course her Spice Girls bandmate Geri was born and went to school in the town

Before fame beckoned that is.

15. Comedian Eddy Brimson is a life long Watford FC fan.

As is Elton John.

15. Paul Carrack of Squeeze and Mike & The Mechanics fame lives in Chorleywood. 

16. The grand staircase of Cassiobury House was removed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, when the house demolished in 1927.

17. The town hall’s interior staircase that sweeps up to the main council chamber is listed in its own right, as a prime example of Art Deco construction.

17 In the video for Elton John’s Step into Christmas, he holds up his Watford AFC supporter’s club membership card.

Watford Observer: Elton John’s Step into ChristmasElton John’s Step into Christmas

18. Anthony Joshua grew up on the Meriden estate.

19. Grade II protected Jackson’s Jewellers in The Parade is said to have its own ghost – a man in Elizabethan dress who passes through walls.

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20. Bushey church St James has been home to weddings, christenings and funerals for a number of EastEnders’ characters.

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21. Kings Langley was the home of the makers of Ovaltine and the listed factory facade is now all that is left and still stands alongside the railway line among a new housing development.

Watford Observer: Ovaltine Court

The Ovaltine factory itself has been converted into a series of flats and duplexes.

22. In the 1960s, RAF Bovingdon was used in the production of four World War II films, The War Lover (1962); 633 Squadron (1964) The Battle of Britain (1968) and Mosquito Squadron (1969).

It was also used to film parts of the flying car scenes in the James Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun starring Roger Moore.

On television it served as the location for at least one black and white episode of The Avengers The Hour That Never Was, starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg featuring Gerald Harper and Roy Kinnear, as well as the 1980 Blake's 7 episode The Harvest of Kairos as the surface of the planet Kairos.

23. The Who performed regularly in Watford and Carpenders Park in 1964, specifically The Trade Union Hall and The Mine.

Watford Observer: Celebrating 50 years of The Who in Brighton

24. Kings Langley became Kings Landing for a week to celebrate Game of Thrones.

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25. Pope Adrian IV, the only Englishman ever to have become Pope, was born as Nicholas Breakspear in Abbots Langley around the year 1100.

Therefore, Abbots Langley village includes a number of roads named after its famous son (Adrian, Breakspear, Pope), and at one time included activities of the Brakspear brewery.

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26. Watford is referenced in the following songs: The Prisoner by The Clash, Albion by Babyshambles, Lesson One by Just Jack, Watford John by Badfinger and I Love London by Crystal Fighters.

28. Elton John performed his first gig at The Namaste Lounge Pub, Northwood Hills.

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29. Six air raid shelters dating from World War II can still be seen in the grounds of the Grove Hotel.

They are now home to one of England’s largest colonies of Pipistrelle bats.

30. England manager Gareth Southgate was born in our great town.

31. Watford FC played in blue and white until 1959 where it then changed to gold/yellow shirts and black shorts.

32. Boxing matches were frequently held at Watford Town Hall in the 1940s and 50s.

Watford Observer: Watford Town HallWatford Town Hall

33. The Colosseum in Watford is renowned for its acoustic qualities.

It has been used to record the soundtracks of The Lord of the Rings, The Sound of Music and Star Wars.

  • Have we missed anything from the list? Comment below or email editor@watfordobserver.co.uk.