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.

We've reached item 33 in 'a history of Watford 50 objects' and it is a wooden bench that commemorates the visit of Prince Philip to open Woodside Sports Arena in 1955.

Sarah said: "Watford has had wonderful leisure facilities over the years, from the lido at the River Colne providing early open air swimming to our modern leisure centres that are now back open for business. The arena was a new facility to be proud of and the Duke of Edinburgh was invited to open it on November 4, 1955.

Watford Observer:

"The 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment formed a guard of honour for the visit. To commemorate this event the regiment, which is now part of the Royal Anglians, presented a wooden bench to the Borough of Watford inscribed with the regimental badge and details of the honour. It has become a poignant reminder of Watford’s links with the regiment, which has the Freedom of the Borough, our sporting heritage and of course the many years of service by the Queen’s much respected consort.

"The bench was restored in 2014 and presented to the museum, where it has now become a much used part of Watford Museum’s lovely little garden."

Watford Museum is currently closed under government restrictions but you can still pay it a virtual visit at or find the museum on Facebook and Instagram @watfordmuseum