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 final item in our ‘history of Watford in 50 objects’ holds many of the preceding 50 within it and itself tells the story of one of Watford's major industries - the town's museum.

Watford Museum’s volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "This year we celebrated our 40th birthday, but our building has a history that goes back to 1775 when it was a private house. Its brewing history began in 1812, when John Dyson purchased the house and built his Cannon brewery behind it.

"Then in 1867, Joseph Benskin bought the brewery, which he extended, and the house became its head office. Brewing ceased here as late as 1972, so we often hear from people who remember the aroma of brewing, wafting around.

"Watford Council purchased the entire site in the mid 1970s, and although the brewery buildings were demolished, the house began a new life as the home of Watford Museum, which was opened by Terry Scott, in 1981.

"Today, we are a popular community museum and creative hub, with activities, events, exhibitions and projects. We have a dedicated team of staff and volunteers and are grateful for support from an array of community partners. Thanks to Mayor Peter Taylor and Watford Council we have a very bright future ahead of us."

Watford Museum has now reopened to the public. Admission is free but book first – call 01923 232297 or email For more information, visit