The Watford Observer is again delighted to be teaming up with its friends at Watford Museum to take another journey back to the past to recall the key events and dates that helped shape the town’s future.

The eighth part of '50 events and dates that shaped Watford’ is a drawing from almost 170 years ago of a major fire that destroyed the town's Market Hall.

The museum's volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "In the last week of May 1853 an old building in the Market Place used as the Corn Exchange and Market House was burned to the ground (the white building in the sketch is roughly where Poundland is today).

"The fire was possibly started by a spark from a light used at a fair. A fire engine, constantly refilled with buckets of water, attempted to put out the fire. In the end this proved impossible and all energy was put into protecting the surrounding buildings. The whole building was destroyed including the bell turret with its tinkling bell which tumbled into the road.

"This contemporary sketch was drawn by Mr Henshew from a window of the Kings Head, which itself was badly damaged, and was published in the Illustrated London News."

Watford Museum is now open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. No booking is necessary but Covid prevention measures are still in place to keep visitors safe.