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 15th part of '50 events and dates that shaped Watford' looks back to the opening of what is thought to be the town's first hospital - and a building that survives to this day.

Watford Observer:

Nurses at work in the hospital

The museum's volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "The Watford District Cottage Hospital, which was on Vicarage Road, was opened in August 1886 by Lady Clarendon. It had two four-bed wards, each bed having an electric ‘call’ bell. There was also a small operating theatre.

Watford Observer:

Charles P Ayres' plans for the hospital from 1885

"Many Watford businesses were involved. The architect was Mr C P Ayres, and it was built by Chadwick of Watford. Gas and electrical fittings were supplied by Messrs Rogers Bros and the furniture and blinds were primarily from Mr G Capell, upholster and furnisher.

Watford Observer:

Doctors and nurses from the hospital

"The cost of construction was £1,700, some of which was raised by subscriptions. Around the time of this postcard the hospital had already been extended and, in 1903, a further extension took the capacity up to 30 beds. The last patients, now numbering 42, were moved out in 1974. The building still exists today."

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