2022 is a year of centenary celebrations in Watford.

Mayor Peter Taylor officially launched Watford’s centenary year, marking the town’s 100 years as a borough, by lighting a commemorative beacon at Watford Museum. Watford FC celebrate 100 years of football at Vicarage Road on August 30 and West Herts Sports Club was inaugurated on August 28 when a trust deed was executed between four trustees of the club, thus transferring ownership of the land and ensuring its use as a sports ground in perpetuity.

The latter two events were directly connected as up until then Watford had played football at the West Herts Cassio Road site.

Sport had been played at West Herts since September 27, 1890. The first football match was between Mr A.T.B Dunn’s XI and the club.

The Watford Observer was full of praise: “ The success of the Club and Ground is assured … the ground looked as level as a billiard table and nothing but praise on all sides was to be heard of the energy that had within six months placed Watford in possession of the finest ground in the County”.

The Earl of Essex, president of the club (and owner of the ground), attended with his wife as did the Earl of Clarendon, the chairman. The club can no longer boast such aristocratic representation on its committee in 2022.

In 1919 Benskins purchased Cassio Road from Lady Essex. The club still did not own its home and concerns were voiced about its future. Eventually the ground was purchased thanks to a gift from a Mr Dodwell and the trust fund set up with him and three other trustees in 1922.

The leading article in the Watford Observer on May 1, 1922 was about the purchase.

It read: "Lovers of Sport in Watford have always been haunted by the fear that sooner or later the West Herts Sports ground would fall into the hands of the builder. The ground has been a great asset to Watford for nearly 30 years. With the rapid growth of the population (in Watford) its facilities have been more and more appreciated. If the value of the ground as an ideal place for the encouragement of games which help to make England great in peace and war had not been fully recognised, it would have been impossible to retain it. The public spirit of Mr Dodwell in ensuring that for all time sport shall have a home in Watford is worthy of the fullest recognition."

These pictures show the community activities in the early years of the club with a tug of war competition and spectators at a cricket match dressed in their finest.

Watford Observer:

Watford Observer:

The club is flourishing in its centenary year. It boasts successful football, tennis and cricket sections. Its gym and squash facilities are in transition and the Watford Joggers use it as their home base. It caters for around 1,000 people to participate in their favourite sport.

Money received from the sale of a small plot of land off Cassio Road has enabled the development of the site with a floodlit multi-use games area, a new clubhouse, which will be finished this summer, better car parking facilities and ground maintenance equipment.

The club plans a celebratory weekend (September 9 to 11) to celebrate its centenary and an opening of the new clubhouse in June.

Dr Dennis Lock is president and chairman of West Herts Sports Club