They were here before we arrived, and will remain long after we’re gone. They’ve stood firm for hundreds of years; enduring decades of lashing rain, scorching sun and whipping wind. They’ve been unmoved by war, and survived the onslaught of development, yet we barely notice them, walking past them in the street every day.
Watford can trace its roots back to the 12th Century, and its residents since have made their mark on the ever-changing landscape – constructing buildings to help others, monuments to their egos and structures with both form and function.
Now a new picture-book, Watford – A Heritage Guide, celebrates the architectural, cultural and social history of the town, in a bid to get visitors and residents take more notice of the exciting history that’s all around them.
“When you go away on holiday,“ says Mary Forsyth, chairman of the Friends of Watford Museum who collaborated with the museum to produce the book, “you go to the museum or the art gallery and you might buy a historic trail or guide book of the town, wherever you are, or go for walks – but you tend not to do it on your own home patch.
“We’ve got more than 90 nationally listed structures and 240 locally listed buildings. There’s so much, all around us.“
The pocket-sized guide features a potted-history of Watford, two maps for exploring the area on foot and by car and 41 pictures and captions of historically notable sights.
The book was produced as part of the Mayor’s Community Fund and is available for purchase from Watford Museum.
“I think it’s important that we record changes as they happen now,“ adds Mary, “but also one needs to look back to find out how we got to the situation we’re in.“