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 ninth part of '50 events and dates that shaped Watford’ takes us back more 300 years to the work of an education pioneer who created what became Watford Grammar School for Boys and Girls.

The museum's volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "The Free School, which is opposite St Mary's Church, was opened in 1704 and as the inscription above the door says 'was built and endowed for the teaching of poor children at the proper cost of Mrs. Elizabeth Fuller of Watford Place'.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

A print of John Buckler's sketch of the Free School from 1830

"It began with 40 boys and 14 girls aged between 7 and 14. Mrs Fuller died in 1709 but the school continued with fund left in her will and with other endowments.

"By the 1880s it was no longer viable and a new school building was constructed in Derby Road. This new Endowed School grew and soon the boys and girls were being educated separately on different sites in the renamed Watford Grammar Schools."

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.