Saturday, 17 November 2007

Brrr it's frosty

Still moored at Bridge 168 Watford

Last night we had the heaviest frost so far with a -4deg centigrade temperature. Needless to say we were not in too much of a hurry to leave our nice warm bed.

Eventually we got ourselves motivated to walk into town again to visit the old Benskins brewery site which now houses the town museum. The museum is in the old breweries main office block but the rest of the brewery has been demolished.

We spent the best part of 3 hours wandering through the museum which to me was a real learning curve having been born and raised in the town. The theme of the museum was not just about breweries and pubs and the temperance movement from which this very poignant poem came.

The building shown below was the free school for the poor and disadvantaged children of the town to be able to read and write. This school was set up by a Mrs Fuller in 1704 at the cost of £20 per annum. It's predecessor has been set up by a Francis Coombe at the cost of £10 per annum. A secondary school which I attended on the Woodside estate was named after Francis as a tribute to his contribution to the town.
One good thing that came out of Watford from the second world war was the TV programme's "Dad's Army"and "It Ain't arf hot Mum". These were written by Jimmy Perry and another guy but they stem from Jimmy's personal experience in the Home Guard in Watford during the war and his military service in India in 1947.

To see and read about so many things that I heard about as a child but never actually saw or experienced was brilliant. I got a better understanding of my Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles lives as we had all lived and worked in Watford until 1961 when a distrastrous fire closed an uncles model and hobby shop in lower High St after which the family moved away far and wide. I got a better insight into my old home town which sort of put different things into perspective for me.

My Grandparents worked at Watford Central school as caretaker and head cook for many years. It transpires that the school started life as a the Grammar school. The school outgrew the buildings so 2 new schools had to be built, Boys Grammar and Girls Grammar. After this the school was taken over by the county council as a mixed junior school which is still in existence today.

Of course Watford is known for it's football team which my grandfather used to follow every Saturday during the season which was salvaged from oblivion by Elton John. The whole history of the club is recorded in the museum and is quite enlightening. The statue in High St of a Hornet on a honey pot dipper celebrates the success of the team which I have since learn't is the name of the team.While in the Harlequin centre I took this photo of the Xmas decorations.

819 locks, 1135.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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