North Watford History Group

north-watford-history.org.uk

The original Watford station

Original Station Building

St Albans Road map

The original Watford railway station was built in 1837, to the north-west of its current location. The old ticket office still exists and is located near the bridge on west side of St Albans Road. The building is currently occupied by H & D Motors, which is a second hand car dealer.

The station was considered to be well equipped, having first and second class waiting rooms, departure yard, carriage shed, and engine house, with facilities for pumping water into the locomotive’s tender. It was reported that:

… every arrangement is made for the comfort and convenience of passengers. The first and second class waiting rooms are very commodious, and so is the departure yard, which is sheltered from rain by an elegant corrugated iron roof. This is the first principal station, and where the engineers supply their tenders with water after leaving London; for which purpose a ten-horse steam engine is provided with suitable pumps and machinery. There is also an engine house for locomotives, and a carriage shed; in fact, the arrangements of the whole are of the most perfect description, and no expense appears to have been spared in their construction. [1]

The station was even considered good enough to be used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. On 28 November 1843, they travelled by road from Windsor Castle to Watford Station and took the train from there to Tamworth to visit Sir Robert Peel. Special arrangements were, of course, made for them:

The staircase leading to the platform, which was situate in a deep cutting, was covered with crimson cloth. The Royal party remained in one of the waiting rooms, very elegantly fitted up for the occasion, for about twenty minutes, while some of the Royal road-carriages were placed on carriage trucks which formed part of the train. A handsome and luxurious carriage had been 'quickly provided' for the use of the Queen, and it was placed in the middle of the special train, which consisted of five carriages and three trucks. [2]

The arrival of the railway played a crucial role in stimulating employment, housing, shops and other businesses in the area which later became known as North Watford. The first new road in the area was what is now called Bedford Street, although at first it was known simply as "beyond the railway station", and later Leviathan Road, after the pub on the corner. [3] The present 56, Bedford Street was built by 1840, and was initially occupied by a railway foreman, and the nearby cottages by 1850. [4]

The station was relocated to its present site in 1858 to accommodate the branch line to St Albans which was opened in the same year.

Photographs

Original Station Building

H & D Motors now occupies the original Watford station ticket office

Map


View Larger Map

Map showing location of:
Watford North marker The original Watford station

Credits

Research: Jill Waterson; North Watford History Group.
Author: Jill Waterson; North Watford History Group.

References

  1. Roscoe; Illustrated History of the London and North Western Railway 1847; pages 53-54
  2. Neele, G.P.; Railway Reminiscences, 1904; page 447
  3. Chapman, E.J.; Watford New Town, 1837 to 1870; unpublished paper, 1991
  4. Chapman, E.J.; Watford New Town, 1837 to 1870; unpublished paper, 1991

[Added by Glen: 11:50pm 24 Oct 2009]
[Added by Glen: 2:43pm 25 Oct 2009]
[Added by Glen: 11:39pm 20 Nov 2009]

This page was last updated on 20 November 2009.