North Watford History Group

north-watford-history.org.uk

Regent Street and environs in the 1930s

Regent Street today often has end-to-end parking. In the thirties, only two vehicles were regularly parked. A sports car, belonging to a Musicians Union official, and a motor cycle/side-car combination, belonging to Mr. Anderson who had a small engineering business in Milton Street.

Today the street is often used by through traffic (a "rat run"). Many years ago children often safely played in the street. On one occasion however, a girl made slight contact with a passing car. The occupant left his visiting card: it was Eric Coates, a well-known composer.

Horse-drawn vehicles were not uncommon in those days (e.g. greengrocers and bakers). As children we often went through the Cecil Street to watch the farriers in action. The blacksmith’s building is still there; it is not shown on early maps of Callowland Farm.

At the St. Albans Road end of Regent Street was a bank (my mother remembered a tin chapel on the site), and the Conservative Club. An elderly friend of my mother told me she had been privately educated in the building before it became club premises.

At the Leavesden Road end of the street was a confectioner/tobacconist where loose tobacco varieties were displayed in glass jars. On the opposite corner, a shop sold household goods including paraffin, which one could smell when entering the shop. They had a large cat which settled on the kerb outside, and scared off most of the local dogs.

Leavesden Road, in those days, did much trade. There were bakers, greengrocers, dairies, butchers, fish & chip shops, and even a wet fish shop.

My first two schools were in Leavesden Road. Callowland Infants is now apartments. My mother took me on the first day, an was astounded to find Miss Geary, who had taught her, was to teach me. I next went to Callowland Junior Boys School. Callowland Surgery now occupies this site. In a corner of the playground, overlooked by a prominent water tower, was the Woodwork Centre of my third school, Alexandra Senior Mixed. Alexandra School, also now apartments, was between Judge Street and Gammons Lane.

Between the local streets, alleys led to back gardens. The were used for delivering coal, bringing out dustbins, and taking short-cuts. Most alleys are now gated for security.

Life was much less noisy in the thirties. Laying in bed in the early morning, one could hear distant bells tolling the hours, cocks crowing, and the call of the cuckoo.

Credits

Author: Ken Saunders.

[Added by Glen: 0:08am 12 Nov 2010]

This page was last updated on 12 November 2010.