North Watford History Group

Milton Street in 1901

Milton Street map

Of the total thirty-three houses, the first six (numbered 17–22) were built in 1895, and the remainder completed by 1900, these are believed to have been rented. All were constructed in Victorian terrace style except for 31 (Park Villa) and 32 (Park Place), which were semi-detached, and 33 (Milton Villa), which was detached. The latter almost certainly built by William Gough, who was born in Aynho, Northants. As a prominent local builder, William Gough had a tendency to name streets he built after Midland towns and villages, hence Milton Street. Although the locals quite like the idea that streets such as Milton, Shakespeare, Garfield and Parker were named after famous writers and poets.

Places of Birth of Residents

A striking feature of Milton Street is the geographic diversity of the origins of the 131 residents. 23 of these were from Watford, with a further 6 from elsewhere in Hertfordshire. The most frequent place of origin was London (42 people), followed by Hertfordshire, then 9 people from Bedfordshire and 9 from Buckinghamshire.

Occupations of Heads of Household

Milton Street, among other streets in the area, was built to accommodate increasing numbers of workers in burgeoning trades which included the railway (including clerks, engine drivers, stokers and ticket examiners), building trades, printing & photography, and dressmaking.

Employment of Women

Only four of the heads of household were women, who were a widow, a housewife (whose husband was absent on census night), a dressmaker and a milliner. None of the wives of male heads of households were recorded as being in paid employment.

Occupations of Children and Young People

54 of the 131 residents were children. Employment was recorded for the twelve of those who were aged fifteen to nineteen. The most common occupation was in printing & photography, where three girls and one boy were employed. The other girl in this age group was employed in domestic service. The remaining seven boys were employed as clerks, a carpenter's apprentice, a general labourer, a domestic servant, and a manual worker on the railway.

Household Size and Structure

All houses in Milton Street were Victoria terraces apart from Park Villa (now number 31) and Park Place (now number 32), which were semi-detached houses; and Milton Villa (now number 33), which was a small detached house. In 1901 Milton Villa was occupied by Harriet Holland and her three sons, Harold, Frederick and John, with one servant, by the name of Primrose Smith.

Shops and Businesses in Milton Street

The only shops and businesses in Milton Street were believed to have been on the corners of Garfield Street and Parker Street, adjoining Milton Street. At the time, Waterlows (printers of money) were based at the end of Milton Street where Allparts is now located.

Other local businesses included Acme Tone Engraving Company (Photo Engravers & Printers) in Acme Road, Bemrose & Sons (Printers & Stationers) and Gilling-Walpole Engraving Co. Ltd. (Photo Engravers), on the Shakespeare Industrial Estate. In Garfield Street, Mr. Herbert Warren of Barnstable Cottage is recorded as being a Woodcarver & Designer. Residents were within easy walking distance to Leavesden Road shops.


Children in Milton Street would have attended the Callowland Schools built in Leavesden Road in 1895: one for boys, south of Lowestoft Road and one for girls and infants, between Shakespeare Street and Acme Road (now The Callowland Surgery).


View larger map

Map with Milton Street highlighted


Research: Sue Carter and Joy Lees; North Watford History Group.
Author: Sue Carter and Joy Lees; North Watford History Group.


  1. 1901 census
  2. Peacocks Watford Directory, 1901

[Added by Glen: 9:55pm 25 Apr 2009]

This page was last updated on 19 May 2009.