Home to the Earls of Essex
By Suzanne Nicholls
Everyone in Watford knows Cassiobury Park but few people alive today can remember Cassiobury House, home to the Earls of Essex, which was demolished in 1927.
The ghost of a building
I have visited the park countless times over the years and often half wondered where exactly Cassiobury House used to be. I never troubled to find out but recently a chance conversation with a lady researching the history of the park piqued my interest. Rather than just read a book on the subject I decided to see for myself with the use of Ordnance Survey maps. I traced part of an old map of 1878 showing the house and laid it over a modern map of 1961. The position of the mansion was revealed amongst the houses of what is now the Cassiobury estate. It felt slightly strange, like suddenly seeing the ghost of a building.
A house beyond the tennis courts
I often used to walk my dog past the tennis courts in a road called The Gardens on my way to Cassiobury Park, unaware that Cassiobury House once stood just beyond those tennis courts, between what is now Temple Close and Parkside Drive. Now in my mind’s eye I see all that area in a new way.