North Watford

1930's and 40s

By Joan Henderson

Callow Land Girls School

Memory of walking down from my home in Fuller Road through to Harebreaks Estate to the Callow Land girls school which was at the bottom of Leavesden Road (left hand side). It was a real old school, my grandmother Charlott Nicholas remembered it. One of the class rooms I was in at the top of the building had a big screen pulled across the middle so there was 2 classrooms there. There was one teacher who was more than strict. My eldest sister had warned me about her and all the girls were frightened of her. She used to enjoy hitting us all, but she did teach us all vey well.

Cinema and Police Station

When we came out of the school right to the bottom of St Albans Road there was an Old Police Station with one cell in it and the policeman standing at his desk. No counter in those days. There is a Car cleaning depot here now. Back across the road was an old picture house (The flea pit!) The colloseum. On saturday morning it was packed with kiddies and the manager used to come round and give all the children a small bar of chocolate. Most of the films were cowboys and Indians, occassionally they had serials when there were competitions for the children to enter.

Old swimming Baths

My friend whose parents had money used to go along St Albans Road to the Old swimming Baths which cost 3d, which my family couldn’t afford. My father was a painter and decorater and sign writer, but there was 7 of us in the family. I have just remembered next to the police station to the left was a big brewery (Wells Brewery). What a shame all these places are now closed. When the picture house closed it was replaced by a working tyre garage.

What is avery lovely memory is vans and lorries all dressed up lined up at the bottom of the Harebreaks so many of them with children in costume amd grown ups on others also doing dances and young lads playing instuments. The vans did a tour of Watford before arriving into Cassiobury Park.

War days

I think how lucky I am when I remember all the good days we had in the 30s apart from the war when my classroom got bombed and our school Leggatts Way Girls School was closed. I remember being upset as I loved school. I ralso remember when there was an air raid all of us girls had to run out of school into the recreation ground and into the underground air raid shelter. The boys who were in the top part of the school had to come down the girls corridors. If the air raid was still on my mother (Ms Ellen Nicholas) would come up to the recreation ground and ask for me, but before going home we used to collect my brother Ron and also Roy Henderson who lived in the next street. So all four of us set of for home little knowing that when Roy Henderson returned home from Burma where he had been a wirless operator for Bomber Command that him and that young school girl would get married. These last 59 years have been so happy having such a kind husband as Roy.

This page was added on 23/01/2013.

Comments about this page

  • I well remember the ‘tupenny rush’ on Saturday mornings at the Coliseum. The cinema would be pretty well full of very noisy youngsters enjoying a weekly dose of Buck Rogers as well as a longer film – frequently a ‘cowboy’. Later visiting the cinema I recall that, every so often the commissionaire would walk up and down the aisles spraying a disinfectant over the seated audience.

    By Tony Langley (16/06/2019)
  • My memories of the (flea pit) Plaza? Where seats would collapse if you leaned back and some with no backs at all. It was close to the railway men’s club. The old cinema is now a tyre company, happy memories. The old bus station in Leavesden Road, Smiths the fish and chip shop next door to the church in St Albans Road. Happy memories.

    By Richard Ashton (24/11/2018)
  • Hi Joan. I am looking for people from my nans school (born 1928) the school was bombed so I am guessing you were there at the same time? Please contact me further if you could possibly help my nans dream come true to meet people from her old school.

    By Jenny cummings (25/03/2018)

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