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The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
 
 

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford Ref: W40048x

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Memories of The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford

Watford Odeon Cinema

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
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I worked in this cinema in 1960, just tearing tickets. There was a woman who worked in the confectionery kiosk who had been there since it opened; her first job had been as pianist during the silent era. She went on to work until the cinema was closed and pulled down. (Sorry I do not know her name). It was during my sojourn there that the film "Psycho" was distributed and I recall that during the week it as shown there were two miscarriages in the cinema due to the "extreme nature" of the film - how times have changed eh. Unusually for the time, no person was allowed into the cinema once the film had started.

Wartime

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
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I was taken by my parents to the Odeon Cinema in December 1939 and heard the song 'There'll always be an England' sung for the first time. Whenever I hear this song today, it takes me back to the Odeon - I was 13 at the time. I was born in Watford in 1926 and have many many memories of Watford during the peace years of the 1930s and the war years from 1939-1945. I had an office overlooking the Pond from 1958-1983 and remember the day the High Street was closed to traffic for the start of the one-way system. I also remeber Harold Macmillan making a political speech at the old Conservative club by the Pond in, I think, 1959. Richard Hughes

Top Rank Dance Hall

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
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I remember the Odeon being redeveloped as the Top Rank Dance Hall about 1964. We used to come over from Borehamwood during 1965 on a Thursday night which was over 18's only and Saturday nights as well. Had some great times there. Good music and atmosphere.

Watford/Bushey

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
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We moved to Bushey in the early 1960s. My love of Top Rank came as I grew up with Waford being a big town. My dad worked on the new M1 Cox's corner, which now I understand is not there. Tthere were fields all around. We used to play in them, something "Park Avenue" was the big road, a pub called the Otter's Inn. I went to a school called "High Wood" and then on to a school that the George Michael attended - how posh am I? I remember watching Alma Coghan's funeral, the Jewish cemetery was not far away from Coldharbour Lane, Bushey.... we were asked to stand up and pay our respects. I loved every minute of my time at that school, my love of English and History is forever in my mind, and oh boy I will not forget my English teacher Mr Arthur and History Mrs Mather, thank you both. Uou inspired me....xx

Disco Days

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
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I was 6 I think, I and my sister would go to Saturday morning pictures, then, about 11.30, go to Top Rank and would disco dance the Saturdays away. I remember I would either have a cold glass of milk, because the milk machine was lit up, and you could see it in the dark of the disco, or a Panda Pops, 'It's frothy man', great advert. Then about 12.30 go up to the swimming baths that were up the top end of town, that's gone now, why do so many things have to change? And we would dive in because we were so hot from all the dancing we had done, God, I miss those days.

Rickmansworth Road

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
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When I was about 6, we moved to Ricky Rd. The Cassiobury Park gates were over the road to us, slightly to the left. Me and my two sisters were crossed across a very quiet road by our mum, with a packed lunch. We just played all day till we got hungry again. Our house backed in to West Herts playing fields, so that kept us busy, watching all the sport. The house we lived in was Floreston Guest House at No.21, which my parents ran. It was a lovely place to live, with lots of treasured memories. Unfortunately I haven't got alot of photos. The house was knocked down to make way for the underpass, which is over the road to the Peace Hospice now. Which really hasn't made any difference to the traffic nowadays, just made a bottle neck. Anyway, get back to the point. If anyone has any photos of our mock tudor house, No. 21, I would love to see them. There is a tendency to clutch onto happy times in... Read more

Market Street

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
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In 1959 I started school at Holyrood school. Often after school my parents would take me and my two sisters into the High Street to do some shopping. I would always have to run and see the pigs just off Market Street - the Thoroughfare. It was always so fasinating but normal to see lots of pigs penned up. I must admit the penny didn't drop till I was grown, the connection between the penned up pigs and Keens sausage factory over the road from Holyrood schools playground, in Exchange Road. Later to become the GPO building.

Top Rank

The Odeon Cinema 1961, Watford
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I can remember very vividly going to Top Rank on a Saturday morning with my friends. We all went to Francis Coombe Secondary School. We all had so much fun dancing on these Saturday mornings... loved it...The memories of this and all memories of Watford are all so good to me. The 60's was such a great time to grow up in England. I just adored the Beatles; I can remember buying 'I wanna hold your hand' single record from the Record Shop on St Albans Road in North Watford...wonderful memories, always will be. I live in Australia now and often I reminise of those great days in Watford. My dad used to work for Benskins Brewery, then Ind Coope. All of my mum's family worked for them also. I will get back to see Watford again very soon, I hope.

Watford & local memories

Read and share memories of Watford and Hertfordshire inspired by Frith photos.

The Odeon

The Pond on The High Street c1955, Watford
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I was a member of the Odeon choir and it was around this time that we were taken to I think it was the Festival Hall, to compete against choirs across England and I got a bronze medal, I think it was the Star Festival.  Unfortunately my medal has been mislaid over the years but I remember that we were later taken to a recording studio in London - Tothill Street - where we recorded for an early television programme. Unfortunately, not having a TV I never got to hear the recording. The Odeon was part of our childhood with 6d seats downstairs and 9d seats upstairs. Opposite the Odeon was the Three Kays coffee bar where two or three years later we would meet and pool our money to get into the Jazz Club at halftime if the bouncer was willing to sell us interval tickets.  We met Johnny Duncan and his Blue Grass Boys, Acker Bilk, Ken Colyer. We would then walk home with bare feet as we... Read more

Good Old Watford

I was born in Watford in 1934 and went to school at Callow Land and Alexandra Secondary Modern. We lived through the war years in Elm Grove. I used to work in Trewins all day Saturday then go to the market and buy mum a bunch of violets. I loved the markets hustle and bustle. My parents moved to New Zealand in 1952 because they were sick of the rationing. In 1991 my husband and I moved to Australia. My fondest memory of Watford is biking all over, swimming and picnicking at the aqua drone, Ricky, and lovely walks at Chenies. My father worked at Benskins for many years. I have always been proud of Watford and hold very fond memories of my first 17 years of life there. I only wish I could go back to visit, but old age has caught up with me.

Watford's Lost Factories

Living in north Watford from 1952 to 78, I have fond memories of factories such as the British Moulded Hose. Not a nylon stockings factory as its title may sound, but an asbestos factory which I remember one day caught fire when I was in the playground of Park Gate School. Other well-known factories I remember were the (B.A.O) British American Optical company just a short distance away which made reading glasses. Next door was a biscuit factory, its name of which (I am not sure of its spelling), went something like De-Beaukaliers. I remember a friend of father's bringing us the odd large tin of the most delicious wafers you ever tasted. And not forgetting Yeatmans, where an aunt used to bring us small jars of jelly with fruit inside. Sadly, none of these factories any longer exist. And of course everybody who had a family member either working for Odhams or the Sun Printers, would automatically get themselves in too. Sadly the Sun printers was left as just... Read more

Vicarage Road Football Stadium And Watford Football Club

I first saw Watford play - in their old blue and white colours - at the end of the 1955-56 season. The only cover was the so called "Main Stand" and on the opposite touchline the "Shrodells Stand" named after the adjacent Shrodells Hospital (now Watford General Hospital).  I would stand behind the goal on the left of this picture as the terrace was steep with plenty of barriers to lean on and high enough to give a view of the whole pitch. Halfway through the second half, newspaper sellers would walk around the terraces selling the Evening News or the Evening Standard with the half time scores from other grounds and sometimes even a short match report for the first few minutes of other games! The Watford ground staff would hang numbers on hooks at the edge of the greyhound track with half time scores too. The code letters for the other games were printed in the programme. I went to most home games and sometimes even reserve games... Read more

Cawdells

High Street c1955, Watford
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I have fond memories of this part of the town - I worked in Cawdells as a Saturday girl on the switchboard - great fun when you're 15! My mum bought all our bedlinen and other useful items in their January sales. My teens were spent visiting friends in the area and going to the Top Rank in the evenings for a good dance to Gino Washington and Tamla hits - great days! I also remember the old Sainsbury's with it's deep maroon tiling and the smell of a great delicatessen counter. It was a normal shop with service at the counter then. I lived in North Bushey in Heather Rise which was a brand new housing area in the 50s - built by London Transport workers as self-builds. I recall an ancient greengrocer's van which brought us supplies before the shops arrived and also endless summer days playing in our gardens and the cul-de-sac on many... Read more

Trying to Find A Lost Relative

The Pond on The High Street c1955, Watford
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Hello, my name is Rhonda. This isn't a memory but I'm looking for someone very special that my mum lost contact with back in 1981; his name was Merrick (I think surname was something like Dowel). Merrick is a very rare name and he was meant to have worked in a pub or something like that. If anyone has any information please could someone email me on rhondabrown1982@outlook.com I would really appreciate the help. Thank you to anyone who has taken time to read this. Rhonda

Benskins Brewery

The Pond on The High Street c1955, Watford
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Such a very small house, this semi of theirs, So very squashed-up in between Two others the same, but it gave itself airs With the front door in Dark Cabbage Green. Why on earth I was there, in this very small house, Quite simply, I just didn’t know; Though second thoughts tell me I probably did - It was all eighty long years ago: The funny small man who had married my aunt I was made to call ‘Uncle’, although Most uncles were nice and they took you to zoos, Whereas this one was strictly de trop. But my favourite pastime of playing with words Was rewarded! It chimed with my puns. (Spoonerisms and rhymes were like marzipan bars And trains and hot chocolate and buns.) From my small bedroom window I found I could see On a factory roof a firm’s name; Cut-out letters said ‘SNIKSNEB’ when seen from behind. And it started a favourite game. ‘What’s a sniksneb?’ I’d ask. And the clever ones frowned And giggled, pretending to grouse; So, Benskin’s worked wonders at cheering me up In that rather unhappy small house. ©Paul Wigmore 2013

Benskins Brewery

The Pond on The High Street c1955, Watford
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I lived in Bushey and then in Oxhey Village for all of my childhood, first in Aldenham Road, and then in Oxhey Avenue, and later in Villiers Road. In the early 70's I was living in Oxhey Avenue and my friend Annette lived in Woodwaye off Eastbury Road. When she came round on her bike I used to either walk or ride my bike to the other side of the railway bridge at the top of our road, when she went home. We would often be wearing our stripey socks and have a tartan scarf tied round our wrists - we were both big Bay City Rollers fans. Most Monday evenings we used to catch a bus to the Civic Centre in St Albans. We were never totally sure we were on the correct bus until it went past the big Waitrose that used to be on St Albans Road just before the Dome roundabout. There was a disco at the Civic Centre every Monday evening, but my mum always... Read more

Childhood

The Pond 1906, Watford
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I was 4 when we moved to Watford. They were just nearing completion of the subway which ran from the top end of the town to the Town Hall, and where the library is now situated, and we had 3 cinemas then, the Odeon, which had moved to the centre, next door to Le Caprise, wich was a nice little restaurant, the Empire, which was next door to the Palace Theatre, and the Carlton, which was down Market Street. They had also enlarged the pond area with waterfalls. As I grew up, I worked for the Co-op, Gade House, which I lovd, and we sold a range of table mats which had Francis Frith pictures of old Watford on them. My one regret is that I never got to see the park gates before they were demolished.

Cross Street Watford

High Street c1955, Watford
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Carol Collins, nee Bass. We often had the cows come in our back garden in the 1950s, they used to walk them to market.

Watford Market

High Street c1955, Watford
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I can remember my mum taking us to Watford market, I just loved it, I was about 8 or 9, and loved looking at all the cheap jewellery, and coloured rubber balls, and toys, it had such a magical feel about it to me.
Mum always had to have a bowl of cockles with vinegar and pepper on them, from the fish stall.
We would just wander around, there were puppies for sale and kittens! And mum used to buy some Gibsons sausages as they were prize-winners! I can't remember if it was outside Cawdells that there was a 1d laughing policeman in a glass cage. That was 50 years ago and I still sometimes dream that I am back there just looking around with eyes wide open at all the lovely things they sold there.

Vanishing Watford

Cassiobury Park Gates 1921, Watford
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My family moved to Watford in 1953 to a large house in Rosslyn Road, a side road within a few yards of the Rickmansworth Road right opposite the Town Hall concert hall entrance. I spent virtually all my childhood there plus the teen years and left when I was 20 to live in Dorset.

My enduring memories of Watford include the wonderful Mocha Bar on the Parade where we could buy real Italian Espresso Coffee.  The fabulous rolls and baking from Chef Corner Cafe. The toy shop next to the Cookery Nook cafe.   Both Department Stores, Clements and Cawdells, the latter of these two would have a Santa Ride to see Santa and we'd go on a fake boat which undulated the way toy boats always do and someone rolled the scenery past the window to make you think you were going on a sleigh ride to meet Santa.  Then they let you out of a different door to the one you came in on so it seemed like... Read more

Miniature Train Rides in The Park

The Canal, Cassiobury Park c1955, Watford
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Close to the Grand Union Canal which runs through Cassiobury Park is a splendid miniature railway. It loops through woodland, has level crossings over footpaths and criss-crosses several lines before returning to the terminus beside the canal. I remember going on this as a child myself, and then taking my son David in the 1980s.

More recently I took my niece for a train ride in 2002 one hot summer's day. We needed ice creams to cool down afterwards!  That same summer I saw a grass snake swimming across the canal from the busy towpath side to the sanctuary of the quiet reedbank on the opposite side.

Cassiobury Park is a magnificent asset for Watford residents with everything you could wish for: sports pitches, woodland walks, canal towpath, wild life, paddling pools, train rides and picnic spots - all within 15 minutes walk of the town centre. It's the jewel in Watford's crown and holds a special place in the affections of older residents who still... Read more

Fig Tree

The Fig Tree 1906, Watford
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It was always my understanding that the person buried had asked for a fig to be put in one hand and a plum stone in the other and if there were a God, the fig would grow!

Fig Tree - St Mary's Church Yard, Watford

The Fig Tree 1906, Watford
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I remember seeing this tree in St. Mary's churchyard.  It was growing out of a grave, and the story was that the tree was growing out of the buried person's body.

Bulls Escape

High Street c1955, Watford
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Around 1954 my Mother took me to Watford shopping and the market.  We lived at the time in South Oxhey, we would catch the train from Carpenders Park Station and get off at Watford High St station which was the lower part of the high street.  This particular day I remember walking up the high street holding my mothers hand and I remember a lot of people running and panicking.  My mum held me tight and rushed me into a shop front and all of a sudden there was a herd of cattle {black} coming very fast down the high street, stampeding past us. Of course I was petrified like my mum.  I remember someone saying they had escaped the slaughter house and broke free. I have never forgotten that.  I wonder if anyone else can remember it.

Cawdells Arcade

High Street c1955, Watford
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We moved to Watford when I was 8 and I remember our regular trip from St Johns Road to the market behind Cawdells where we bought our dog Jally. There were so many stalls selling good quality goods, I still have the china teaset my mother bought - "Blue Chelsea". I spent my formative years in Watford and was dragged kicking and screaming away when I was 16.

The Weekly Trip to Watford

The Pond 1906, Watford
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I was not born when the photo was taken in 1906 but I do well remember our weekly shopping trips to the Watford market just after world war two.
There would always be time to visit the top end of the high street to admire the large golden fish in the pond. I found later that they were Golden Orf.
On one of our visits there was quite a large gathering of people at the pond, bunting flags and ballons festooned the railings around the pond and quite a few very large model war ships were sailing. I think the celebration was in aid of our victory at sea, but if anyone can offer some information, please do.

My First Walk From Croxley to Watford

Cassiobury Park Gates 1921, Watford
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I would have been aged seven years when I first remember walking with my family from Croxley over the golf-links and Grand Union into Cassiobury Park.
The park was so beautiful with flower beds and a paddling pool and further along was a bandstand, people out for a walk were dressed finely and all was peaceful.
At the exit from the park was the wonderful stone gatehouse with iron gates that formed an impression in my mind of elegance. As I grew older and started to travel frequently to and from Watford along the Rickmansworth Road I would often glance over at the gates with fond memories.

North Watford

Hi, I am desperately looking for old photographs of north Watford, particularly around 1975 onward, I looking for areas like Bruce Grove, St Albans Road or around these areas. Please could someone get in touch. Thank you.

Watford School Days 1957 to 1965

I well remember my school days at Watford Chater Junior School from 1957 to 1964, getting sick from drinking to much school milk, as class milk monitor with my friend Victor Oliver. Getting a splinter in my bottom, and having to wait for Miss James to come and remove it in the shelter sheds, after everybody had gone home. The lunch time acted out wars in the playground, some children had large Union Jacks so they could lead the battle charge. I remember attending Victoria Secondary Modern School on Talpits Lane, West Watford, before leaving for Australia in October 1965. I remember my art teacher Mr, Williams asking me why I had drawn an airline docked at the airport. I said I am going to Australia. He replied, oh no you're not, stop telling tall stories. I well remember the gates at Casiobury Park and buying a 99 ice cream at the entrance. I remember kissing a Linda Furnace, when I first started secondary school. I have fond memories of... Read more

Town Hall Roundabout

Living in Watford from the early 1950's, I well remember the Town Hall roundabout before they moved it. Can't recollect whether it was nearer or further away. I can recollect, not far from a pub called the OBH, or almost opposite the Royal British Legion Club, was the bus stop for the 346 travelling towards the Herebreaks. I also recollect looking towards the roundabout to the left watching to see when the bus was coming. If I remember correctly there was also a fire-station right in the far centre of the original roundabout. It was said at one time, you could reel off all the names of the pubs, from one end of the high street to the other, from the Arches to the Town Hall. The Swan, the Railway, and the Three Tons, to name but a few. I too, can remember both Clements and Cawdells. Cawdells being on a corner to the original market, whereby I would be taken to see Father Christmas and ride the sleigh...ah, all... Read more

New School

I attended Little Green School, and they thought it would be a good idea for us to go and see the new school being built, I don't know why as we were too young to do any building lessons.

Proud of my Watfordian Roots

I was born in Watford Hospital March 1961. There is evidence that we - mum, dad and l - lived in Durban Road, and Wellington Road. I'm told one of these 'homes' was a flat in which l became proud owner of a little pink teddy - left on my pram by a neighbour, my mum says - she thinks it was a raffle prize from the local fair. I still have her to this day. Dad Peter Simmons was born July 1925 and spent most of his life living at Nicholas Close, he told us stories about how he had a cousin who was a trainer/groundsman for Watford FC, of how his Grandad James died from injuries sustained whilst trying to lift a cart horse which had fallen in the gravel pits owned by James brother Thomas Joseph. Dad attended Leggatts Way Senior Boys school in 1939 before starting his butchery career with Fisheries on a market stall in High Street, Watford, then working in a butchers shop which... Read more

Watford Town Hall

I am visiting Watford on Wednesday as my husband is playing bowls for Kent! My mother [ Barbara Whiter ( nee Neech) who was born in Watford, and who is 90 in April, and now living in Colchester, Essex. ] just happened to mention something of interest! While at art college she made a wooden shield with the Coat of Arms that went over the main door of the Town Hall. Does anyone know if it is still there and if not where it might be? I recently learned my old school [we moved away when I was 14] Leggetts Way is now a housing estate!
My home is now Chatham, Kent.

The Town I Grew up in

My family moved to Watford in 1964 when I was 6-years-old. We moved down from Northumberland via the west of London. I finally moved away from Watford permanently in 1989. We lived in a flat above a shop on the busy St Albans Road in North Watford and I attended Callowland infants and junior schools. Later on, I went to Victoria Boys School in West Watford until it was burnt down in 1973 and from there to Grange Park School in Bushey.

I recall Watford in the 1970s, or at least parts of it, being a very rough place. As a teenager as I was beaten up on the street in broad day light on at least two occasions, both times because I sported long hair. For all of that, I have some very happy memories of the town. I particularly liked walking in Whippendell Woods and would often end up at the Clarendon Arms in Chandlers Cross. I am told it became another victim of changing times... Read more

Watford Fields Infants School

I remember walking in deep snow in Watford in January 1982. I had to carry my son David Norfolk on my back through the snow to reach Field Infants School. When we got there I discovered that the school had tried to close for the day by phoning parents to warn them. The message failed to reach our family as we had very recently moved into Oxhey Village from Northwood so our David (coming up for his fifth birthday) spent the day in the school's nursery accompanied by a handful of other children and supervised by most of the teachers and the dinner ladies who had nothing else to do except play and try to keep warm! When I collected him - again by piggy back - in the afternoon he said "Daddy Daddy its been such fun, can I come to school again tomorrow?". He thought school meant playing in a nursery all day surrounded by adults wanting to play with him!

Linking A Family Member to A Place

My great grandfather was in the met police force in his day. His name Walter Lewis Cox.He lived in a big house 43 capel road. I would like to know if the address still stands and what is the dwelling. Walter lived in that house for over 50yrs his serviving daughter at the time of his death in 1966 sold the property some yrs later her name was Edith Cox she sometimes got Marjorie did anyone know this lady and are there any photograghs of Capel road old or new. I would be most greatful

Born in Watford

my memories of Watford start in 1947 when I was born in the front bedroom of our house in Liverpool Road from the 1950s till approx 1968 there is not much I didn't know about the town I first went to school at Watford fields changing to Victoria boys school. We did our train spotting at Watford Heath where the train had to slow down to take on water from the chutes that ran between the lines. the cattle market was up the side of the post office in market street and on the other side of market street just down a bit was the slaughter house I remember going there with friends and watched as they killed a cow I didn't like it one little bit. on the corner of market street was the Rose and Crown they still covered the floor with saw dust in those days oppersite was the entrance  to the Arcade which led you into the market where my mother had a stall right at... Read more

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