Template:About Template:Use dmy dates Template:Infobox settlement Watford (Template:IPAc-en or Template:IPAc-en) is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, situated Template:Convert northwest of central London and inside the circumference of the M25 motorway. Now a fine public park, Cassiobury Park, was once the manor estate of the Earls of Essex. Watford Football Club play in the Football League Championship which is the second-highest level of football in England.
The town developed from an Anglo-Saxon settlement between a ford of the River Colne and the crossroads of two ancient tracks. St Albans Abbey claimed rights to the manor of Cashio, which included Watford. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin was built in 1230 on the same site as an earlier Saxon church, along with stalls for a weekly market.<ref name=forsyth/> The town grew modestly - assisted by travellers passing through to Berkhamsted Castle and the royal palace at Kings Langley, with the main developments being the 17th-century houses of Cassiobury and The Grove. Both the Grand Junction Canal in 1798, and the London and Birmingham Railway in 1837, allowed the town to grow faster, with paper-making mills, such as John Dickinson and Co. at Croxley, influencing the development of printing in the town which continues today. Two industrial scale brewers Benskins and Sedgwicks flourished in the town until their closure in the late 20th century. Today, Watford is a major regional centre for the northern home counties. Hertfordshire County Council designates Watford, along with Stevenage, to be its major sub-regional centre. The town contains the head offices of a number of national companies such as J D Wetherspoon; Camelot Group, operator of the National Lottery; construction firm Taylor Woodrow; and Mothercare; and is also the UK base of various multi-nationals including Total Oil, TK Maxx,Costco and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The international golf tournament, the 2006 World Golf Championship, took place at the Grove hotel.
Watford was created as an urban district under the Local Government Act 1894, and became a municipal borough by grant of a charter in 1922. The borough had 90,301 inhabitants at the time of the 2011 census. The borough is separated from Greater London to the south by the urbanised parish of Watford Rural in the Three Rivers District. The Watford subdivision of the Greater London Urban Area, which includes much of the neighbouring districts, had a total population of 120,960 in the 2001 census. Watford Borough Council is the local authority, with a directly elected mayor as head. The Mayor of Watford is one of only 17 directly elected mayors in England; Dorothy Thornhill has been the mayor since the directly elected system was set up in May 2002, and is both the first Liberal Democrat and first female directly elected mayor in the United Kingdom. Watford elects one Member of Parliament (MP) for the Watford constituency. Prior to the establishment of this constituency in 1885 the area was part of the three seat constituency of Hertfordshire.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Governance
- 4 Economy
- 5 Transport
- 6 Education
- 7 Sport
- 8 Places of interest
- 9 Notable people
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
There is evidence of some limited prehistoric occupation around the Watford area, with a few Celtic and Roman finds, though there is no evidence of a settlement until the Anglo-Saxon period.<ref name=habs>Template:Cite web</ref> Watford stands on a low hill near the point at which the River Colne was forded by travellers along an ancient trackway from the south east (the London area) to the north west (the Midlands) – heading for the Gade valley and thence up the Bulbourne valley to a low and easily traversed section of the Chiltern Hills near Tring. Watford's High Street follows the line of this route.<ref name="Lewis">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name="Saunders">Template:Cite book</ref> The town probably originated as a string of houses on the northern side of this ford. It was located on the first dry ground above the marshy edges of the River Colne. The name Watford may have arisen from the Old English for "waet" (full of water – the area was marshy), or "wath" (hunting), and ford.<ref name=forsyth>Template:Cite book</ref><ref name=habs/> St Albans Abbey claimed rights to the manor of Cashio (then called "Albanestou"), which included Watford, dating from a grant by King Offa in AD 793.
Watford is first mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 1007. It does not get a mention by name in the Domesday Book, but was included in the entry for the then more important settlement of "Cashio" which stood half a mile away at the crossroads of the St Albans road and Hempstead road near the modern Town Hall.<ref name="Page-Manors">Template:Cite book</ref>
The settlement's location helped it to grow, since as well as trade along this north-south through route it possessed good communications into the vale of St Albans to the east and into the Chiltern Hills along the valley of the River Chess to the west. In 1100 Henry I granted a charter to Watford to hold a weekly market.<ref name="Lewis"/> The parish church of St Mary the Virgin was built in 1230 on the same site as an earlier Saxon church, along with stalls for a weekly market.<ref name=forsyth/> The town grew modestly - assisted by travellers passing through to Berkhamsted Castle and the royal palace at Kings Langley, with the main developments being the 17th-century houses of Cassiobury and The Grove, which were expanded and developed throughout the following centuries. Cassiobury became the family seat of the Earls of Essex, and The Grove the seat of the Earls of Clarendon.<ref name="Page-Manors"/>
The Sparrows Herne turnpike was established in 1762 to improve the route across the Chilterns, with the road maintained from charges levied at toll houses along the way. The location of a toll house can be seen at the bottom of Chalk Hill on the Watford side of Bushey Arches close to the Wickes hardware store; set in an old flint stone wall is a Sparrows Herne Trust plaque.
Watford remained an agricultural community with some cottage industry for many centuries. The Industrial Revolution brought the Grand Junction Canal (now Grand Union Canal) in 1798 and the London and Birmingham Railway in 1837, both located here for the same reasons the road had followed centuries before, seeking an easy gradient over the Chiltern Hills. The land-owning interests permitted the canal to follow closely by the river Gade, but the prospect of smoke-emitting steam trains drove them to ensure the railway gave a wide berth to the Cassiobury and Grove estates. Consequently, although the road and canal follow the easier valley route, the railway company was forced to build an expensive tunnel under Leavesden to the north of the town. Watford Junction railway station is situated to the east of the town centre.<ref name="Page-Introduction">Template:Cite book</ref>
In 1925, the Metropolitan Railway Company built a branch to Watford, opening a station close to Cassiobury Park. The company had long held an ambition to extend this route into the town centre and unveiled proposals to drive a tunnel under the park to the High Street. In 1927 it purchased the Empress Tea Rooms at 44 High Street with the intention of converting it into Watford Central tube station. The plans were opposed by local councillors and the scheme was not realised and Watford tube station remained as the terminus of the London Underground.<ref name="wolmar">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name=goudie>Template:Cite book</ref>
These developments gave the town excellent communications and stimulated its industrial growth during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Grand Union Canal, allowed coal to be brought into the district and paved the way for industrial development. The Watford Gas and Coke Company was formed in 1834 and gas works built. The canal allowed paper-making mills to be sited at Croxley. The John Dickinson and Co. mill beside the canal manufactured the Croxley brand of fine quality paper. The paper making influenced the development of printing in the town, such as Odhams Press. There had been brewing in Watford from the 17th century and, by the 19th century, two industrial scale brewers Benskins and Sedgwicks were located in the town.<ref name="Haberdashers">Template:Cite web</ref> The parish church of St Mary's was extensively restored in 1871.<ref name="Page-Churches">Template:Cite book</ref>
Watford lies on the edge of the Chiltern Hills 14 miles to the north west of London It is located on rising ground to the north of the River Colne and east of the River Gade, which have a confluence to the south west of the town. The 'ford' which gives it its name was where an ancient major route from London to the north west crossed the River Colne. Originally the settlement was of the street type close to this crossing place. The commercial centre of Watford has moved north over the centuries on to dryer ground and closer to the principal main line railway station of Watford Junction. Nineteenth century railway building made it part of the London commuter belt. Twentieth century road building has placed it close to the junction of the M1 and M25 motorways giving it a central location in the UK motorway network. Template:Geographic location
Watford was created as an urban district under the Local Government Act 1894, and became a municipal borough by grant of a charter in 1922. The borough had 90,301 inhabitants at the time of the 2011 census.<ref name="census2011">2011 Census: Usual resident population and population density, local authorities in the United Kingdom, Accessed 8 January 2012.</ref> The borough is separated from Greater London to the south by the urbanised parish of Watford Rural in the Three Rivers District. The Watford subdivision of the Greater London Urban Area, which includes much of the neighbouring districts, had a total population of 120,960 in the 2001 census.
Watford Borough Council is the local authority, with a directly elected major as head. The Mayor of Watford is one of only 17 directly elected mayors in England; Dorothy Thornhill has been the major since the directly elected system was set up in May 2002, and is both the first Liberal Democrat and first female directly elected mayor in the United Kingdom.
Since 1999 Watford has been divided into 12 wards.<ref name=19980rder>Template:Cite web</ref> Each ward has three councillors who are elected for a four-year term. Following the 2012 election the political make-up of the council is: Liberal Democrat 24 seats (including the elected mayor), Labour 8 seats, Green 3 seats, Conservatives 1 seat, Independent 1 seat. The council have made twinning links with five towns. The first was Mainz, Germany, in 1956, and the most recent is Pesaro, Italy, in 1988; the others are Nanterre,<ref name="Archant twinning">Template:Cite web</ref> Novgorod, and Wilmington, Delaware.
Watford elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election, for the Watford constituency. Prior to the establishment of this constituency in 1885 the area was part of the three seat constituency of Hertfordshire.
Watford is a major regional centre for the northern home counties. It is the most westerly of these commercial centres and the only one in Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire County Council designates Watford and Stevenage to be its major sub-regional centres, heading its list of preferred sites for retail development. The primary shopping area is the Harlequin Shopping Centre, a large purpose-built indoor mall with over 140 shops, restaurants and cafes built during the 1990s, opened officially in June 1992. The owners of the shopping centre, Capital Shopping Centres, rebranded all their shopping centres, resulting in The Harlequin changing name to intu Watford Shopping Centre from May 2013.
High Street, running through the town centre, is the main focus of activity at night having a high concentration of the town's bars, clubs and restaurants.
The head offices of a number of national companies such as British Waterways, J D Wetherspoon, Camelot Group, operator of the National Lottery; Iveco, manufacturers of commercial vehicles; Haden Young, the building services division of Balfour Beatty; Bathstore, the largest bathroom retailer in the UK; construction firm Taylor Woodrow; and Mothercare, are located in the town. The borough is also the UK base of many multi-nationals including C.H. Robinson, Total Oil, Sanyo, TK Maxx, Costco, Vinci and Beko. International golf tournaments such as the 2006 World Golf Championship have taken place at the Grove hotel.
The town was home to the Scammell Lorries Factory from 1922 until its closure in 1988. The site is now a residential area. Tandon Motorcycles, founded by Devdutt Tandon, were also manufactured in Colne Way, By-Pass road, Watford from 1947 until 1959. Models included the Imp, the Milemaster, the Superglide and the Kangaroo.
Plans are underway to develop a new health campus complete with heliport adjacent to the site of the current Watford General Hospital.
Watford town centre and the surrounding area is compact and the terrain is generally flat with more than 20 km of direct cycle routes avoiding busy roads. In Watford cycling to work makes up 2.26% of all journeys compared with 1.8% across the whole of Hertfordshire.
National Cycle Route 6 and 61 run to the south and east of the town along the Ebury Way and the Colne Valley Cycle Route. A cycle track runs through the pedestrianised parts of the town centre along The Parade and the High Street. Sheffield and Harrogate Hoop cycle parking is provided at intermittent points all along the High Street and throughout the town centre
Watford is close to strategic roads – the M25 motorway that rings London and the M1 motorway that connects London to the Midlands and northern England.
Watford is served by buses which link it to the wider surrounding area. These are operated by a number of different companies, including Arriva Shires & Essex, Arriva London, Uno, Red Rose Travel, Carousel, Mullany's Buses, Redline Buses and Tiger Line. Although the town is in close proximity to London, the majority of buses do not accept TFL's Oyster Card as a valid method of payment; however PlusBus, Intalink Explorer and Hertfordshire SaverCard is accepted on all but the London Bus routes.
Central Watford is served by 3 railway stations and a Tube station. One of the principal National Rail north-south rail routes, the West Coast Main Line, passes through Watford. Trains on this line run from Template:Stnlnk to the English Midlands, North-West England and Scotland, and some long-distance trains on this route serve Template:Stnlnk. The station is mainly served by frequent suburban and regional trains operated by London Midland which run to Template:Stnlnk and Milton Keynes and the cross-London Southern service to Template:Stnlnk via Template:Stnlnk. Two all-stations services terminate at Watford Junction: the suburban metro service operated by London Overground which runs to Euston; and the London Midland shuttle train via the Abbey Line to Template:Stnlnk.
The London Overground service from Watford Junction runs south via a suburban loop and stops at the closest station to Watford town centre, Template:Stnlnk, before continuing via Template:Stnlnk via the Watford DC Line to London Euston. Watford North railway station is the first stop on the northbound Abbey Line, serving the suburban area of North Watford.
In the west of the town, Watford Met is currently the terminus of the Watford branch of London Underground's Metropolitan Line at the outer north-western boundary of the Tube system. The station is located outside the centre of Watford, close to Cassiobury Park.
|75px||Template:Stnlnk||Template:LUL line label|| West Coast Mainline local & regional services|
|75px||Template:Stnlnk||Template:LUL line label||Watford DC Line|
|75px||Template:Stnlnk||Template:LUL line label||Abbey Line|
|75px||Watford tube station||Template:LUL line label||Scheduled to close in 2016|
|Watford Vicarage Road tube station||Template:LUL line label||Opening 2016|
|Cassiobridge tube station||Template:LUL line label||Opening 2016|
A project is under way to extend the Tube into the town centre: the Croxley Rail Link will divert the Metropolitan Line branch to Watford Junction by reinstating a stretch of disused railway, the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway which used to run trains to Croxley Green until it closed in 1996. The new route, expected to open in 2016, will provide two new Underground stations at Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road and will share track with London Overground from Watford High Street to Watford Junction. As a result of the diversion of the line, Watford Met will close to passengers.<ref name=Croxley>Template:Cite web</ref>
A scheme to introduce light rail to Watford was conceived in 2009 when it was proposed that the Abbey Line should be converted to tram-train operation and run by Hertfordshire County Council.<ref name=tram> Template:Cite news</ref> The project was cancelled due to the complications and expense of transferring the line from National Rail to the county council.<ref name=herts-tram>Template:Cite web</ref>
It was once proposed that Regional Eurostar services could run via Watford to Paris via Kensington Olympia. In 1999 the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and the Regions took the view that that Watford was "well placed to become an integrated transport hub" and it recommended that "services from Watford to Paris should commence as soon as possible". The Regional Eurostar scheme eventually came to nothing and was put on hold indefinitely.
Watford is on the main Grand Union Canal route northwards from London. There is little commercial use, since the advent of the motorways, but the canal is used for recreational purposes.
The River Gade and the River Colne also run through Watford.
Regular and frequent bus and coach services connect Watford Junction station to Heathrow Airport and Luton Airport. Direct train services run from Watford Junction Station to Birmingham International Airport and also used to run to Gatwick (since 2009 it is necessary to change train at Clapham Junction or London Euston and London Victoria Station).
Watford's closest airfield is Elstree Aerodrome, Template:Convert east of the town. Several private charter companies and flying clubs are based there.
The Rolls Royce or de Havilland factory as it was known in the Second World War at Leavesden was responsible for the manufacture of the Mosquito fighter bomber and the Halifax bomber and later became Leavesden Aerodrome, to the north of Watford. No longer operational, it was converted into Leavesden Film Studios, now famously the home of the Harry Potter films.
The earliest records of schooling in Watford are of a schoolmaster named George Redhead in 1595, and of a Free School receiving an annual donation of £10 in 1640. The school consisted of "a room over two houses belonging to the Church Estate, nearest the churchyard."<ref name="Lewis"/> In 1704, Elizabeth Fuller of Watford Place built a new Free School for forty boys and twenty girls on her land next to the churchyard, with rooms for a master and a mistress.<ref name="Page-Introduction"/> In the mid-19th century, the recorded schools in Watford were Fuller's Free School, by now in a poor state, and the separate boys and girls national schools of St Mary's in Church Street. All offered elementary education.
State-funded elementary schools began to appear in the 1860s and 1870s.Template:Clarify The Free School closed in 1882, and its endowment contributed to founding the Watford Endowed Schools, which provided secondary education and charged fees.<ref name="Carter">Template:Cite journal</ref> After these schools, now called the Watford Grammar School for Boys and the Watford Grammar School for Girls, moved to new sites in 1907 and 1912, the building housed the Watford Central School, which taught pupils up to the age of 14. St Mary's National Schools closed in 1922, and the site is now a car park. The London Orphan Asylum, later Reed's School, was located near Watford Junction station between 1871 and 1940. The buildings are now the Reeds housing estate off Orphanage Road.
All the state-funded primary schools in Watford are co-educational. Under an earlier system, schools were divided into infant schools, covering Reception and Years 1 and 2, and junior schools, covering Years 3 to 6. Most such schools have amalgamated to form Junior Mixed Infant schools or (equivalently) primary schools, and all new schools are of this type. Within the municipal borough, there are now 6 linked pairs of infant schools and junior schools, and 14 JMI or primary schools, of which 2 are Roman Catholic. Watford is also served by schools in the neighbouring districts of Three Rivers and Hertsmere.
Although all state-funded secondary schools in Hertfordshire are comprehensive, there is a great deal of differentiation in the southwestern corner of the county, centred on Watford but also including most of the Three Rivers district and Bushey in Hertsmere district. Within this area, there are:<ref name="Moving On">Moving On – Applying for a Secondary or Upper School place, Hertfordshire County Council, 2007.</ref>
- partially selective schools, which offer a proportion of places according to ability or aptitude, and the rest to siblings or those living near the school: Parmiter's School, Queens' School, Rickmansworth School, St Clement Danes School, Watford Grammar School for Boys and Watford Grammar School for Girls.
- Bushey Meads School, which selects 10% for technological aptitude and uses banded admissions to ensure a comprehensive intake for the remainder.
- non-selective Roman Catholic schools, whose intake is evenly spread: St Joan of Arc Catholic School and St Michael's Catholic High School.
- other non-selective schools, whose intake is markedly affected by the above partially selective schools: The Bushey Academy, Francis Combe Academy and Westfield Community Technology College.
- Falconer School, a school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties.
The partially selective schools and Bushey Meads School operate common admissions tests in mathematics and non-verbal reasoning each autumn. In addition to those seeking selective places, all applicants to Bushey Meads and Queens' Schools are required to take the tests, so they are taken by the majority of Year 6 children in the area. The partially selective schools also operate a common test and audition procedure to select children for specialist music places.<ref name="Moving On"/>
Results achieved by the schools at GCSE are also widely spread, including the three highest and the two lowest scoring state schools within Hertfordshire. The area also has by far the highest incidence in the county of children allocated to schools to which they had not applied. There several independent schools nearby, including Purcell School, a specialist music school.
The Watford Campus of West Herts College is the only grade 1 further education college in the United Kingdom according to a 2011 Ofsted report. The Centre for Missional Leadership (CML) is the Watford branch of the London School of Theology, Europe's largest evangelical theological college, and teaches an applied theology course in missional leadership, accredited by Middlesex University.
Watford is home to professional football team Watford F.C., who reached the 1984 FA Cup Final, also finishing as league Division One (now the Premier League) runners-up in 1983. They were relegated from the old Division One in 1988. In 1996, Watford were relegated from the new Division One (now the Football League Championship). Watford won the then Nationwide Division Two championship in 1998, then the following season (1998–99) reached the Premier League. The club were relegated the season after. After five years of uncertainty, Watford won the Football League Championship Play-Off Final against all the odds to achieve promotion to the Premier League once again in 2006, this time beating Leeds United A.F.C. by three goals to nil. Again, as before they were relegated to the Football League Championship after a single season (2006–2007) in the Premier League. Singer-songwriter Sir Elton John is a keen, long-term supporter of Watford F.C. and a former club chairman. He still maintains his links with Watford as Honorary Life President. Between 1997 and 2013 the club shared its ground, Vicarage Road, with Saracens Rugby Football Club.
Watford has a Non-League football team Sun Postal Sports F.C. who play at The Sun Postal Sports & Social Club. Watford is also home to the Watford Cheetahs American Football team who play their home games at Fullerians R.F.C.
Places of interest
Cassiobury Park was formed from the grounds of Cassiobury House and consists of Template:Convert of open space. The house itself was demolished in 1927 and the original imposing gatehouse entrance – the Cassiobury Gates – in the 1970s, due to road widening. In July 2007, the park won a Green Flag Award, which recognises the best green spaces in the country. It has a children's play area which includes a paddling pool, play equipment, mini train track for children's rides, bouncy castle, ice cream van and a kiosk where you can buy food and drinks. The Grand Union Canal passes through the park.
The name derives from a Celtic tribe the Cassii said to have inhabited the area in pre-Roman times.
Watford Colosseum was built in 1938 as the Watford Town Hall Assembly Rooms to the design of architect Charles Cowles-Voysey and acoustician Hope Bagenal.<ref name=report>Template:Cite book</ref> It acquired a worldwide reputation for its fine acoustics,<ref name=classic>Template:Cite web</ref> and throughout the second half of the twentieth century the hall was used for concerts and recordings by leading orchestras and musicians.<ref name=BBC>Template:Cite news</ref> Rising costs and falling attendance led the council to close the hall in 1994, reopening it in 1995 as the Colosseum in a joint management agreement with a commercial company who had previously operated at the Town and Country Club in London.<ref name=classic/><ref name=BBC/> After the management company collapsed in 2004, the hall was managed by Watford Council until April 2010, when it closed to undergo a £5.5 million refurbishment; reopening in August 2011 with new management.<ref name=colosseum/> Concert life at the hall collapsed with the management change in 1994 but was revived two years later by the Classic Concerts Trust. The trust presented regular concerts by the English Classical Players until the end of 2009.<ref name="classic"/> The Watford Colosseum was used to record various film soundtracks, including The Lord of the Rings, The Sound of Music, Star Wars, and Sleepy Hollow; and among classical recordings, Julian Lloyd Webber's performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin.<ref name=colosseum>Template:Cite web</ref> It is regularly used to host concerts by the BBC Concert Orchestra, including Friday Night is Music Night, and has housed performances by performers including The Who, Robbie Williams, and Oasis.<ref name=BBC/> The acoustics were analysed by an acoustics company in 2009, who reported that the size and "shoebox" shape of the hall, the flat floor, and the materials used in construction, allow for pleasant reverberation and good sound quality and clarity, such to make the hall among the best in Europe.<ref name=report/>
Watford Palace Theatre
The Watford Palace Theatre is the only producing theatre in Hertfordshire. It presents world premières, dance, family shows and an annual traditional pantomime. Situated just off the High Street, the Edwardian building was opened in 1908 and the 600-seat theatre underwent a refurbishment in 2004. It houses its own rehearsal room, wardrobe, cafe, and bar. The Palace also shows films and 'live' and 'as live' streams of opera and ballet during its theatre season.
The Pumphouse Theatre and Arts Centre
The Pump House Theatre and Arts Centre is based in an old pumping station situated in Watford's lower high street. The building was converted for use as a theatre, with rehearsal rooms, and meeting place for local arts based groups. Current facilities include a 124 seat theatre, rehearsal rooms, and live music venue. Community groups currently meeting at the Pump House include Dance House (children's ballet), Pump House Clog Morris (women's Morris dancing), Pump House Jazz (jazz club), Open House (live open mic music), Woodside Morris Men (men's Morris dancing), child, youth and adult theatre groups and also the Giggle Inn comedy club.
Template:Refimprove section Watford was the birthplace of:
- Barbara Amiel, journalist
- Stephen Andrew, Canadian television reporter, anchor and talk show host
- Grant Benson, broadcaster
- Michael Bentine (1922–1996), comedian and ex-Goon
- Anthony Berkeley Cox (1893–1971), crime fiction author
- Michaela Breeze, weightlifter
- LTJ Bukem, drum & bass DJ/producer
- Sue Cleaver, actress, best known as Eileen Grimshaw in Coronation Street
- Jack Collison, West Ham United and Wales footballer
- Ray Cooper, percussionist (performed in both Elton John's and Eric Clapton's bands)
- Chris Date, database guru, author of the definitive textbook on the subject
- Paul Field 1994 Gladiators champion, police officer and two-time Winter Olympian from South Oxhey
- Steven Finn, Middlesex and England cricketer
- Cyril Fletcher (1913–2005), comedian
- Declan Ganley, businessman and political activist
- Philip Glenister, actor, Life on Mars
- Robert Glenister, actor
- Geri Halliwell, singer and Spice Girl
- Kenny Jackett, Welsh international footballer who spent his entire playing career at Watford now manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Vinnie Jones, footballer turned actor
- Anthony Joshua, super-heavyweight amateur boxer
- Matt King, comedy actor, Peep Show
- Nick Knight, cricketer
- John Lawley, Commissioner in The Salvation Army
- Simon Le Bon, lead singer for Duran Duran on 27 October 1958
- Nick Leeson, securities trader responsible for the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995
- Tim Lovejoy, television and radio presenter
- Craig Mackail-Smith, Brighton and Scotland footballer
- Gerald Moore (1899–1987), pianist
- Mo Mowlam (1949–2005), Labour politician
- Mark Oaten, Liberal Democrat politician
- Stuart Parkin, physicist
- Arthur Peacocke (1924–2006), biochemist and Anglican theologian
- James Pritchett, footballer for New Zealand
- Alex Roy, professional darts player
- Paul Robinson, footballer for Watford, West Bromwich Albion, Bolton Wanderers, Leeds and now Birmingham
- Terry Scott (1927–1994), TV and Carry On actor and comedian, blue plaque at 32 Tucker St Template:Coord
- Grant Shapps, Conservative MP for nearby Welwyn Hatfield
- Robert Simons (1922–2011), cricketer
- Kelly Smith, Arsenal Ladies, England and Great Britain footballer
- Gareth Southgate, former football player for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and England, also managed Middlesbrough
- The Staves, up and coming folk trio
- Simon Treves, actor and writer
- Ian Walker, former Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Bolton Wanderers and England goalkeeper
- Bradley Walsh, actor and comedian
- Mark Walsh, professional darts player
- Arthur Woodward, footballer who spent his entire career at Watford
Watford is the burial place of:
- Thomas Webster Rammell, engineer Crystal Palace
- Watford Observer
- Watford Borough Council
- Watford Observer Newspaper
- Watford Palace Theatre
- Watford Museum
- Watford, Hertfordshire, A Vision of Britain Through Time, Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth.
- A Short History of Watford from the Geography department of Haberdashers School Accessed October 2006
- Watford Genealogy on A Guide to Old Hertfordshire
- The Pump House Theatre and Arts Centre
- Famous Watfordians