The history of Watford's parks

History of Waterfields Recreation Ground

The land appropriated for Waterfields Recreation Ground is shown on the Watford Plan of 1842 as pasture and intersected by the River Colne. The bridge is shown in preparation for the North Western Railway on the north eastern boundary of the site.

By 1871 the railway is present and the bridge is present but so are outdoor swimming baths adjacent to it which were very popular. By the 1890s, terraced housing is in place along Shaftesbury Road. The recreation ground was eventually laid out by 1910 and was formed of two triangular shaped plots. Trees are shown planted around the boundaries of the sections of the park as well as an avenue that lines up with Shaftesbury Road. By the 1930s there are public toilets, a children’s playground and a drinking fountain.

One of the most interesting aspects of Waterfields Recreation Ground is the Coal Marker which is Grade II listed. It is one of almost 300 that was set up by the City of London to mark points on coal transport routes into London where tax was due. Initially the taxes were used to pay for rebuilding London after the Great Fire. The legislation was renewed in 1861 and the Marker in Waterfields dates from this time. The London Coat of Arms is marked on the south east face and it now forms an impressive feature in this lovely park.

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