History - Woodside Playing Fields
Woodside Playing Fields was part of the original Woodside estate, which includes Albans Wood.
The wood was named after the Roman soldier who became a Christian, was martyred and gave his name to our neighbouring city of St Albans.
During the closing years of the 19th Century, the estate was owned by a Mrs H Wood.
It is clear from the grandeur of its trees and the manner of their grouping that it must have been a wonderful country home.
The estate was purchased by a Mr Burgess, who introduced sheep farming onto the estate, and the next owner, Mr Cobb, established a high reputation as a breeder of pedigree cattle.
The first instance of sport being played on the estate came with the arrival of another owner, Mr Williams Owen, who also specialised in breeding and training horses, but for the purposes of polo.
Distinguished polo players from London came to the estate to take part in matches.
Woodside had a part to play in the war effort too, when it became a depot for the ATS; then, following the war, the estate was purchased from the Cobb family by the Watford Corporation to be used for housing and playing fields.
Woodside House and farm was built in 1860/61, but was demolished in 1959: however, some of the buildings, known as the stables, can still be seen, used nowadays as the changing rooms and the Parks Department's depot at the top of the park.
The letters 'GAC' can be seen on the buildings, referring to George Alley Cobb whose family owned the house from 1905 to 1948, when it was purchased by Watford Corporation.
Farm workers were housed on site, and there were tied cottages at Poor Dell, Horseshoe Lane (in the area of Cart Path), which were knocked down to build the Leisure Centre.