Watford Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Watford Museum

Watford, England, United Kingdom

This museum is devoted to the history of the local area and that of the town of Watford itself.

Amy Irvine

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Watford Museum

Watford Museum covers the history of the local area in Hertfordshire and that of Watford itself, reflecting the diversity of life in this town located just outside London.

History of Watford Museum

The museum opened in 1982 and is housed in a Georgian town house built for the Dyson family around 1775, though there are records of Benskins Brewery operating on the site since 1750.

The house was later bought in 1867 by Joseph Benskin and housed the offices of the brewery. The site then continued to operate as a brewery until it was acquired by Ind Coope in 1957. The mansion house was listed as a Grade II-listed building by English Heritage in 1952.

The mansion house later became the site of the Watford Museum and was officially opened on 14 March 1982 by the Watford-born actor and comedian, Terry Scott, who appeared in seven Carry On films.

Watford Museum today

The museum’s collection includes fine art (including paintings by Turner), sculpture, displays about local history, industry and archaeology, heritage, industry and sport. Particularly interesting are the Cassiobury Collection of Fine Art, featuring the Earls of Essex and Cassiobury Park. The history and the growth of the town from its transformation from a small market town to the bustling centre it is today is also examined, including information on Watford during the wars, and the sites brewing history.

Watford Museum also has exhibitions dedicated to Watford Football Club and has an impressive collection of footballing memorabilia and a stage costume worn by former chairman and lifelong fan of Watford FC, Elton John.

Around a third of the museum’s collection is on display. As well as its interesting displays, the museum has a full calendar of events, from action-packed activities for children to themed walking tours of Watford High Street.

Watford Museum is owned by Watford Borough Council, and has free admission.

Getting to Watford Museum

Watford Museum is located on the lower part of Watford High Street. Watford is easily accessible from the M25 and M1 motorways, and there is easy access to the museum from both the Watford Junction and High Street railway stations (the latter is only 300 yards away).​

There is a small car park behind the museum where spaces can be booked in advance, but there are also several public car parks in the centre of Watford, all of which are within easy walking distance to the museum.