News
News

Bookmark this page to keep up-to-date with what's happening at Watford Museum. We'll also include information about other interesting local and historical events.

15.06.07: The history of slavery and abolition commemorated

As part of the commemorations of the bicentenary of the abolition of the Slave Trade Act, Watford Museum is hosting an exhibition by the Watford African Caribbean Association. 'A Journey in History - Slavery and its Abolition' will be on display from Saturday 23rd June to Friday 31st August 2007 in our Space2 gallery.

The Watford African Caribbean Association will also be running a series of workshops to accompany the exhibition, details of which can be found on our activities page.

14.06.07: Inspirational Allotments

An exhibition of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, inspired by Watford's allotments, will be on display at the Town Hall from 9th July to 7th September 2007. For further information, please see the Space2 pages.

13.06.07: Summer Rock

Are you in a band or would you like to join one? If you are aged fourteen or over, the Rock Project is for you! Run by Hertfordshire Music Service in collaboration with Base1 Music, the project will be taking place at Watford School of Music on Monday 30th July to Thursday 2nd August. For further information, please see the activities page.

Leaflet containing information about the new Watford Art Market: click to enlarge (PDF file, 544Kb)

31.05.07: New Art Market to open in Watford!

Watford's Arts Development Team is pleased to announce that an Art Market featuring work by local artists will open on Saturday 2nd June in the town.

The market starts at 10.00am and finishes at 4.00pm every Saturday, in the area in Charter Place beside Watford Market and the YMCA. The market promises to be a new feature for Watford that art-lovers won't want to miss!

30.05.07: More Friends talks

On our activities page, you can find details of Friends of Watford Museum talks taking place later in the year, covering everything from Autum festivals and Christmas customs to Watford Football Club. As ever, entry to the talks is free for Friends of Watford Museum, or £2 for members of the public.

29.05.07: Open for business as usual

Visitors to Watford Museum might be surprised to see scaffolding on the outside of the building, but the museum is open for business as usual. The scaffolding is there because major refurbishment is being carried out on the outside of the museum's Grade II listed Georgian building.

10.05.07: Georgian food and dining

Discover the dining habits and menus of Georgian England at a fascinating talk by Adam Smith for the Friends of Watford Museum on Friday 18th May at 2.00pm. Did you know that Georgians dined in the early afternoon and would happily serve roast beef, rabbit fricassee and gooseberry pie as a single course? Admission is free to Friends of Watford Museum or £2 for the public.

09.05.07: Get creative this half-term!

On our activities page you can find out more about the museum's ever popular arts and crafts workshops for eight to twelve year olds, taking place on Thursday 31st May and Friday 1st June. They're always popular, so book your place now!

04.05.07: Harebreaks Wood goes online

The Friends of Harebreaks Wood have launched a website where you can find out more about this local nature area and upcoming events. You can visit the site at www.harebreakswood.org.uk.

25.04.07: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Auditions are taking place for an amateur production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by a well-known local theatre group that's looking for new members.

The auditions will take place on 28th June at 8pm at the Pump House, Local Board Road, Watford, and the production will run from 12th to 18th November.

For further details, please contact Hilary Rhodes: hilary.rhodes@stantonbury.org.uk or 01923 233211.

17.04.07: Wine, women and astronomy

Don't miss the latest talk - 'Wine, Women and Stars - people and astronomy' - by popular speaker and Friend of Watford Museum, Richard Westwood, on Thursday 26th April at 7.30pm. As usual, entry is free for Friends of Watford Museum, or £2 for members of the public.

13.04.07: Big Draw rewarded!

Members of the Watford Museum team at the Drawing Inspiration ceremony at the British Museum on 4th April 2007

Watford Museum received a 'highly commended' award at the prestigious Drawing Inspiration ceremony held at the British Museum on 4th April. The award was in recognition of the success of the event we created for The Big Draw.

In October 2006, 1,312 events took place in 1,100 venues across the UK. Out of all these Big Draw programmes, Watford Borough Council with Watford Museum, Watford Grammar School for Girls and The Harlequin Centre gained a Highly Commended Award for Dream Landings. The prize included a cheque for £50 and a commemorative certificate drawn by top illustrator and campaign patron Quentin Blake.

In the photo above, you can see Michael Corley (Theatre Is), Marion Duffin (Arts and Heritage Manager, Watford Museum), Quentin Blake (illustrator and Patron of the Big Draw), Sarah Priestley (Heritage Officer, Watford Museum) and Samantha Schneider (Arts Development Officer, Watford Borough Council).

12.04.07: Find out more about Fairtrade

You are invited to a free information session by the Watford Fairtrade Town Steering Group as part of Adult Learners Week.

The sessions, which take place on Saturday 19th May and Friday 25th May, include information and activities relating to the Fairtrade concept and what it means for Watford to be a Fairtrade Town. For more information, have a look at the activities page.

11.04.07: Satisfaction with museum on the rise!

An impressive increase in satisfaction with Watford Museum has been highlighted in a recent survey, with results improving from 33% in 2003/04 to 41% in 2006/07.

The results were part of a Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) survey that was carried out independently on behalf of Watford Borough Council to find out what residents think about the range of services the Council provides.

13.03.07: Be inspired by Watford's allotments!

Watford Borough Council in partnership with Watford Writers are running a series of writing workshops using Watford's allotments as inspiration. This is a great opportunity to get some excellent tips and advice from a highly experienced adult and children's fiction and non-fiction writer, journalist and creative writing teacher. The workshops are suitable for all budding new writers as well as those with some writing experience, ages sixteen and over.

For more information on the content of the workshops and how to book your place, have a look at the activities page.

12.03.07: Easter Arts and Crafts

On the activities page, you can find details of Easter arts and crafts workshops at Watford Museum, for children aged eight to twelve. Our half-term workshops proved to be very popular indeed, so you'd be well advised to book your place without delay!

08.03.07: A Fairtrade Town

The town of Watford was awarded Fairtrade Town status at a celebration on Monday night at Watford Museum. Many of the individuals and organisations that have worked so hard to raise the profile of Fairtrade were at the event and enjoyed displays and samples of Fairtrade goods, Starbucks Fairtrade coffee and even a Fairtrade cake! Congratulations to everyone concerned, in particular the Watford Fairtrade Steering Committee.

Supporters gather at Watford Museum for the presentation of Fairtrade Town status
Supporters pack the gallery for the presentation.

The presentation of Fairtrade Town status is made to Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill
The presentation is made to Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill.

Cutting a cake to celebrate the awarding to Watford of Fairtrade Town status
The celebratory cake is cut!

The Starbucks team provided Fairtrade refreshments for the celebration
Jamie and the Starbucks team provided free Fairtrade refreshments to the guests.

02.03.07: 'Three Cities' at Space2

Watford Museum's Space2 gallery is now showing an exhibition of drawings by local artist John Knight. Entitled 'Three Cities', the exhibition features drawings of Watford and two of its twin cities, Nanterre and Mainz, and is the culmination of a year-long project involving a number of visits to each of the cities. The exhibition runs until 5th May.

23.02.07: Fairtrade Fortnight

The annual Fairtrade Fortnight begins on Monday, 26th February, and Watford has been granted Fairtrade Town status by the Fairtrade Foundation after nearly three years of campaigning.

Many of the Supporter Groups who have helped to achieve this status will be holding special events to raise awareness of and promote the use of Fairtrade products, and we've added details of these events to our activities page. You can also sample some fairly traded wares at the museum all year round, as we sell Fairtrade drinks including tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Enjoy!

22.02.07: Drawing Inspiration Award

Watford Borough Council with Watford Museum, Watford Grammar School for Girls and The Harlequin Centre will receive a prestigious Drawing Inspiration Award in recognition of the success of the event we created for The Big Draw. In October 2006, 1,312 events took place in 1,100 venues across the UK. Out of all these Big Draw programmes, Watford Borough Council with Watford Museum, Watford Grammar School for Girls and The Harlequin Centre gained a Highly Commended Award for Dream Landings.

An exhibition of artwork on pillowcases in John Lewis' Bedding Department revealed personal histories. Shoppers, museum visitors and an entire year group from Watford Grammar School for Girls made drawings to explore their own journeys and dreams.

The award will be presented at a ceremony hosted by the Campaign for Drawing at the British Museum on 4 April 2007, where the project partners will receive £50 and a commemorative certificate drawn by top illustrator and campaign patron Quentin Blake.

The Big Draw sweeps the UK each year with a drawing bonanza, involving over 350,000 people in exhilarating, and often extraordinary, creative activities. Children, parents, grandparents, football supporters, conservationists, designers, artists, cartoonists and scientists meet in venues ranging from castles to shopping centres, national galleries to village halls, libraries to hospitals, universities to nature reserves - to draw with charcoal, paint, mud, even skateboards and robots!

Sue Grayson Ford, Campaign Director, commented that "Watford Borough Council with Watford Museum, Watford Grammar School for Girls and The Harlequin Centre fully demonstrated the Big Draw's aims of bringing people together, engaging them creatively and supporting active learning - all through drawing. I am always amazed how organisers with limited resources but unlimited enthusiasm can expand the boundaries of drawing for all of us".

21.02.07: African Expressive Arts workshops

Mind in South West Herts have organised a series of African Expressive Arts workshops at Watford Museum. Get a taste of Zimbabwean culture through African drumming and percussion, African harmonies and African dance, and boost your confidence while having fun in the process with Butshilo. For dates and booking details, please see our activities page.

19.02.07: Apsley Paper Trail

A reminder that this Friday brings a Friends of Watford Museum talk on the Apsley Paper Trail, at 2.00pm. The talk will provide a fascinating introduction to this unique project that explores the industrial heritage of paper making in the area. As always, entry is free for Friends of Watford Museum, or £2 for members of the public.

08.02.07: By popular demand!

Our arts and crafts workshops at half-term have proved so popular that we've scheduled some afternoon sessions to meet demand. For further information, please call 01923 278333 before it's too late!

06.02.07: Watford's very own Magnum PI

Those who are old enough (particularly the ladies) will remember Tom Sellick as Magnum PI. With his famous moustache and Hawaiian shirt, he solved the crime and brought the criminals to justice.

Well, Watford's very own Magnum PI is coming to the next meeting of the BBC RaW book club which takes place in the Directors' Suite at Vicarage Road Stadium, on Tuesday 20th February between 6 and 8pm. Peter Scott, a local PI and former police officer will be sharing his experiences and offering you the chance to find out what it's like to be a real private investigator.

If you would like to come along, the club would be delighted to see you. Simply meet by the Vicarage Road ticket office at 6pm on the day. The event is free and open to any adults who might find it interesting. Free parking is available in football club car park at the end of Occupation Road. For more details, contact toby.friedner@bbc.co.uk or call him on 01582 637 444.

31.01.07: More Friends talks

We've added details of forthcoming Friends of Watford Museum talks to the activities page. Taking place in May, June and July, you can find out about Georgian food and dining, the history of Kings Langley, and the history of hats. As ever, entry is free for Friends of Watford Museum, or £2 for members of the public.

25.01.07: Arts and Crafts in February

On the activities page, you can find details of half-term arts and crafts workshops at Watford Museum, for children aged eight to twelve. On Thursday 15th February, you can design and create you own individual piece of artwork using paper mosaic, then, on Friday 16th February, you will be able to create an amazing piece of artwork based on landscapes using pastels.

Book your place now!

24.01.07: Arts and Business Awards

Watford Museum are part of a partnership that have nominated for an Arts and Business Award for the Dream Landings project. We've been short-listed in the Ogilvy Arts and Business Creativity Award and the Arts and Business Diversity Award. For more information, visit the A&B website.

22.01.07: 21st Century Allotments

Starting today and running until 24th February, the latest exhibition at the Space2 gallery at Watford Town Hall offers a chance to see "Watford's Allotments in the 21st Century" through the eyes, and cameras, of local allotment holders and photography groups.

Don't forget that Watford Museum's Space2 gallery is continuing its exhibition of "Watford through the eyes of local and visiting artists", also until 24th February.

17.01.07: My life in the R.A.F.

Don't forget that the latest Friends of Watford Museum talk takes place tomorrow at 2.00pm, when George Biggs will be talking about 'My life in the R.A.F.' As usual, entry is free for Friends of Watford Museum, or £2 for members of the public.

15.12.06: Season's greetings!

Everyone at Watford Museum would like to wish you a happy Christmas and New Year. Watford Museum will be open as usual on Saturday 23rd December, and then will close over Christmas and New Year, opening again on Thursday 4th January.

14.12.06: A rare chance

From today, you can look at Watford through the eyes of local and visiting artists at a new exhibition in our Space2 gallery. The exhibition is a rare chance to view some of the museum's outstanding art collection and has been curated by Dr Laurie Harwood, who has also written a catalogue for the exhibition, available from the museum gift shop.

11.12.06: A day in the life...

Don't forget our latest Friends of Watford Museum talk on Thursday at 2pm, a revealing glimpse into a day in the life of Watford’s Town Centre Manager by Richard Chewter. As with all of our Friends talks, entry is free for Friends of Watford Museum, or £2 for members of the public.

05.12.06: More at Space2

Starting on 14th December, we have a new exhibition in our Space2 gallery, offering a fascinating look at Watford through the eyes of local and visiting artists. Before then, until Saturday, there's a last chance to catch the "Confusionism" exhibition. It's well worth a visit when you're fed up of the Christmas shopping!

Meanwhile, work by Benjamin Oppong-Danquah can be seen at the Space2 gallery at Watford Town Hall until 2nd January. Benjamin was one of the artists who contributed to the recent Dream Landings exhibition at John Lewis; you can look at a glorious gallery of the Dream Landings pillowcases on the Watford Junction website.

10.11.06: More Space2 exhibitions

We've just added details of two new exhibitions at Watford Museum's Space2 gallery: "Confusionism" will be running until 9th December, before a chance to look at Watford through the eyes of local and visiting artists from 14th December. Why not pay a visit?

31.10.06: Photography competition winners

Having received lots of entries to the "Watford's Allotments in the 21st Century" photography competition, we're delighted to announce the winners, as judged by representatives from XRR Photographic Society and Watford Borough Council.

Overall Competition Winner:
Sue Hazelton
"One potato, two potato, three potato, four"

'One potato, two potato, three potato, four' by Sue Hazelton

Winner - Allotment Holder:
Alison Wallace
"Still standing"

'Still standing' by Alison Wallace

Winner - Camera Club Member:
John Hyde
"Pretty enough to eat"

'Pretty enough to eat' by John Hyde

13.10.06: Connecting up a diverse town

The postcard publicising the Watford Junction website at www.watfordjunction.org.uk

Watford Museum is delighted to announce the launch of its Watford Junction website at www.watfordjunction.org.uk. Watford Junction celebrates the diverse local communities in Watford, bringing together history, information and stories in one place for the first time.

The collection of stories for this website is a key part of Watford Junction, and the site has been designed to make it incredibly easy to add your own memories, information and photos; we're looking for anything that tells the story of how people came to Watford or gives a flavour of the town's many cultures, past and present. There are also other projects and events detailed on the site, and we hope that as many people as possible will get involved.

09.10.06: Sorry!

Apologies for the technical problems at the end of last week, which were due to circumstances beyond our control and caused the site to be unavailable from Thursday until Saturday. All should be well again now.

28.09.06: Make fantastic animal lanterns!

On Saturday 28th October, come and make fantastic animal lanterns at Watford Museum between 1.00pm and 4.00pm. A great event for all the family! Further information and booking details can be found, as always, on our activities page.

27.09.06: World Mental Health Day

On the activities page, you can read about a series of events around World Mental Health Day on Tuesday 10th October. There'll be an art exhibition brought to you by Guideposts Trust, awareness-raising talks and information, and fun free drop-in workshops, all of which are open to the general public.

26.09.06: Space2 update

We've just updated our Space2 section with details of a new exhibition of work by Sophie Wilson, running until 28th October at Watford Museum. Come and have a look!

25.09.06: Watford's Big Draw - Dream Landings

Three free drawing events are coming up in October as part of The Big Draw. The events run alongside the "Dream Landings" exhibition of artwork on pillowcases, expressing the dreams of people immigrating to the United Kingdom, which will take place at John Lewis in the Harlequin Centre from Friday 6th October. For more information, have a look at our activities page.

18.09.06: Watford's Allotments in the 21st Century

Watford Borough Council is working with the Borough's allotment holders and photographers on a project to capture their thoughts and visions for allotments in the 21st Century.

Prizes in this competition are as follows:

  • First prize: £30 voucher to spend at SRS Micro Systems and a fantastic Crumpler "Ben's Pizza XL" camera bag
  • Two runner up prizes of £20 SRS Micro Systems vouchers for one allotment holder and one photographer
  • Entrants' images may also be included in an exhibition at Watford Town Hall early in 2007 and in future publicity for the allotments.

This project would not be possible with the dedicated work of the members of the local photography group XRR Photographic Society and the generous support from the photography shop SRS Micro Systems.

To be eligible for this competition you must be either an allotment holder or a member of XRR Photography Society of the Watford Camera Club.

For more information, please contact the Arts Team on 01923 278238.

05.09.06: Half-term workshops

A full programme of half-term workshops to celebrate Black History Month is now on our activities page. Run by the Watford African Caribbean Association, these workshops are for ages seven to twelve and will run at St Mary's Church and Watford Museum. All of the workshops cost £2 per child, and advance booking is vital!

Poster for the 50th anniversary celebrations of Watford's twinning friendship with Mainz in Germany (PDF file, 170k)

01.09.06: Fifty years of friendship

2006 is the fiftieth anniversary of Watford's twinning friendship with Mainz (Germany). The link was set up in the aftermath of World War 2 and has gone from strength to strength over the years.

In Watford, the anniversary is being marked especially over the weekend of September 16th and 17th, with the centrepiece being two joint guitar concerts featuring the Hertfordshire Guitar Orchestra and musicians from Mainz. These will take place at St Luke's Church, Langley Way, Watford (Saturday 16th at 3.00pm) and St Matthew's Church, Eastbury Road, Watford (Sunday 17th at 7.30pm). Admission is free.

To reserve tickets, please contact Stephen Fletcher, International and Twinning Officer, Watford Borough Council (tel: 01923 278328, e-mail: stephen.fletcher@watford.gov.uk).

In addition, we will also be holding an exhibition of photographs from Mainz, which will be held at three venues across Watford: Watford Grammar School for Girls, the Newton Price Centre and the Town Hall Customer Service Centre. The exhibition will run from September 16th to 30th, with opening times to be confirmed.

21.08.06: Banging the drum

Watford Area Youth Service's summer inclusive programme visited the museum recently for a drumming workshop led by Steve Laffy. A great time was had by all, as you can see from our photo gallery.

15.08.06: More Friends of Watford Museum talks

Details of two more Friends of Watford Museum talks are now on the activities page. Mike Sibley will be talking about crime prevention on Thursday 19th October at 2.00pm, then 'Hertfordshire Ghosts' will be Ruth Stratton's topic on Thursday 9th November at 7.30pm.

07.08.06: A trail for charity

NCH committee members and friends from Trinity Methodist Church, Whippendell Road on a High Street Trail

Our popular programme of High Street trails has recently been raising money for a good cause. As you can see from the photo above, Sarah Priestley guided a group of NCH committee members and friends from Trinity Methodist Church, Whippendell Road around the town centre's historical landmarks, with the proceeds going to the children's charity.

NCH logoNCH has been supporting children and young people affected by poverty, disability, abuse or neglect for over 135 years. Today it is the UK's leading children's charity, working with more than 160,000 vulnerable children, young people and their families in nearly 500 projects (centres) each year. Although NCH is a national charity it works locally here in Hertfordshire through the following projects.

The Phoenix Project and Herts Leaving Care Project are based in Hatfield and provide accommodation and support to young homeless people aged 16-21 years and those leaving the care of the local authority in Hertfordshire. The range of services includes a drop-in centre; advice on issues such as benefits, education, employment and housing; one-to-one support and provision of accommodation.

Short Breaks Adrian Road in Abbots Langley provides residential and day care respite services for families living in the South West Herts area who have a child/young person age 5-19 with a severe disability.

Stevenage Family Support Centre provides support and services for children (up to 10 years of age) and their families, who are, through stress or other factors, experiencing difficulties. It provides a range of resources including parenting groups, women's groups and holiday play schemes, groups for parents for whom English is a second language and a 'drop-in' facility.

10.07.06: Space2 update

We've just updated our Space2 section with details of two new exhibitions, running from July to September at Watford Museum and Watford Town Hall. Not to be missed!

News archives

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September 2004 to March 2005

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August 2005 to June 2006