Answers to Questions


Farraline House, Watford, 19th/20th century

March, 2005




Peter Child (peter_child @t of Northampton writes:  I have just found out that my grandfather, William Robert Slade at one time lived at Farradine House in Farradine Road, Watford before moving to Cardiff Road Watford.  I understand the house has since been demolished. However I tried to check the location of Farradine Road in Watford and cannot find it on the maps. I am told the road still exists and the correct spelling may be Farraline.  Do you have any details on the house or location?.

Street and Place Names in Watford states the Farraline Road was part of Wiggenhall Road until 1898 and was named after a house called Farraline. Farraline Road is marked on modern online street maps such as multimap - and is so short that it is abbreviated on the display to "Far. Rd" (link). In fact it is now one side of what is, in effect, a roundabout with houses in the middle, which is the site of regular traffic jams - especially when Watford FC play at home at their ground in Vicarage Road

I checked it out in the 1881 census - It is described as Farraline House, Watford Field, and unfortunately the only person in residence on the night of the census was a 77 year old Letitia Gardener "Domestic Servant in Charge of House". The 1882 directory lists it under Miss Smith, Farraline, Colney Butts - so a quick look at a contemporary maps seemed appropriate.

The above map of the area is from old-maps and was published in 1877. The current "roundabout" is approximately the triangular area at the top of Colney Butts. with the bottom edge being Farraline Road, the road from the south being Wiggenhall Road.  By 1900 the area along much of Vicarage Road would have been a mass of terrace houses. The area between Colney Butts and the Workhouse, now hospital (SW corner of map) is where the Watford FC football ground is.

I also did a quick check on some Post Office/Kelly's directories of likely entries.

1851 Mrs Bailey Smith Field Cottage
1855 Mrs Bailey Smith Field Cottage
1866 Mrs Bailey Smith Watford Fields
1882 Miss Smith Colney Butts
1884 Miss Smith Colney Butts
1890 Archer Farr L.R.C.P. Edin. Farraline, Vicarage Road
1895 Mrs Farr Farraline, Vicarage Road
1899 Joseph Hill Farraline, Wiggenhall Road
1902 Neville Robert Sworder Farraline, Wiggenhall Road
1908 William King Farraline, Wiggenhall Road
1912 William King Farraline, Wiggenhall Road
1914 Charles Campbell Farraline House, Vicarage Road
1917 Charles Campbell Farraline House, Vicarage Road
1922 Reginald Wynn-Owen Farraline House, Wiggenhall Road

 I have not checked for later enteries

It is interesting that the house is never listed as actually being in Farraline Road, although numbered properties are listed there from about 1900. The building marked with a ? fronts Wiggenhall Road immediately opposite the start of Farraline Road. If the plot to the north of the ? was part of the property it also had a frontage on Vicarage Road.

Unfortunately I could find nothing linking the Slade family to the house in the period you mentioned (1900-1927) but the rapid turnover of occupants could mean they were there between "directory years". You may be able to get a better idea of the size of the property (or at least the number of servants) by checking the 1891 and 1901 census returns.

April, 2005

Sue Giddins (suegiddins @t writes: In 1891 my Grt Grt Aunt Selina Beament was a Lady's Maid for Elizabeth Farr at Farraline. The census gives Farraline as being in Ladys Close & the next house is Manville, Vicarage Road.

May, 2006

Philip Elsen (philip.elsen @t Hi this is spooky hearing about this. I lived in Farraline road with 4 brothers until we had a fire (house #5). My mother remembers the house and it was demolished to make way for a one way road and also to link Wiggenhall road to Vicarage road. If you want anymore info I am sure my mother would be able to help.


Farraline House, Watford, 1917/8

February, 2010

Moira Cholerton (moiracholerton @t of Hertford: My mother's family lived in Farraline House from about 1918 to 1924. the house, which was covered with ivy, had a 'day nursery' and a 'night nursery', both upstairs. There was quite a large garden and a yard with a stable and other outbuildings. The children had to be quite brave to get up into the stable loft where they played.

The children used to make camps under the creeper that you will see from the photo grew up against the house. The people in the photo are my grandmother, Nellie Edith Owen and her daughter, the late Ruth Wynn Owen (she has several 'claims to fame' - try a Google search with her name) and in the pram, my late uncle, Eric Wynn-Owen. The photo must have been taken between 26 February 1917, when Eric was born, and 26 June 1919, when my mother was born.

My mother recalled that in those days there were small shops along Vicarage Road, backing onto the house. The stationers was owned by a well-known amateur footballer (I don't know his name!), the sweet shop by a Mr. Ticknel who was blind and opposite these, on the corner of Merton Road, was a butcher who looked after the family pets - bantams, chickens, cats and a dog - when the family were away.

My grandfather, Reginald Wynn Owen, took his young family away from Farraline House in 1924, after his wife had died of cancer. Reginald was an architect who came south to head the newly formed architecture department of the L.N.W.R. One of his most distinguished works was the War memorial at Euston Station. Also, quite recently, a copy of a panorama he drew in his native Anglesey of the mountains on the mainland has been erected on a plinth on the seafront at Beaumaris; the original was about 2 metres long.

Eventually the family returned to live in Watford which was where I was born & raised. I have marked on a map where I remember the house to be.

May, 2011

Catherine M. Mulvey (rdf1914 @t writes from Northern Ireland: I used to live in Liverpool Road, Watford, until 1975 and according to my parents house deeds the house was in the Colney Butts estate?  Can you tell me why the area had this name please?

Colney Butts has had the name for a long time - and is recorded as Colneybutt at the time of Henry 7th and as Conybuts in a rental of 1606. I have found no explanation of the name, but the Butts (place for archery practice) by the River Colne seems a real possibility.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

February 2010   Picture and additional information from Moira.  Position marked on map
May 2011   Note on Colney Butts