Thomas MEADOWS' Mausoleum at Watford, 1781


Mausoleum in memory of Mr THomas Meadows, Watford - Post Card by Downer


Card published by Downer, Watford.

The card was sent by "Alf" to a "Miss A. Atkins" at Goldingtons. It was posted in Rickmansworth on 2 August 1907 and the message was "hidden" by mixing up the lines. See "Hidden Messages."

A Mausoleum in a Garden

This quaint and interesting relic of old Watford stands in the grounds of the Lime Tree Hotel, in High Street. These grounds, prior to the cutting of Clarendon Road, formed part of the Watford House Estate, which was at that time owned by Mr. Thomas Meadows, and this Mausoleum was erected in his memory in 1781. It is built of brick, coated with cement, and stands 15 ft. high, there are two vaults or chambers, the principal one being about 10 ft. square. The other is entered by descending a flight of steps from a doorway cut in the wall of the first vault, and this terminates with a large icehouse. As will be seen in the photo, a skull is carved over the entrance, and on the inner wall facing the same, is fixed a marble tablet bearing the following inscription: This Mausoleum was erected to the Memory of Thomas Meadows, Esq. Anno MDCCLXXXI.

Many large houses in the 18th century had ice houses, where ice which formed in the winter on nearby ponds and rivers, was removed and stored in specially constructed pits where it could be used to provided ice, and cold storage, in the summer. This was at a time when the River Thames often froze over in the winter.

At the time the card was sent Goldingtons was the residence of Peter Clutterbuck, J.P., lord of the manor of Sarratt. It was situated in a wooded district near the church, with a fine view of the valley of the Chess. In 1901 the family was supported by governess (for the older children), 2 nurses (for the young children?), cook, kitchen maid, parlour maid, under parlour maid and 2 house maids. In 19i1 there were 6 domestic servants. It seems likely that Miss A. Atkins was one of the domestic staff in 1907, but was not there in 1901 or 1911. I could see no obvious marriage between an Alfred and a Miss A. Atkins in the Watford area in the next few years and have not made any further attempt to identify the individuals.

April 2014   Page Created