In Kelly's Hertfordshire Directory for 1912 Albert Warren is listed as a Photographer at 73 Vicarage Road, Watford. (He was not there in 1917.)
Val Jones (val2007 @t talktalk.net) supplied the above early 19th century postcard (published by Warrern, Watford) and wrote:
William Godman and Emma Bates, my great-great grandparents, lived in Watford Heath for years according to the census. William (I assume it's him, although I know I shouldn't assume anything in genealogy!) was there in 1851, but the Bates were there in 1841, and widowed Emma was still there at No. 17 in 1901. Also at this time their daughter, Ellen Brumby, lived at No. 14 with her 2 boys, my granddad George and his brother Arthur, presumably going home from London after her husband died, aged 28 of rheumatic fever. I ran off the whole 1851 census for Watford Heath and there were 33 families, so must have been quite a few houses then. I also see that Thomas Bates, possibly Emma's Uncle, was a Victualler in 1851 but in 1861 it mentions the Royal Oak. I wonder if he was the first landlord!
Another connection is that my granddad George (not a publican, but a commercial artist for Crosse & Blackwell) did some pub signs in his spare time. I know he did one for the Fighting Cocks, St Albans, also one for the Horse & Chains, not far from Watford Heath (maybe it was just his local).
The book Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses records T. Bates as being at the Load of Hay Public House in 1851, moving to the Royal Oak by 1861. It says:
The history of the Royal Oak seems to reflect quite closely that of the nearby Load of Hay. It too, was built on manorial waste and the first recorded landlord (in 1861), T. Bates, was also the first landlord of the Load of Hay some ten years earlier. The House was one of the first beerhouses in the Watford area to obtain a beer licence, presumably suggesting that it was reasonably well thought of. The house was known locally earlier this century as the Crocked Chimney.
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