An album of Victorian photos of Watford

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The Watford Observer has teamed up with Watford Museum and its curator Sarah Priestley to take a journey back to the town’s past through items or places of historical significance.

We’ve reached number 27 in ‘a history of Watford in 50 objects’ and the museum’s volunteer archivist Christine Orchard has made this week’s selection, choosing a little printed album of concertina pages containing 12 photographs of Watford taken by the local photographer Frederick Downer.

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The front cover of the album

Christine said: “We believe the album may have been either sold by, or a gift to valued customers of a prominent department store of the time, Pearkes and Sons.

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“Their advert appears on the reverse of the album – the only other one is inside for Mr Downer himself.

“Pearkes had a number of stores on the High Street and were primarily located in the stretch of the High Street between Queens Road and Water Lane.

A Pearkes advert on the back cover

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A Pearkes advert on the back cover

“Images include views of the St Mary’s church, the Market Place, Cassiobury and other large houses. It is hard to date but most likely in the 1890s. Many of the images were reproduced as postcards in later years.”

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Watford Museum is currently closed under lockdown restrictions but you can still pay it a virtual visit at www.watfordmuseum.org.uk or find the museum on Facebook and Instagram @watfordmuseum

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