Photographic portrayal of changes in Rickmansworth, Croxley Green and Chorleywood

What started out as an idea about writing his family’s history is about to lead to the publication of a 14th local history book for a prolific author.

John Cooper’s Lost Rickmansworth, Croxley Green & Chorleywood is due to be published on August 15.

The 96-page paperback features 160 pictures of well known, and lesser known, places that have been lost in the three towns and villages over the past 100 years.

The back cover of the book reads: “Fond memories are evoked of the local cinemas, long since gone, where for a few hours one could escape to the celluloid world of make-believe in the smoky atmosphere of the auditorium.

“Sadly, industries such as Walker’s boatbuilding, Moussec’s sparkling wine and the John Dickinson paper mills have similarly disappeared, all irreplaceable and much missed.

“However, many buildings have survived such as Croxley House, The Cedars and Chorleywood House, though all now used for a different purpose to what they were originally.”

A former quantity surveyor and office manager, John took early retirement in 2002. With an interest in local history and collecting old photographs and postcards, the Watford author took up writing four years later. The outcome was A Harpenden Childhood Remembered: Growing up in the 1940s and 50s.

Watford Observer:

John said: “It all started because I thought about writing up the family history which was quite interesting, but once I got into it I’d realised that I knew all about Harpenden where I was born – the teachers, the shop, the locality – and maybe I could change tack and I may have the formation of a book but not realising there was any possibility of it getting published. But it did get published and I was absolutely thrilled to bits with it.”

That book was followed by Making Ends Meet: A Working Life Remembered, about John and his working life, and since then he has had 11 more books published on the Hertfordshire area, primarily Watford and Harpenden.

Watford Observer:

This image of Moor Park Mansion is one of the 160 featured in the book

His latest publication presents a photographic history of Rickmansworth, Croxley Green and Chorleywood, showing not only the industries that have changed or disappeared totally, but also street scenes and places of entertainment.

It should appeal to anyone who lives in the area or knows it well, as well as those who remember it from the past.

Lost Rickmansworth, Croxley Green and Chorleywood is due to be published by Amberley Publishing on August 15, priced £15.99.

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