This film is part of Free

Changing Watford 1975-76

In 1978, Prince Charles arrives to open the new YMCA in Charter Place. This film goes back to chart the Ј12 million development which transformed the heart of Watford.

Amateur film 1978 17 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


Watford Cine Society started filming in 1974 when the main clearing of the Red Lion Yard area had been completed and the market relocated to a temporary home in a car park. During the development in 1974 and '75, cameras have special access to the sites and attend the 'topping out' ceremony of the highest of the complex which will house the YMCA.

Whilst the sound quality is rather distorted, the film doubles as a brief history lesson on the growth of the town and is a unique and valuable record of 70s Watford for the archives. Cine Society cameras also capture the aftermath of a fatal train crash in January 1975 when the Manchester to Euston train collided with a stationary passenger train at Watford Gap. But the film finishes on a positive note with the official opening ceremony of Charter House by HRH Prince Charles on 21st February 1978.