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.

The 13th item in ‘a history of Watford in 50 objects' is a painting that will rekindle memories for so many of us of a late afternoon shopping in the High Street.

Sarah said: "Artist Gordon Hales was born in Derbyshire, but Watford was his home for 45 years, and the subject of some of the works he generously donated to Watford Museum a couple of years before his death in 1997.

"This painting is one of the most popular in our collection as not only is it beautifully painted, but it is so evocative for many of our own High Street memories.

Read more: A picture underlining the history of Watford's parks

"Watford High Street has changed a lot over the years, as all high streets do. It must have been astonishing for Watfordians when they first set foot in Clements, not only our first department store but thought to be one of the first purpose built department stores in the whole country.

"And this year, shopping has been transformed for all of us. We were all shocked to lose John Lewis - or Trewins as I still called it - and more change will follow. But it’s up to us to love our local businesses and shops who have had an unbelievably tough year and yet have often become centres of community kindness.

"I’ll be bearing that and the memories this painting stirs in me when I’m Christmas shopping this year."

Watford Museum is currently closed due to government restrictions, but you can still find out lots about Watford’s history on the museum's website at or follow it on Facebook and Instagram for regular posts @watfordmuseum