In recent weeks in the nostalgia pages of the Watford Observer, there have been numerous pictures as to how the pond in The Parade has changed since Queen Victoria was on the throne.

Seeing pictures of the pond when it had a ramp sloping down from the footpath and into the pond so that horses could drink reminds me of a story my dear old mate called Reg once told me many years ago. Reg worked for Dumbletons the butchers who had their shop and business in Lower High Street, Watford.

Reg worked as a delivery man for Dumbletons, delivering meat and sausages to customers by means of a horse drawn carriage. Reg delivered to customers the length of Watford High Street and then along St Albans Road. When Reg would reach the pond, it would be time for the horse to have its nose bag of hay and crushed oats, and for Reg to have his sandwich and a cigarette.

After the horse had finished the nosebag, Reg would allow the horse to enter the pond via the slope for a drink. On this particular day the horse decided it would go further into the the middle of the pond for a drink while Reg turned his back for a few seconds. Reg then had to remove his butcher’s apron and wade into the pond to reach the horse and carriage. On reaching the horse, Reg said the water was up to his waist and the meat and sausages were now afloat in the carriage.

Reg said that when the horse and carriage and himself were back on dry land, it was a good job Reg had decided to remove his butcher’s apron before entering the pond because the apron became very handy at drying off the meat and sausages. I asked Reg if there were any complaints from customers after Reg decided to carry on delivering the meat and sausages after they were afloat in Watford Pond. Reg said ‘no, no complaints’.

Reg was excellent at working with horses and for many years had also worked for Benskins as a drayman working with a pair of Benskins Clydesdale horses who pulled their heavy drays.

Ernie Mackenzie

Gammons Lane, Watford