I was delighted to be asked to write a foreword to this booklet on the "Grove".
As you will see from reading the excellent and informative account of the history of this distinguished house, there has been a house on this site since 1400, although the present "Grove" is an eighteenth century building. Over a period of nearly seven hundred years from 1294, when mention was first made of the Grove Estate, a multitude of changes have occurred. Amongst these changes perhaps the most important has been the rise of nearby Watford from a collection of cottages clustered around the River Colne to the thriving modern town that it is today, helped by the spread of the railways and the industrial revolution in the last century.
It was in part due to the arrival of the railway at Watford, making travel much simpler, that the habit of the weekend as we know it today was initiated. In mid-Victorian times it was known as "Saturday to Monday visiting" and my forebears, when living at the "Grove", started inviting friends down from London to stay for these short periods instead of previous visits lasting a week at a time.
At times over this long period it is obvious that the house has witnessed many fascinating and interesting events and it is particularly gratifying to me that my family had been connected with its history for almost two hundred years of its life.
I congratulate the editorial team on the research that they have put into this historical booklet and wish the venture great success. I would also like to express my appreciation to the present owners, the British Railways Board, and to the Principal at the Grove, for their foresight in bringing this lovely old house to our notice.
The Earl of Clarendon
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