Genealogy in
Berkhamsted Watford

The Photographs of 

William Henry Croft of Berkhamsted & Watford


William Henry Croft was born at Watford in 1866, and was living in Hamper Mill yard, Watford, in the 1871 and 1881 censuses. He was the son of William Croft and  Eliza Parrot, with both families working in the paper making industry.

He married Helen King in London in 1888. and in 1891 he was recorded as a photographer living in the High Street, Berkhamsted.  The couple had three daughters who were born in Berkhamsted - Ida Adelaide (1889), Mabel (1890) and Amy Dora (1892) - and two more children  - Dorothy (1897) and Arthur (1900) - who were born in Watford.

In both the 1901 and 1911 censuses he described himself as a photographer, and was living in Watford, first at 2 Aynho Street (which was built between 1890 and 1893 so he may have moved into a newly built  house), and later at 90 Chester Road.

The rubber stamp on the back of the photograph almost certainly had a short road name which was removed and the address 7 Holywell Road added in pencil. This could indicate that he lived at 7 Holywell Hill between the dates at 2 Aynho Road and 90 Chester Road.

A check of the Hertfordshire County Directories between 1880 and 1937 failed to mention him, either as a photographer or as a private resident. This would suggest he worked freelance from home, and was not one of the more important photographers in Watford. [It may well be possible to track him down from the collection of street directories at the Watford Central Library.]

He was probably the William H Croft, aged 74 whose death was registered in Watford in April/June 1940.

Horse & Trap taken by W H Croft of Watford circa 1900

This photograph, mounted on board, and very faded, was recently advertised on ebay and I decided I would "rescue" it and try and find out more about it and the photographer who took it.

While the image has "recovered" well there are no obvious clues as to where it was taken (unless the clothing of the driver represent some kind of livery) and the photographer would appear to be a comparatively minor one. I would guess the picture was taken circa 1905.

If you know of other pictures by W. H. Croft, particularly if they can be at least approximately dated, or give his address please tell me.