Watford (/ˈwɒtfərd/ (listen)) is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, 15 miles (24 km) northwest of central London.
The town developed upon the River Colne upon land belonging to St Albans Abbey until the 16th century. During the 12th century a charter was arranged allowing a market, and the building of St Mary’s Church began. The town grew partly due to travellers going to Berkhamsted Castle and the royal palace at Kings Langley. A mansion was built at Cassiobury in the 16th century. This was partly rebuilt in the 17th century and option country house was built at The Grove.
The Grand Junction Canal in 1798 and the London and Birmingham Railway in 1837 resulted in Watford’s immediate growth, with paper-making mills such as John Dickinson at Croxley, influencing the improvement of printing in the town. Two brewers, Benskins and Sedgwicks, amalgamated and flourished in the town until their suspension in the late 20th century. Hertfordshire County Council designates Watford to be a major sub-regional centre. Several head offices are based in Watford. Both the 2006 World Golf Championship and the 2013 Bilderberg Conference took place at The Grove.
Watford became an urban district below the Local Government Act 1894 and a municipal borough by inherit of a charter in 1922. The borough, which had 90,301 inhabitants at the times of the 2011 census, is estranged from Greater London to the south by the parish of Watford Rural in the Three Rivers District. Watford Borough Council is the local authority bearing in mind the Mayor of Watford as its head – one of forlorn 18 directly elected mayors in England and Wales. Watford elects one MP for the Watford constituency. Prior to the start of this constituency in 1885, the area was allocation of the three-seat constituency of Hertfordshire.