Connections with the Grand Junction Canal (from 1798) and the London and Birmingham Railway (from 1837) allowed the town to grow more rapidly, with paper-making mills, such as John Dickinson and Co.
Today Watford is a major regional centre for the northern home counties.
Both the 2006 World Golf Championship and the 2013 Bilderberg Conference took place at The Grove hotel.
In the 12th century the Abbey was granted a charter allowing it to hold a market here, and the building of St Mary's Church began.
The town grew modestly, assisted by travellers passing through to Berkhamsted Castle and the royal palace at Kings Langley.
A big house was built at Cassiobury in the 16th century.
This was partly rebuilt in the 17th century and another substantial house was built nearby at The Grove.) is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, situated 17 miles (27 km) northwest of central London and inside the circumference of the M25 motorway.
It is not to be confused with Watford, Northamptonshire which is 55 miles to the north.
The town developed along a road running uphill from a ford of the River Colne.
The land belonged to St Albans Abbey until the 16th century.
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