Peter Jeffree's Photos of the House
Foundation of the organisation was announced in the local press in 2011.
Grade II* - (known as Two Star) -Particularly important buildings of exceptional interest and of outstanding importance “ Quote from the Online Planning Offices website.
We started out with an idea that the house could become an arts centre (see plans in our feasability pages) along similar lines to the 'The Courtyard' in Hertford providing space for local artists to work and exhibit. The Friends of Little Cassiobury is run independently of Watford Borough Council by committee elected at an annual meeting.
The cost is met by subscriptions and donations. As a member you will help to shape the future of the Dower House and be involved in helping to care for Watford's heritage.
There are two grade II* listed buildings in the centre of Watford. Both are listed by English Heritage as at risk. They are usable, architecturally interesting buildings that are part of our local history which has received little investigation prior to 1850 when Watford began to grow into a modern town. They are:-
Little Cassiobury was part of the the Essex's estate from the 1670s to the 1920s. From continued ownership and residence by one (extended) family of around 250 years there must be surviving records that shed light on who lived in Cassiobury House and Little Cassiobury House . Their household accounts and correspondence will help to shed light on hitherto neglected areas of Watford's history. They are said to have been keen patrons of the arts.
We began with a wide ranging discussion of possible uses for the building, and rejected many of them for a variety of reasons. In doing so we found our main purpose and the foundation of a means of fulfilling it. First we looked at the existing layout of the building its most likely usages prior to its being used as offices by the Herts County Council. These before plans can be viewed in our Plans Existing pages.
We are a broad based group who want to find a 21st century use for Little Cassiobury that combines community and arts use with local history use. Our ideas for future use are encapsulated in our Feasability Plans pages.
The artist Rev. John Brown said:-
“ I am very pleased that the committee think they can use the sketch of Little Cassiobury House. I did it in 1982 on the spot. I used it for my Christmas card that year, as every year I draw a building which particularly strikes me. That year I 'discovered' Little Cassiobury. (you have to know it is there as it is not placed prominently). I believe it was a sort of local office for the County Education Dept. then. But it is a very fine building and must be not just preserved, but used. It seemed to me it was a real little gem in Watford. “
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