Cassiobury Park has an incredible history. Not only is it one of the remnants of the greatest lost estates in the country, it is now one of the most popular parks in the country and locally is the largest park in Hertfordshire, and the principal park of its primary town, Watford. It covers an impressive area which is twice the size of Hyde Park in London.
Arthur Capel was made the Earl of Essex and in time moved to Cassiobury. The Capels had a major impact on Cassiobury. By 1800, the 5th Earl of Essex employed noted and respected architect James Wyatt to rebuild his house. Successive landscape gardeners were employed here, from Moses Cook to Humphry Repton, with the landscape captured by J. M. W. Turner on visits to Cassiobury. By 1881, the parkland was already well established with fine trees, woodland walks, with many deer in the park, often traded with the royal deer parks at Richmond, Bushy and Windsor Great Park. By the beginning of the twentieth century, decline had set in and large areas of the park had been sold off to Watford Borough Council for public parkland - the beginnings of the public park we know today.
Cassiobury Park: The Postcard Collection takes the reader on an evocative journey into the park's rich past through a selection of old postcards that offer a fascinating window into its history and continuing development.
Paul Rabbitts has over twenty years of experience in designing, managing and restoring urban parks across the UK. As a qualified Landscape Architect and current Head of Parks for a SE Local Authority, he is also a published author and regular contributor to journals and periodicals. Currently head of parks for Watford Borough Council, he is also project director for the GBP6.5 million restoration of Cassiobury Park, as well as an author on books on Regent's Park, Richmond Park, the royal parks and bandstands, on which he is acknowledged as a UK expert. He has written many books on parks and architecture. He lives in Leighton Buzzard. Sarah Kerenza Priestley is curator of Watford Museum, the largest repository for art and information on Cassiobury. With a BA Honours degree in Medieval and Modern History from the University of London, a PGCE in Secondary History from the University of Durham and an Associateship of the Museums Association, she has carried out extensive and original research into the history of the Cassiobury estate for over twelve years. Watford-born Sarah is an acknowledged and recognised expert on the subject, and was responsible for the fundraising and acquisition of A View of Cassiobury Park, by John Wootton in 2002 - the largest single purchase in Watford Museum's history.