Hereford City Heritage

The Mayor’s Chain

Alfred WAtkins

Alfred Watkins was born on January 7th 1853 at the Imperial Hotel in Widemarsh Street, which was then owned by his father, Charles Watkins, who also owned the Imperial Flour Mills, and Watkins Brewery. Alfred Watkins was a self-educated man who ‘knew everything about something and something about everything’. He contributed both nationally and locally in a great many fields. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1910. He invented the first exposure meters, including the ‘Bee’, so named after his passion for bee-keeping. He also developed the Vagos loaf, which was a type of brown bread, and very popular in its time. Alfred Watkins was a leading member of Hereford’s local historical society, the Woolhope Club, and had written many articles for the Club’s Transactions. He is best known for his controvercial studies of Ley Lines, and had amassed considerable ‘evidence’ to support his findings. His well known book on the subject, ‘The Old Straight Track’, first published in 1925, is still in print.