‘I visited the Watford estate Anthony Joshua grew up on and it has changed but still holds its roots’

Watford is a Hertfordshire town home to numerous well-known celebrities. The town is situated northwest of London and many Hertfordshire residents will know that the town has been home to some of the UK’s finest talents and A-list celebrities over the year.

Many famous faces have started out here in Watford before going on to the bright lights of stardom. There must be something in the water here, because many Watford babies have gone on to big success.

Vinnie Jones, Gareth Southgate, Geri Horner, Coronation Street and I’m A Celeb star Sue Cleaver, and Bradley Walsh are just a few of the celebrities born in the town. Another famous face who got their start in Watford is former two-time unified heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua.

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Anthony Joshua grew up on Meriden Estate in Watford. AJ went from a life of crime to becoming the unified two-time world heavyweight champion and one of the biggest role models for people of all ages.

In 2009, Joshua was potentially facing 15 years in prison. Now fast forward 13 years, he is a multi-millionaire, recognised all over the world and is the one best heavyweights in boxing.

Understandably, it’s quite easy to forget your roots, but for not for AJ whose love for Watford has never disappeared. AJ spent most of his years in Hertfordshire when growing up. He was born in Watford on October 15, 1989 to parents Yeta and Robert Joshua.

His mother is Nigerian, whilst his father is a mix of Nigerian and Irish. Joshua was one of four children who all grew up on the Meriden Estate in Watford.

Meriden Estate seemed like a usual residential estate filled with lots of young families
Meriden Estate seemed like a usual residential estate filled with lots of young families

AJ grew up on Meriden Estate in the Watford suburb of Garston. The area is well outside the centre of Watford, situated around 3.7km away from Atria Watford.

AJ’s estate has a chequered past, as the former boxing world champion has revealed in the past when he was involved in a life of crime. However, the estate has seen huge improvements and HertsLive saw more of a residential area with smiley residents.

The area is less than 500m away from Garston train station and saw a tight-knit community in the area. There was numerous school children walking home from Stanborough Primary, Kingsway Infants School and The Grove Academy as well as many dog walkers striding along the Meriden Estate roads.

However, the estate still holds the characteristics of its roots but on my visit there seemed to be a tight-knit community feel to the estate. The area had many residents out walking and talking, and it seemed like the place may have changed from a high crime rate area of the past.

AJ visited where he grew up in September, where he was spotted offering words of wisdom to local youngsters. The boxer was driving around the area and stopped by to inspire the kids to work hard and achieve their dreams.


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