Books on Hertfordshire

Welwyn Garden City Past

by Tony Rook

Phillimore,  2001

Hardback, 134 pages

ISBN   0 86077 141 6

From the Dust Jacket

WELWYN GARDEN CITY was, just over eighty years ago, an entirely rural area. When the elderly Ebenezer Howard, its 'inventor' (as he described himself), bought the land on which to build a 'new town' it was a place of scattered farms and woodland. Far from the madding crowd and right off the beaten track, there were no made up roads or public utilities. Despite the fact that it took central government nearly half a century to comprehend Howard's brilliant concept, his Garden City's influence on town planning has been so great that its history is often discussed uncritically.

Why did the experiment take place here?

What were the motives of those involved' Was it really a success? In this perceptive and trail-blazing new book, a well-known local historian and archaeologist, answers these and many other questions in the first balanced, comprehensive account of Welwyn's entire past, from pre-history to the present day. He looks at the site in its geographical context and chronicles the use of the land, its settlement, the landowners, travel, farmers, faith, education, industry and recreation. He also looks in great detail at the establishment and management of the town and its subsequent development.

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