WGC MILESTONES

1919

Ebenezer Howard Purchases Land

Sir Ebenezer Howard OBE, the English founder of the garden city movement, is known for his publication To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, the description of a utopian city in which people live harmoniously together with nature.Ebenezer Howard purchases 590 hectares (1,458 acres) of open Hertfordshire countryside near the village of Welwyn for £51,000 at auction. This was the first parcel of development land. Pioneer Company formed.

1919

1920

Louis de Soissons appointed

Louis de Soissons - Garden City Architect BustLouis de Soissons appointed master planner and the first town plan adopted.

1920

1920

Welwyn Garden City Limited formed

Welwyn Garden City Limited formed

1920

1921

Welwyn Stores Opens

Welwyn Stores Opens

1921

1922

Building Houses

The rural District Council began first council houses in Elm Gardens and Applecroft Road.
1922

1922

Model village

The Daily Mail Model village built
1922

1923

The Backhouse Room opens

The Backhouse Room opens in Handside Lane. It is named after Edward Backhouse, Director of Welwyn Garden City Limited who was killed in a climbing accident.
1923

1925

White Bridge opened

White Bridge opened.
1925

1925

New Railway Station Opens

Official opening of Welwyn Garden City railway station by Cabinet Minister About Neville Chamberlain.
1925

1926

Shredded Wheat Factory Opens

Shredded Wheat Factory formally opened by 4th Marquis of Salisbury.
1926

1928

Death of Sir Ebenezer Howard

Sir Ebenezer Howard OBE, the English founder of the garden city movement, is known for his publication To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, the description of a utopian city in which people live harmoniously together with nature.Death of Sir Ebenezer Howard after suffering a chest infection and stomach cancer.
1928

1931

Population

Town population totalled 8,586

1931

1932

Barn Theatre founded

The Barn Theatre Trust LImited Handside Lane was established.

1932

1935

New Parish Church

St Francis of Assisi church established as the Garden City’s Parish Church.

1935

1939

New Department Store

Opening of the new Welwyn Department Stores

1939

1940

Properties Damaged in Air Raids

Some houses destroyed and damaged in air raids.

1940

1949

The Development Corporation

Welwyn Garden City taken over by the Development Corporation. The Chairman was R G Gosling.

1949

1951

The Last Passenger Train

Last passenger train runs into Hertford North from Dunstable.

1951

1953

New Fountain

Coronation Fountain erected in Parkway.

1953

1956

New Arts Centre

Digswell Art Centre opened.

1956

1959

New Sports Stadium

Gosling Stadium opens.

1959

1962

Louis de Soissons Dies

Louis de Soissons - Garden City Architect BustDeath of Louis de Soissons.

1962

1962

New Police Station

Police Station in Stonehills closed, relocated to new Police Station on the Campus

1962

1963

QEII Hospital

Queen Elizabeth II opens the QEII hospital.

1963

1965

C B Purdom Dies

Charles Benjamin Purdom - Image may be subject to © CopyrightDeath of Charles Benjamin Purdom, one of the town’s founder on 8 July 1965 in Welwyn Garden City at the age of 81.

1965

1966

Commission for the New Towns

Development Corporation wound up, handed over to Commission for the New Towns.

1966

1966

First CONTACT exhibition

First Contact exhibition held.

1966

1970

The Queen Mother Visits

HM The Queen Mother attends WGC Golden Jubilee.

1970

1970

New Park

Stanborough Lakes park opened.

1970

1970

Population Totals 40,451

According to the census, the town population now totalled 40,451.

1970

1973

Sir Frederic Osborn Dies

Death of Sir Frederic Osborn, one of the town’s founders.

1973

1973

New Public Library

Sir John Betjeman opens the Welwyn Garden City Public Library.

1973

1974

New Council Takes Power

Welwyn Hatfield District Council took executive power.

1974

1976

New Sports Hall

Gosling Stadium Sports Hall opens.

1976

1983

John Lewis Arrives in WGC

John Lewis Partnership acquire Welwyn Department Stores.

1983

1990

New Shopping Centre

Howard Centre completed.

1990

1990

Richard Reiss Gardens Opens

Richard Reiss Gardens at junction of Parkway and Russellcroft Road opened.

1990

1996

The Anniversary Arch

The Anniversary Arch, commemorating the 75th anniversary of WGC, is unveiled.

1996

1999

Swimming Pool Closes

Stanborough outdoor swimming pool closes its doors for the last time.

1999

2001

Town Population Totals 43,252

According to the census, the town population totalled 43,252.

2001

2011

Police Station Closes

Police Station on the Campus closes.

2011

2012

Main Library Reopens

The main library on the Campus reopens following major refurbishment, after a year in the Howard Centre.

2012

2014

Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation Formed

Welwyn Garden City Centenary 1920 - 2020Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation Limited formed, a registered charity aiming to oversee and lead, the organising of the Centenary celebrations. 

2014

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Disclaimer

The Foundation can accept no responsibility for the organisation or regulation of any satellite events arranged to mark the centenary of Welwyn Garden City. This includes but is not limited to public liability insurance, health and safety issues (including risk assessments, Performance Licenses and safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults), transport, hiring of facilities, and any costs associated. The use of the Foundation name and logo does not infer any specific oversight or involvement of the Foundation unless stated.”