Ebenezer’s visions for a ‘Group of Slumless, Smokeless Cities. You can read more about Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City idea here. 

Settling into our office in Welwyn Garden City has been an exciting time (you can read all about our big transition in this blog). We’re in a different building, with different furniture and in a different location! Yes, that’s right, AfB has said farewell to Hatfield and hello to Welwyn Garden City. In this week’s blog, we thought we’d share some facts about the wonders of Welwyn Garden City…

The ‘Garden City’

So before talking about Welwyn, let’s discuss the ‘Garden City’ – after all it sounds quite an unusual concept! The Garden Cities and Town Planning Association has defined the Garden City as:

“A town designed for healthy living and industry of size that makes possible a full measure of social life but not larger, surrounded by a rural belt; the whole of the land being in public ownership, or held in trust for the community.”

These Garden Cities began sprouting up across England in the 1890s in reaction to overcrowded and industrial pollution in the expanding Victorian cities, London in particular. Planned on a concentric model, these garden cities contained a central park, ringed by a glass shopping arcade and halos of housing and schools. The Garden City aimed to encapsulate the best of both city and countryside.

A bit about Welwyn…

Welwyn Garden City was built with a real dream and purpose behind it. So much so, that it has an actual Founder, Sir Ebenezer Howard. Howard is considered a major pioneer of the Garden City, calling for the creation of planned towns that combined the benefits of the city and countryside. In 1920, Howard founded Welwyn Garden City after his successful experiment of building Letchworth Garden City. In 1919, Howard arranged for the purchase of land in Hertfordshire that had been identified as a sustainable site. It didn’t take long for construction to begin and just before Christmas in 1920, the first house was occupied. Welwyn Garden City has developed throughout the years. A shopping mall named after Howard, was built in the 1980s, incorporating the original train station.

If you visit our offices by train, you’ll walk through the shopping centre. More recently, a new hospital was completed in June 2015, offering outpatient diagnostic and ante-postnatal services.

We hope you enjoyed finding out about Welwyn Garden City. The team at AfB are super excited to be exploring our new location. Why not pop down and see it for yourself and there is always a coffee and a friendly face here if you wanted to come and say hi! If you have any interesting facts about Welwyn Garden City, or any recommendations of places to visit, then we’d love to hear about them on Twitter! @affinityfb