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Welwyn Garden City A Short History

Welwyn Garden City was the vision of social reformer and town planning pioneer Sir Ebenezer Howard. It is internationally acclaimed as a fine example of planning and landscaping.

WGC town centre

Welwyn Garden City was built soon after the First World War according to the vision of Sir Ebenezer Howard, founder of the Garden City movement. Howard planned 'a town designed for healthy living' where people could live, work and raise their families away from the miseries of congested cities. People coming to live here would enjoy working and living within easy reach of the countryside and have their own gardens and open spaces. These ideas later inspired the 1946 New Towns Act and the towns that followed.

Today the population is over 42,000 and Howard's name lives on with the main town centre thoroughfare named Howardsgate and the modern indoor shopping complex The Howard Centre. Great attention has always been paid to landscaping, with residential and commercial areas laid out along tree lined roads. The neo-Georgian style town centre has a large department store and many branches of major chain stores are located in and around the Howard Centre which opened in 1990.

The town has developed into a thriving international business centre where many influential companies enjoy the advantages of a quality location.

View of Parkway through magnolias

There are excellent leisure facilities including the 126 acres Stanborough Park containing boating and sailing lakes. The Gosling Sports Park is a superb venue for cycling, athletics, squash and tennis. It also has a ski-slope and golf driving range. There is an 18 hole public golf course at Panshanger and the Campus West Arts and Conference Centre has a theatre, indoor roller-skating rink and conference facilities.

Parkway in the town centre is the jewel in the crown with its famous fountain built for the Coronation in 1953, majestic close cut lawns and colourful embroideries of flowers. Maurice de Soissons in his definitive history of Welwyn Garden City 'A Town Designed for Healthy Living' said "To walk in the Garden City today is as always the best way to appreciate it."

Howard Centre
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