The history of Welwyn Garden City is a remarkable one as it is one of only two garden cities ever built in Britain (the other, Letchworth, is also in Hertfordshire), following the ideas of the reformer Ebenezer Howard. He bought land in rural Hertfordshire at auction in 1919, formed a private company which became Welwyn Garden City Limited and, with a group of dedicated supporters, began in 1920 to build the town. It was to be a town planned with the social conditions of its inhabitants in mind. His plans included plenty of open space, good quality, low density housing with gardens and local industry and amenities for its inhabitants. His ideas became the foundation for the worldwide Garden Cities and New Towns Movement. The town's early development was beset with problems, the company finding few backers for their scheme in the hard times of the 1920s and 1930s. Despite this the town grew and from 1948, under the Development Corporation and Commission for New Towns saw great postwar expansion. This fascinating collection of over 200 photographs illustrates the town's growth from the fields of 1920 to the modern community of today.
The book has been compiled using photographs from the collection of Welwyn Garden City library and researched with the assistance of local residents from the Photo History Group who have also donated their own photographs for inclusion. Their combined knowledge and memories have been invaluable as many members have lived here since the very early days of the town. The book is a tribute to the memory of the town's founders.