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Welwyn Garden City

Welwyn Garden Citizens' Handbook 1948

Author: (anon)

Published: 1948 by Welwyn Publications Limited

Format: Paperback 7¼" by 4¾" with 215 pages

The style of this handbook is very similar to the 1946 one but there are many more pages due to the inclusion of a directory of roads and directory of residents. However, the only illustrations in it are a few in advertisements. An interesting feature of the handbook is the large list of thriving organisations within the town.

The first item in the handbook (after the contents list) is a short article entitled Mr Silkin Takes Over. This article outlines the chronology of the events (between 24th September 1946 and 26th March 1948) surrounding the government decision to take the development of Welwyn Garden City out of the hands of WGC Ltd and place it in the control of a Development Corporation to be created under the New Towns Act (1946). This decision was against the wishes of WGC Ltd and involved a public enquiry. The author of the article is not given.

Included in the handbook is a Directory of Roads which gives, for each house in each road, starting with Applecroft Road and ending with Youngs Rise, the name of the head of the household. There is also a Directory of Residents which is a single alphabetic list of names of heads of households giving the street address for each name. In the back of the guide is pasted a large pull-out street map (20" by 14") of Welwyn Garden City.

The Silkin article, and the lists of members of the U.D.C. and of Welwyn Garden City Ltd, are given as text below. Underneath those, the whole handbook is presented in image format.


Mr Silkin Takes Over


Below is a list of the events connected with Mr Silkin's decision to take the development of WGC out of the hands of WGC Ltd, and place it under the control of a State Development Corporation.

24 September 1946

WGC Urban Council decided at secret meeting to approach Mr Silkin, Minister of Town and Country Planning, to take over WGC under the New Towns Act.

22 January 1947

Mr Silkin advised members of WGC Council and WGC Ltd, that he proposed to take over the town.

6 June 1947

Sir Theodore Chambers, Chairman of WGC Ltd, had his first meeting with Mr Silkin to discuss the proposal.

9 June 1947

Sir Theodore wrote to Mr Silkin offering to hand over the nearly completed town on an independent valuation.

13 August 1947

Mr Silkin rejected the offer, which he characterized, however, as "generous".

28 October 1947

Letter read to WGC Urban Council in which Mr Silkin announced his intention of taking the development of WGC out of the hands of WGC Ltd and placing it, together with Hatfield, under the control of a Development Corporation under the New Towns Act.

5 November 1947

Local authority delegates visited Ministry for consultation.

6 November 1947

Mr Silkin told a public meeting in WGC why he was taking this step.

26 November 1947

Minister announced that his proposal was supported in principle by all local authorities concerned.

6 January 1948

U.D.C. put forward names of eight of its members, plus Mr J. H. Lloyd and Mr F. J. Osborn, for membership of Advisory Committee, which was later to become the Development Corporation.

9 January 1948

Maps of designated areas for Welwyn and Hatfield New Towns issued by Ministry, along with 4,000 word memorandum.

16 January 1948

WGC Ltd, gave notice of appeal to Mr Silkin's proposals.

30 January 1948

WGC Ltd, issued statement condemning Mr Silkin's statements about the Company as "a complete travesty".

6 February 1948

WGC Ltd shareholders passed what was described as "a vote of confidence" in the directors.

27 February 1948

Names of Silkin New Town Advisory Committee announced, R. G. Gosling (chairman), D. H. Daines, P. E. Longmore, G. R. Lowe, J. H. Macdonnell, Mrs L'Estrange Malone, H. L. R. Matthews, C. G. Maynard.

21 and 22 March 1948

Public inquiry under New Towns Act held at the Cherry Tree. Miss Evelyn Sharp, of the Ministry, gave an assurance that the Development Corporation would purchase "everything that the Company wished to dispose of".

26 March 1948

Mr Donald Newton revealed closely-kept secret of U.D.C.'s secret meeting of September 1946.




The Urban Council


The U.D.C. has a Labour majority of three. The fifteen members are -

Handside Ward:

W. C. Pritchard (Con)
Gerald Dickson (Con
Mrs Joyce Hattie (Con)
A. W. Richardson (Ind)
John Chear (Ind)
Lady Angwin (Ind)
Frederick Garrod (Lab)

Peartree Ward:

William H. Playle (Lab)
Leonard O. Bowmer (Lab)
Arthur Vickery (Lab)
A. E. Luddington (Lab)
J. McConalogue (Lab)
H. Shepherd (Lab)
S. W. Palacio (Lab)
D. H. Daines (Lab)

Clerk: B. H. Deamer
Chief Financial Officer and Rating Officer: H. Willard
Engineer and Surveyor: R. V. Scoffham
Housing Manager: F. D. Matthews
Sanitary Inspector: M. Stockdale
Collecting Officer: J. W. Hooper

General Rate in the £ for the current year: 19s. 0d.
Water Rate: 1s. 6d. in the £ on the net annual value of a dwelling house.

Welwyn Garden City Limited

The Estate is owned by Welwyn Garden City Limited, which was formed in 1920 to acquire and develop the land for the town.


Sir Theodore G. Chambers, K.B.E., F.S.I., J.P. (Chairman)
R. L. Reiss (Vice-Chairman)
C. E. Lumb
Maj. Gen. J. Buckley, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C.
A. K. Graham
L. T. M. Gray, Ph.D.
J. F. Eccles, O.B.E., A.C.A. (Managing Director)

Secretary and Estate Manager: F. M. Page
Chief Executive Officer: H. T. Tigwell
Social Development: Charles Dalton, M.A.
Chief Accountant: G. A. Floyd
Consulting Architect: Louis de Soissons O.B.E., F.R.I.B.A., S.A.D.G.
Engineer: J. Skinner, A.M.INST.C.E.

Offices: Wigmores North, Welwyn Garden City

Telephone: Welwyn Garden 3456



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WGC street map 1948
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