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Welwyn Garden City
Author: Mrs D. Frankl (compiler and editor)
Published: 1953 by Ed. J. Burrow & Co. Ltd.
Format: Paperback 8½" by 5½"
with 184 pages
There are 32 black and white photographs of people and buildings illustrating the text, and a few more in advertisements. There are two pull-out maps: one of Hertfordshire 7" by 9", and one of Welwyn Garden City 14" by 10".
The first article in it is a short 2-page history of
the town by R. L. Reiss. This is followed by a seven-page chronology of
main events 1919-1953 entitled Milestones. Pictures of R. L.
Reiss can be found in other reviews here
Director of Welwyn
Garden City Ltd., 1920-1948, and
A THIRD of a century has elapsed since the foundation of the town. Having seen the growth from the start, I have been asked to write a brief history.
Though founded in 1920, the town's real origin dates from 1898 when Mr. (later Sir) Ebenezer Howard published his book Garden Cities of Tomorrow. In it he drew attention to the social evils caused by the continuous growth of London and other large towns and advocated the establishment of new towns of limited size, planned both for residence and industry. He termed them "garden cities" because he believed in the marriage of town and country.
In 1903 he founded Letchworth and went to live there. When travelling to London he decided that the land on which Welwyn Garden City has now been built would be eminently suitable as the site for a second garden city - if only the land could be purchased.
In May, 1919, the late Lord Desborough offered a portion of this land at auction. Howard, although nearly seventy, immediately asked some of his friends (of whom I was one) to provide money to enable him to bid for it. As a result he secured the first 1,458 acres and a few days later secured a further 230 acres by agreement.
The earliest minute book records the following:
In 1920 Welwyn Garden City Limited was formed and the first Board consisted of Sir Theodore Chambers, K.B.E. (Chairman), Mr. (later Sir) Ebenezer Howard, the Earl of Lytton, Col. (afterwards Sir) Francis Fremantle, Sir John Mann, K.B.E., Mr. W. T. (later Lord) Layton, and Messrs. J. R. Farquharson, C. B. Purdom, R. L. Reiss, Bolton Smart, and Samuel Smethurst. The following were the principal officers: Mr. F. J. Osborn, Secretary; Mr. Louis de Soissons, Town Planner and Architect; Capt. W. E. James, Engineer; Mr. C. W. Care, Accountant.
When the land was acquired there was no railway station between Hatfield and Welwyn North. There was no water supply, main drainage, electricity, or gas. There were a few farm houses and cottages. "The Waggoners", "Beehive", and "Woodman" were small public houses. The only roads were Handside Lane, approached from the Great North Road by way of Tinkers Hill (now Lemsford Lane), Bridge Road and Brockswood Lane, Peartree Lane and the old Stanborough Lane which extended over Twentieth Mile Bridge along Woodhall Lane and so through to Cole Green Lane, with a fork southwards down to Hatfield Hyde. All of these were country lanes. The population was about 400.
Early in 1920 a hutted camp was constructed on what is now the 'Campus' to accommodate building trade workers and some army huts were erected where the Council Offices now stand to act as the Company's offices, together with a hut to be used as a meeting room.
In May, 1920, house building commenced in Handside Lane and in Brockswood Lane, and the first new house was occupied in December.
Since then the town has grown until it now has a population of over 20,000 with a variety of industries, shops, three banks, public buildings, playing fields, an open-air swimming pool, and a vigorous social life.
Development was slowed down from 1929-1932 owing to the world economic depression. After that, until 1939, development increased and in the two years before the war about 700 houses were built, together with the new Stores building and a number of factories.
The outbreak of war again slowed down development, although the population increased rapidly owing to evacuation and the transfer of war-workers. When the war ended, the Council proceeded as rapidly with house building as the Ministry would allow and the company built some 50 houses. The company's activities, however, were checked in 1947 by the indication of the Minister of Town and Country Planning, Mr. (now Lord) Silkin, that he had decided to designate Welwyn Garden City as a New Town under the New Towns Act, 1946.
The Order finally designating the New Town, together with the appointment of a development corporation, took place in the summer of 1948 (see "Milestones" below). Since then the rate of development has gradually increased again.
The influence of Howard's ideas, together with the practical embodiment of those ideas at Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City, has profoundly affected town planning throughout the world. It is worth recording that the Leningrad Architects' Society elected Sir Ebenezer Howard an 'Honourable Member' of the society, and in a letter the president of the society wrote: "Even now you command here, in our remote land that has sustained so many disasters, fervent adherence of your great idea. We wait for the day to come when it can be put into practice."
In 1936, when President Roosevelt established the first 'green belt towns' in the United States, the official literature explained that the projects were based on the successful experience at Letchworth and Welwyn, and a photograph of Welwyn Garden City was included with the caption 'a model of scientific planning.'
When, in 1946, the then Minister of Town and Country Planning introduced the New Towns Bill he made it clear that the proposals in the legislation were based upon Howard's ideas and the practical experience of Letchworth and Welwyn.
Space does not permit of a detailed history of the town but on the following pages some of the milestones in its history are set out in chronological order.
Of necessity, many important events are left out and I take personal responsibility for the selection. I have though that probably the first seven and the past seven years would be more interesting and these are dealt with rather more fully.
Welwyn Garden City Urban District Council
Council Offices: Bridge Road, Welwyn Garden City
Chairman: Councillor A. Vickery, J.P.
4 Wigmores South, Howardsgate
Chairman: R. G. Gosling, J.P.
Vice-Chairman: C. Gordon Maynard, J.P.
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION HOUSES
There is a professional directory (2 pages) listing accountants, architects, chiropodists, dentists, doctors, estate agent, opticians, osteopath, solicitors, surveyor, teachers of music, dancing, drama and secretarial skills, and veterinarians.
There is a four-page listing of societies and clubs under subheadings Drama, Music, Politics, Sports, and General.
There is a list of youth organisations including scouts, guides, cadets and boys' clubs,
There is a commercial directory which lists local firms and trades unions.
I have not reproduced the above sections here apart from
the following illustrations:
The Grammar School
Photo: R. Thompson
(click image to enlarge)
Drawing of the extensions to the Ludwick Family Club
Architect: Louis de Soissons
(click image to enlarge)
Homestead Court Hotel and Restauraunt
Architects: Louis de Soissons and Partners
Photo: R. Thompson
(click image to enlarge)
Welwyn Department Store
Architects: Louis de Soissons and Partners
Photo: John Chear
(click image to enlarge)
King George V Playing Fields
Photo: John Chear
(click image to enlarge)
Bronze by Kathleen Scott (Lady Kennet of the Dene)
Photo: John Chear
(click image to enlarge)
Parkway from the White Bridge
Photo: John Chear
(click image to enlarge)
Photo: John Chear
(click image to enlarge)
Industry and Commerce in the Garden City
Welwyn Garden City is the home of a famous breakfast dish - Welgar Shredded Wheat. Shredded Wheat was first produced in America over sixty years ago and marketed in England at the beginning of this century. Between 1921 and 1924 sales grew so rapidly that it became necessary to build a factory in England, the newly founded Garden City being chosen as the site. The large factory, a bold new landmark, was opened on March 12th, 1926. Three years later the Shredded Wheat Co. Ltd. became associated with the National Biscuit Company of America which produces not only Shredded Wheat but numerous varieties of branded biscuits and wrapped bread.
1941 to 1947 were difficult business years because, under the Government zoning scheme, the Shredded Wheat Company was excluded from selling in certain areas where sales were strongly established. Zoning came to an end early in 1947 and from then onwards the company has steadily increased its share of the cereal market.
The aim of the company is the production of highest quality fresh food for Britain's breakfast tables, at the lowest cost. Only the finest wheat obtainable is used and constant care during the manufacturing processes maintains the purity and uniformity of the product. An efficient distributing organisation gets the product to the consumer in a factory-fresh condition. Shreddies (flavoured miniature biscuits), introduced this year, are being very enthusiastically welcomed all over the United Kingdom.
I.C.I. - Plastics Division
The Plastics Division of Imperial Chemical Industries Limited, with headquarters at Welwyn Garden City, is one of the youngest Divisions in I.C.I., being formed in 1936 to co-ordinate the Company's plastics interests. In 1933 I.C.I. had become interested in the manufacture of plastics moulding powder in the Garden City through Kelacoma Ltd.'s plant in Broadwater Road and in 1937 the factory site at Black Fan Road was acquired. During the war the demand for I.C.I. plastics for essential government work exceeded the capacity of the Welwyn plants, and manufacture commenced in the North of England near sources of raw material. Today the activities of I.C.I. Plastics Division in the Garden City are largely restricted to research, technical service and administrative activities.
Both thermoplastic and thermosetting resins are manufactured by Plastics Division. 'Perspex' - a thermoplastic - is produced as sheet and tube in transparent and opaque, clear and coloured forms, whilst corrugated 'Perspex' sheets have found important applications for roof lighting. In the form of 'Kallodent' and 'Kallodentine,' polymethyl methacrylate, which is chemically identical to 'Perspex,' is used for the preparation of dentures and artificial teeth. Polyvinyl chloride (commonly known as P.V.C.) is another versatile thermoplastic. It is widely em ployed in the cable industry as a sheathing for electrical cables and in the manufacture of P.V.C. sheet which is well known as an attractive material for curtains, water-proof clothing and tablecloths. I.C.I. also manufactures nylon and the Plastics Division produces nylon monofilament and moulding powder.
Another important plastics material is 'Alkathene,' the trade name for polythene, one of the finest electrical insulating materials. This important thermoplastic material was discovered as the result of research work carried out by 1.C.I. scientists just before the last war. The latest newcomers to the range of I.C.I. plastics are 'Terylene' staple fibre and yarn which are opening up a vast market in the textile world. In March, 1951, the 'Terylene' Council was set up to control the development project but much of the research work is carried out in the laboratories of Plastics Division.
Radio and T.V. by Murphy
Welwyn Garden City is the original home of Murphy Radio. The headquarters are still here, greatly expanded since the early days; but with growing recognition of the quality of its products the company has set up factories at Hirwaun and Skegness to cope with the increased demand. Outside the United Kingdom the picture has been much the same, and daughter companies have been established in Bombay, Durban and Dublin to meet the needs of overseas listeners.
In the last six years television has outgrown its original position as an "offshoot" of radio, and the manufacture of television sets now bulks very largely in the company's activities. There has also been a great expansion in the Electronics Division since the war and the company is energetically engaged on research, development and commercial production in this field. Associate companies make among other things diagnostic and electro-medical equipment for the medical profession and non-destructive testing equipment for industry.
B.C.R. Factories Ltd.
Sandpaper, or coated abrasives as this group of products is more correctly described, is one of the things which the ordinary person does not think of as having to be made, nor does he realise how widely it is used in industry. We have all used a piece of glasspaper to finish off some home carpentry, or emery cloth to clean up a piece of metal work, but not many have used waterproof paper in a flow of water to get the paint work of a motor car to the right finish for the final coat, or seen a floor surfacing machine produce the same effect on a badly worn wood block floor as a mower on a tennis court.
These special types of coated abrasives, and the many others used largely on machines for preparing the surfaces of such widely separated products as furniture and felt hats and ships' propellers and shoe leather, need a high technical skill in manufacture and a scientific knowledge and control of the materials used. For instance, it is not easy to measure the thickness of a film of hot wet glue on a moving piece of paper, part of a reel which may be two miles long, but this and similar problems have been overcome at B.C.R. Factories in their constant efforts to improve the quality and regularity of their material. One of their products, made specially for metallurgical laboratories, uses so fine an abrasive that the coated side is smoother than the paper on which it is made! At the other end of the scale is material coarse enough to trim the roughest welded joint.
Norton Grinding Wheel Co. Ltd.
The Welwyn Garden City factory of Norton Grinding Wheel Company Limited is one of the many Norton plants operating in eight different countries, making the Norton organisation the largest manufacturers of grinding wheels and other abrasive products in the world.
Grinding, the most universal, most basic of all production processes, plays an essential part in the manufacture of motor cars, aircraft engines, locomotives and marine engines as well as in the production of smaller but equally important items such as cutlery, china and glassware and spectacle lenses. In fact it would be difficult to think of a single manufactured article either industrial or domestic in which abrasives have not made possible better quality at a lower price.
More than one hundred trained scientists and technicians are constantly engaged on research for the company. Their work and the rigid control exercised in manufacture from the time the raw materials leave the Norton-owned Bauxite mines in Arkansas, U.S.A., until the finished products leave Welwyn Garden City have combined to make the name Norton the most famous in the field of abrasives throughout the world.
Relative newcomers to the Garden City, State Express bring with them a reputation for quality unsurpassed in the cigarette-manufacturing industry. Their new premises in Welwyn represent the most recent addition to a chain of factories in London, Leeds, Dublin, Holland, Cyprus, and East Africa, all of which have been acquired as a result of the company's policy of world-wide expansion. Since their introduction in the eighteen-nineties, State Express have built up a great prestige throughout the world, as many who have travelled will remember.
Situated in Broadwater Road, the new factory has been converted from what were formerly the A.B.C. Film Studios. The conversion was a major operation, but has proved as successful as was originally envisaged and now State Express have, in their new factory, one that is as well equipped and modern as any. Improved lighting (both natural and artificial), heating and ventilating systems help to make the atmosphere most congenial for the employees.
Apart from key managerial positions, which have been filled from Head Office in London, the factory has been staffed almost entirely by local people, who have adapted themselves particularly well to the new industry. There are excellent canteen and medical facilities and a very flourishing social club to provide for the welfare of the staff.
The photograph shows the view of the factory from the railway. Outwardly the structure of the building is unaltered, apart from the large advertising sign which is rapidly becoming a landmark.
Many people at some time or another have wondered what macaroni is, precisely, and whether it is grown or manufactured. In fact, macaroni products are all manufactured from amberdurum semolina, milled from a special variety of wheat with the highest content of gluten (vegetable protein). Besides protein it contains a starch which is more readily assimilated than that from other available starch-containing foods. Every Crown Brand macaroni product is therefore a pure, easily digested, high energy-value food.
Modern, fully automatic machinery as illustrated on this page is used for the manufacture of Crown Brand Macaroni Products which include long spaghetti, vermicelli noodles, shells, etc.
Expert knowledge of the manufacture and scientific control of the intricate drying process of long spaghetti and macaroni is necessary in order to produce the finest brands in this country:
B.L.M. means Lead
British Lead Mills Ltd. was formed in 1932 and in 1937 became a public company. Due to an aggressive selling policy, the company from its inception expanded rapidly.
At the beginning the company only made ordinary sheet lead and lead pipe for building purposes, but after a year or so the manufacture of chemical sheet lead and lead pipe was begun. The range of the company's products was further increased by the addition of antimonial sheet lead and lead pipe and other lead alloys for the chemical and allied industries. During the war the company also turned out bullet rod, shrapnel balls and 25-pounder drill cartridges and charges, and it did many assembly jobs for the armed services.
After the war the company extended its activities further by the incorporation of refining of lead residues and lead scrap. This was followed in 1950 by the commencement of the manufacture of solder and other lead alloys. The company's plant includes a full size rolling mill, two extrusion presses, refining plant and other ancillary equipment.
Today, therefore, British Lead Mills serve many diverse industries, including the building, battery, cable-making, chemical and allied industries, and the needs of Government departments, with builders' and plumbers' sheet lead and lead pipe, chemical sheet and pipe, antimonial sheet and pipe, silver, copper and tellurium lead pipe, traps and bends, anodes, solder, sections and shapes, lead rod and wire. All products of British Lead Mills Limited are manufactured to British Standard Specifications under laboratory control.
Lincoln Electric's Welding School
The standard syllabus covers a practical three-week course for training arc-welding operators under expert supervision. Work commences with practice in down-hand welding.
The student then proceeds to corner butts and inside fillets on all thicknesses of metals. Vertical and overhead welding occupy the rest of the first week.
The second week commences with a test on the previous week's work and continues with instruction in cast iron, carbon arc, and light-gauge welding. The student then proceeds with the particular type of work he will be required to do when finally trained.
The last week is devoted to practice on previous operations, welding of aluminium, other special applications and a final test on specified metal.
During training stages a series of Lincoln "Arc Welding" films of instructive value are shown to the students in a specially equipped private cinema, after which discussions on various points of the films are handled by technical instructors.
It is interesting to note that in the last five years over 700 students qualified through this school and are now welding in many parts of the world.
Plastra Components Ltd.
Messrs. Plastra Components Ltd., an associate Company of Messrs. Thermo-Plastics Ltd., Dunstable, were established in Welwyn Garden City during the war, when they were engaged solely on the manufacture of aircraft components and produced articles such as calibrated cupola domes, parachute stowages, ducts, windows, fairings, etc.
Since the war, in addition to carrying on with the manufacture of parts for the aircraft industry the firm's activities have broadened to cover other fields. A large range of components for the television and refrigerator industries is produced and the company specialises in the manufacture of displays and signs for advertising. Many new techniques are used in the production of these displays, and the majority of tools, screens, etc., are produced on the premises.
Up-to-date equipment is employed for the moulding, machining and finishing of many plastic materials.
Welwyn Metal Products Ltd.
The firm has been in business at Welwyn Garden City since 1936, and during that time it has been necessary to double the size of the original factory.
The original intention was to carry on sheet metal work specializing in horticultural appliances, but, shortly before the war, a change was made from this type of equipment to office and factory furniture and storage equipment.
Duiing the war the output was almost entirely concentrated on government work, especially on parts of the Churchill tank, but since the war the firm has once again returned to the office furniture field with every success.
The products of this Welwyn factory are exported to most parts of the world and so far it has been possible to reach, and in some cases exceed, the export target figures set by the Board of Trade. In addition, considerable quantities of storage equipment for the home market are manufactured.
Bourne Chemical Industries
Since its inception in 1939, Bourne Chemical Industries Ltd. has been continuously producing lead oxides, more generally known as red lead and litharge. The word 'continuously' is emphasised because the specialised type of plant required for the manufacture of lead oxides necessitates working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for holiday periods.
Formerly, the production of lead oxides was regarded as a hazardous process but the firm's modern plant of scientific design ensures absolute safety for the health of the operatives, together with the highest degree of efficiency in production.
To the general public red lead is familiar as a rust inhibitor, its bright orange-red colour being easily recognised on ships' hulls and various types of steelwork. Red lead, though, has numerous other vitally important usages, chief of these being in the manufacture of crystal glass, china and pottery, accumulators and cables. Litharge is also used by rubber, paint and accumulator manufacturers as well as in petroleum refining and the linoleum industry.
The lead oxides made by Bourne Chemical Industries are renowned wherever they are used, not only by manufacturers in the United Kingdom but throughout the world from Alaska to Zanzibar. The name of Bourne Chemical Industries Ltd. is synonymous with the highest quality of red lead produced, conforming to the British Standard Specification and noted for its purity, uniformity and brilliance.
Welwyn Engineering Co. Ltd.
Welwyn Engineering Company Limited, of Bridge Road East, is an associate company of the London firm, Seal-Less Strapping Ltd. In the Welwyn factory is made the complete range of tensional steel strapping equipment marketed by Seal-Less Strapping Limited. This range includes high-tensile steel strip, in many different widths and thicknesses, rotating strapping tables and the Seal-Less Strapping Machines, which are made in many sizes for different strapping uses. The Seal-Less system of flat band strapping has certain special advantages; no costly separate seals are needed so that time, labour and materials are saved. Undetected pilferage is impossible as Seal-Less Strapping cannot be refastened once it has been undone. Packages strapped in this way are given extra strength and security for the Seal-Less join is very nearly as strong as the steel band itself. Seal-Less Strapping equipment made in Welwyn Engineering Company's works is used all over the world.
Another interesting product of this Welwyn factory is the new "Welwyn" Semi-Automatic Wire Tying Machine. With this machine packages and cartons can be securely wire-bound at very great speed with the minimum of effort. The machine is expertly designed to give the greatest possible reliability.
Other machines manufactured by Welwyn Engineering Company are framing machines for ladies' handbags and eyeletting and punching machines.
Plastics by E. R.Holloway Ltd.
The association of the E. R. Holloway Ltd. group of companies with Welwyn Garden City dates from 1934 when they transferred from Southgate a small factory engaged in the finishing of vulcanite combs.
The story of the progress of E. R. Holloway Ltd. and their associated companies may not be remarkable, but it is typical of that of the many family businesses whose contribution to the prosperity of this country has been so invaluable. A limited company was formed in 1924 and offices were taken in the City of London, but not until 1931 was any manufacturing done, and then it was only the finishing, by processes that now seem crude and laborious, of vulcanite combs. From the time when this small factory of the Barnet Comb Company arrived in the Garden City the manufacturing side of the business began to go ahead until within a few years almost all the goods sold by E. R. Holloway Ltd. were the products of their own subsidiary.
In 1938 the warehouse and offices left the City for the more attractive and convenient site adjacent to the factory. Since then and indeed even before, the record has been one of constant experiment and innovation, and of almost equally constant growth. An injection moulding machine was installed in 1936 and the Barnet Comb Company produced commercially the first injection-moulded comb in this country.
Lustrac Plastics Ltd., a further subsidiary, was formed in 1943 for the manufacture of moulding powders. This in turn proved a success. Not only were its cellulose acetate powders wanted for the group's own products, but a prosperous trade was built up with outside moulding firms. This company has now turned its attention to other materials besides celullose acetate and has extended its activities to include extrusion processes. It is thus able to meet the growing industrial demand for such articles as shaped rods and tubes.
The most recent addition to the group is Hydeway Ltd., a company started in 1949 for the production of welded plastic goods such as wallets, bags and purses. Again healthy progress can be reported.
For over thirty years now, the aim of the directors of this group has been to give a quality and a service second to none. The results speak for themselves. Since the end of the war, in spite of raw materials shortages and of increasing competition, the output of the group has increased by over 300 per cent in volume, and the increase by value has been even greater. Moreover, since a high proportion of its goods are sent overseas, the group has the satisfaction of knowing that it is making its contribution to the nation's export drive.
Throughout its history good relationships have been maintained between management and employees and every attention is given to the improvement of working conditions. For several years now all employees after three months' service participate in a profit-sharing scheme.
Catomance Ltd. may be said to have come to Welwyn Garden City in 1936, though it did in fact do so under the name of Catomance Processing Co. Ltd., with the object of developing the use of a new method of waterproofing textiles. The Company then occupied a single factory in Bridge Road East.
The name of the company was changed to its present title in 1938, when the actual processing of textiles was abandoned in Welwyn Garden City, and efforts were concentrated on the manufacture and sale of the chemical compound itself, which necessitated a small expansion into a second sectional factory adjoining the first.
Between 1938 and the beginning of the war, the range was developed from one single waterproofing compound to about seven different varieties for specialised purposes, and during the war the company's activities expanded rapidly into other fields. A great deal of specialised work was done for all the service departments, but in particular, relations with the Ministry of Aircraft Production were such that the company was, in fact, an official test station for that department.
By 1947 some twenty-five different products were in regular production, covering not only waterproofing but moth-proofing and rot-proofing as well, with a further forty available products for particular specialised work. During the latter part of the war, Catomance Ltd. began the development of an entirely new manufacture which was in fact destined to be a major contribution to textile processing. This body, known as pentachlorphenyl laurate, is a rotproof for all types of textiles, in particular, but it has many other applications as well. It is used on timber, plastics, leather and cork, and has found much favour with the motor car trade for the protection of export vehicles against tropical conditions.
This development is in line with the company's policy of keeping ahead, and as the only firm in the country specialising in the three fields of waterproofing, mothproofing and rotproofing, new products and processes are essential.
By 1951 it was vital to find larger premises, but unfortunately it was impossible to expand at Bridge Road East; finally, in 1952, additional premises were found in Broadwater Road. There a new plant for the manufacture of pentachlorphenyl laurate was set up, with a capacity several times larger than the original one at Bridge Road, and there too went some of the offices and laboratories with their staffs, so as to release space at Bridge Road East for still further productive capacity. The first batches from the new plant came off early in 1953, and steady production is now under way.
Further developments are in hand, and it seems likely that yet more space will be needed before long, for this small but successful and still growing company.
Barcley Corsets Ltd.
It is necessary when giving a résumé of the formation of Barcley Corsets Ltd. to go back to the end of the last century: the year 1899, and the country America, for it was then and there that this company was founded.
Harry W. Barcley was a master tailor. It was he who conceived the idea of making made-to-measure foundations for women, and so commenced the world-renowned Barcley Corset Co. (Incorporated), with its ultimate home in Newark, New Jersey, and its recent acquirement of a capacious manufacturing plant in Florida, California, under the guidance of its President, Gaylord A. Barcley, son of the founder.
The present British company was established in Welwyn Garden City in June of 1927, this being the outcome of the success attending the efforts over some years in building up a sales organisation in this country. Previously Barcley foundations were supplied direct from the U.S.A.
It is largely due to the recognition of the medical profession that specialist corsetry could be successfully applied to relieve and correct bodily affliction and suffering in both women and men, that encouraged the Barcley Company to create specially designed supports to alleviate distress in cases of particular diseases of both spine and abdomen. Today our own National Health Service includes facilities for surgical supports to be obtained by those in need through all hospitals, and today the Barcley organisation numbers many hundreds of fully-trained women, known as Barcley Registered Corsetieres, whose work is to meet the requirements, both surgical and non-surgical, of the women of this country for specialised corsetry.
The fashion experts rightly contend that no matter how costly is the ensemble of the modern woman, it can only be worn to advantage over a perfectly fitting foundation. During the late war, the whole production of the company was turned over to the supply of surgical supports, and these were given high priority as a national requirement.
For the ambitious female juveniles of this locality, Barcley Corsets Limited provide a useful training on work that is highly skilled, and incidentally its value can be turned to good account throughout the future life of the trainee.
Dawnays Ltd. Specialists in Steelwor
Dawnays Limited, structural engineers, Weiwyn Garden City, occupy well-equipped modern engineering shops, covering several acres, in the main industrial area of the town.
As one of the leading structural engineering concerns in Britain, the company has been responsible since 1870, when it was first established, for the design, supply and erection of the steelwork in many of the fine buildings erected throughout the kingdom. In many countries abroad there are instances of the company's work.
In recent times the company has had a large share in helping to build the new power stations and oil refineries in various parts of Britain and also has played its part in making a start on the rebuilding of the bombed cities.
In addition to the works at Welwyn Garden City the company owns five other works located at Battersea (where the head office is situated), Norwich, Hull, Swansea and Cardiff. There are selling offices at Southampton, Peterborough, Romford and Victoria Street, London.
The company's organisation and resources are such that structural engineering projects of any magnitude are within its compass, and highly experienced technical representatives are always available to assist and co-operate with architects and contractors in meeting their requirements to the best advantage.
In addition to designing, fabricating and erecting steel-framed buildings and bridges, the company also undertakes the manufacture of hoppers and conveyors, derricks and masts, crane gantries and structures, barges and pontoons, wagon frames for rail and road vehicles and steel pressings.
The Broadwater Press Ltd.
Founded initially to provide a service for a new and growing community, the company is now firmly established as one of that small and select group of quality printers whose work is known, appreciated, and used by some of the most famous commercial and cultural organisations in the country. This development is the direct outcome of twenty-five years' concentration on craftsmanship. The company believes that what is printed is intended to be read, and that the better printed it is, the more effective it will be. Hence the same care is put into a shopkeeper's billhead or a church magazine as into the most impressive productions for the B.B.C., de Havilland Aircraft, the Cambridge University Press, or any other quality-conscious customer of similar distinction.
Hand-picked and long-service staff are backed by first-class modern plant and machinery in every department. A wide and carefully chosen range of contemporary and traditional type-faces for text and display purposes is available in the large monotype section; the machine-room is equipped with a comprehensive variety of automatic presses, many of them built and installed in the last two or three years; bindery and warehouse are fully mechanized; and a subsidiary company provides on-the-spot services for process engraving and lithography.
Welwyn Builders Ltd.
Welwyn Builders Ltd. (formed in 1921) is an associated company of Howardsgate Trust Ltd. (the successor to Welwyn Garden City Ltd.) and has been responsible for most of the large commercial and industrial buildings, the majority of the houses, and for all the original engineering works of the town, including roads and sewers.
In addition, large-scale building has been undertaken in London and the home counties. In the comparatively short history of the firm, an impressive record has been built up of the construction, not only in Hertfordshire, but in all the surrounding counties, of schools, factories, banks, public buildings and building and civil engineering work of all kinds.
Versatility is an attribute that can justly be claimed for Welwyn Builders Limited. The creation of a new town makes many special demands upon the resources of its resident building force, and it is this need which has produced in Welwyn Builders Limited the ability to execute every job known in the building world from the smallest repair to a mammoth factory, and to apply to each an equal degree of skill and care.
Welwyn Builders Ltd. is a firm retaining the old tradition of training its own craftsmen by apprenticeship. Craftsmanship, aided by every worthwhile development of building technique, enables Welwyn Builders Limited to occupy a leading position among contractors in the neighbourhood.
The famous Skarsten Scrapers
THE firm was started in 1934 and became a limited company in 1939. At first only the factory at 21 Hyde Way was occupied, but business increased and early in 1938 two more factories at 7 and 9 Broadwater Road were leased. After the war further accommodation was required and an extension was built on to the Hyde Way factory. Even now still more factory space is needed to cope with the ever-increasing demands.
The main products of the factories are Skarsten scrapers and accessories. A few other tools are made, however, namely the "Awl screw" combined screwdriver and bradawl, the repointing scraper for bricklayers and the channelling tool for masons, plumbers and electricians. The Skarsten scraper is a time- and labour-saving implement for professional and home use for paint stripping. It removes old finishes dry and the serrated blade, a late addition to the range of scraping blades, breaks up old paint like a plough, while the straight edges are for smooth finishing. When Skarsten scrapers are applied as they should be, a finish superior to any other tools or sandpaper is obtained, hence their use now in schools, technical colleges and wherever woodwork is taught. That the Skarsten scraper is "a craftsman's tool an amateur can use" and a time- and labour-saver, has been proved over and over again.
Poultry Services Ltd.
This company has grown out of one of Welwyn Garden City's earliest developments - the New Town Agricultural Guild which began in 1921. Under its present name it has been in existence for 22 years and has recently moved into new premises at Brickwall which are generally regarded as among the most up-to-date in the country. There are also two farms at Danesbury Park, Old Welwyn and at Bayford where accredited breeding work and outdoor rearing are carried on.
The business has been built up to its present output of 600,000 chicks annually by the steady and continuous process of providing good chicks and good service. That is why the company's well-known slogan, "Our chicks speak for themselves," expresses the fundamental principle of our method of trading.
Frederick Palmer - Builder and Contractor
Mr. Palmer, craftsman, designer and builder, established his business in Letchworth in 1905 and in Welwyn Garden City in 1924. The Free Church at Welwyn Garden City and, of course, many private houses are examples of his fine brickwork, and specimens of his first-class woodwork, including lecterns, tables, communion rails, etc., may be seen in the Free Church and St. Francis' Church.
The works are in the factory area of the Garden City, for the business is primarily concerned with the building and furnishing of factory premises.
A staff of expert craftsmen is maintained including concretors, bricklayers, joiners, carpenters, plumbers and painters.
The Bridge Road Restaurant
The Bridge Road Restaurant was established in 1936 primarily for the purpose of catering for the employees of those factories which were then without canteens of their own. In 1941 the premises were placed at the disposal of a local firm for use solely as a works canteen. Mr. James R. Wright, Managing Director of the restaurant, served in the R.AF. during the war as a catering officer and not until 1947 was he able to resume his business once more.
The seating capacity of the restaurant is 90 and, in addition to lunches, morning refreshments and teas, suppers are served. It is hoped to be able to extend the premises shortly in order to provide seating for a further 130 people.
Pocklington & Johnson
This firm was established in 1922 in Clerkenwell Road, London, and has, over the ensuing years, directed its activities solely to spring-making, both for ordinary commercial and precision jobs of all descriptions.
The firm's equipment consists of the latest types of both helical and torsional spring-making machines, and the Strip Department, in particular, is considered to be second to none. The latest types of electrically controlled furnaces and tempering apparatus are in use.
The staff consists of men, many of whom have had over 20 years' service with the firm and who are well versed in the manufacture of all types of springs.
During and since the last war, Pocklington & Johnson have been favoured with contracts and sub-contracts, all calling for work of the finest quality and precision, both from H.M. Government and many well-known British firms, whose names stand for the highest standard of craftsmanship in all their products.
Since the removal of the main office and works to Welwyn Garden City in 1937 the business has multiplied many times; this is attributed not only to the most careful attention given to all orders and enquiries but also to the excellent conditions under which the work is carried out.
Messrs. Pocklington & Johnson are at all times pleased to quote for all enquiries, whether they are large or small.
After choosing a central position in the town, Jimmie and Lisa Sheridan built a photographic studio to their own specifications in Welwyn Garden City in March, 1934. Studio Lisa had previously operated from a small studio in Broadstairs and was already well known in the Press and advertising world for the illustrations provided for commercial products and for special magazine features.
In Welwyn Garden City the Sheridans branched out in portraiture and within two years they had the honour of taking informal photographs of the then Duke and Duchess of York with their children, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
From time to time, as the Royal Princesses grew up, Jimmie and Lisa Sheridan photographed them together with their parents, so that a unique and historical record exists of our young Queen as a child among her toys, as a young girl at her lessons and her games, performing in a variety of gay scenes in the Royal pantomimes at Windsor Castle during the war, working in her own suite at Buckingham Palace, and more recently with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, and her children, in equally informal and 'off duty' photographs taken at Balmoral Castle.
The faces of many local citizens have achieved nation-wide familiarity on posters, and in magazines, for the studio draws upon local babies, children, and adults to act as photographic models for such purposes. One little girl in particular has been photographed year by year from the age of nine months onwards and today, at the age of sixteen, is still an active 'number' on the models list.
Today Studio Lisa has opened a branch commercial studio in London where their cameramen cover a wide field of activities, but Jimmie and Lisa Sheridan prefer to remain and to work in Welwyn Garden City, among their many friends.
Directory of Roads
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Directory of Residents
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