£20 million plan to rebuild homes

More than 500 houses to be demolished

By Susan Hall

Layout of the original roads in the Moatwood Scheme ref. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cul-de-sac A. This became Athelstan Walk accessed from Broadwater Road UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Front and back elevations of the houses built 23-26 Cul-de-sac A, Athelstan Walk, with Elm weather boarding. 29-32 Cul-de-sac B, Edgars Court, Plain. 12-15 Cul-de-sac F, Peartree Court. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertofrdshire Archives and Local Studies
Floor plan of 23-26 Cul-de-sac A, Athelstan Walk, 29-32 Cul-de-sac B, Edgars Court, 12-15 Cul-de-sac F, Peartree Court. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studaie
Athelstan Walk original houses c1930. HALS Library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Athelstan Walk original houses c1930 accessed from Broadwater Road. HALS Library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Athelstan Walk 15 August 1986 new houses. HALS Library collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cul-de-sac B. This became Edgars Court, accessed from Broadwater Road. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Original house elevations 1-4 Cul-de-sac B, Edgars Court, elm weather Boards alround. 9-12 Cul-de-sac A, Athelstan Walk elm weather board gables only. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Floor Plans 1-4 Cul-de-sac b, Edgard Court, 9-12 Cul-de-sac A, Athelstan Walk UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Edgars Court original houses accessed from Broadwater Road. HALS Library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Edgars Court original houses accessed from Broadwater Road. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cul-de-sac C. This became Goblins Green accessed from Broadwater Road UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Goblins Green original houses 1930s accessed from Broadwater Road. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Goblins Green original houses c1937 accessed from Broadwater Road. HALS library collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Goblins Green prior to demolishion 1980s accessed from Broadwater Road. HALS library collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Original elevation plans 11-15 Cul-de-sac D, Cheswick Court, 13-17 Cul-de-sac C, Goblins Green, 16-20 Cul-de-sac A, Athelstan Walk. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire archives and Local Studies
Floor plans of the original houses 11-15 Cul-de-sac D, Cheswick Court, 13-17 Cul-de-sac C, Goblins Green, 16-20 Cul-de-sac A, Athelstan Walk. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cul-de-sac D. This became Cheswick Court accessed from Broadwater Road. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cheswick Court original houses c1937. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cheswick Court original houses c1930s. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cul-de-sac E. This became Woodhall Court accessed from (Hyde Road) Woodhall Lane. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Original elevations 5, 6, 13, 14 Cul-de-sac E, Woodhall Court. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Floor Plans Cul-de-sac E, Woodhall Court UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Woodhall Court original houses c1930. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Woodhall Court houses being demolished 1983. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Woodhall Court after the rebuild c1986. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cal-de-sac F. Became Peartree Court accessed via (Omicrom Road) Holwell Road. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Cul-de-sac F, Peartree Court showing the Dormer style elevation UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Floor plans Cul-de-sac F, Peartree Court, but with the dormer windows, as marked UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Peartree Court original houses c1930s HALS library collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Peartree Court original houses c1930s. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Peartree Court original houses. HALS library photo collection
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Street layout showing Cul-de-sacs E & F. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Revised layout of Cal-de-sacs E & F 1927. UDC21/77/204-206
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Ordnance Survey map 1938, XXVIII.15
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

On Friday January 18 1980 the Welwyn and Hatfield Times reported that more than 500 pre war council houses were to be demolished over a five year period in a massive £20 million redevelopment in Welwyn Garden City.

When the original houses were built back in the 1920s they were of an “experimental” nature. The buildings were made of concrete and suffered from severe damp and structural problems.

The decision was made by the Welwyn Hatfield Council’s Housing Committee on the 14 January, but they said there was a long way to go before work could start.

Top of the list was to persuade the government to release their share of the cost, which was estimated to be about a third of the £20 million.

The houses, which had been the subject of numerous investigations and complaints were designed by Welwyn Garden City architect Louis de Soissons for the original Garden City Corporation. When they were built they were some of the first of there kind using concrete for the walls.

The committee were told by architect Alan Howes that the walls were now leaning out due to the loads on them and other problems included rusting window frames and heating.

Different options were investigated from full redevelopment to full modernisation, but the committee were in favour of pulling the houses down and starting again.

The roads to be demolished under the plan were:

Athelstan Walk

Bassingburn Walk

Bedwell Close

Broadwater Road

By The Mount

Creswick Court

Edgars Court

Ethalred Close

Goblins Green

Longcroft Green

Moatwood Green

Oaktree Garth

Peartree Court

Woodhall Court

Parts of the following roads would be demolished:

Holwell Road 18 houses

Knella Road 4 Houses

Longcroft Lane 16 houses

Ludwick Way 35 house

Mill Green Road 36 houses

Peartree Lane 70 houses

Woodhal Lane 12 houses

Contained within Hertfordshire Archves and Local Studies collections are the blue prints to some of the road layouts and floor plans for some of the original houses that were pulled down in the 1980s.

The reference for this collection is UDC21/77. The photos show only a fraction of what is available.

You can also see on the plans that Woodhall Lane was to have originally been Called Hyde Road and Holwel Road was to have been Omicron Road.

This page was added on 05/07/2013.

Comments about this page

  • My mum and dad’s first house as a couple was at 128 Holwell Road opposite Ludwick Infant School (now Holwell, I believe) from 1935 until 1982 when a lot of the white concrete houses along there were torn down.     They both moved in with me & my husband thereafter when they both died, Mum only 16 years ago.  

    By Georgina Folds (06/11/2016)
  • I spent my childhood in the 60’s at 21 Athelstan walk it was a great place to grow up everyone was in and out of each others house , I remember my father going around each house on new years eve , first footing.

    By Ian mcdowall (19/10/2016)
  • My dad helped the council with this project after he had retired – Dad had been Production Director for them in earlier years and he was awarded the Best Employee of the Year for six years in a row. They were so grateful when he offered to help out – by the 1980s we were living at our current house on Salisbury Road. My cousin lived on Peartree Court at the time of demolition in the mid 80s – she and her husband eventually moved into a house near Shoplands. Her husband was absolutely annoyed that they were forced to move – he once pledged with my dad to tell them to not to get rid of their house but Dad had no power.

    My dad didn’t do any bricklaying, but he worked with the engineers to draft up new appropriate house designs + sizes. Although Dad enforced a few old-fashioned designs, they were very much modernized houses. My cousin’s husband, after they were rebuilt, wanted their home back on Peartree Court but the council declined their requisition. They already had a council house near Shoplands, so the council saw no requirement to move them back in. He worked on the projects of Woodhall Court, Peartree Court, Knella Road and Holwell Road on which nothing major were changed. Two years later, he died.

    By George Boston (17/09/2015)
  • What I am interested in is how many houses were there prior to the demolitions, and how many after? Those original houses were beautiful, more in keeping with the Garden City and more akin to housing on the West side. To me, it looks like a lot more homes were put into that same space. Why could they have not been rebuilt to the original footprints? I suspect that more houses have been added to make more money and to ensure that the East side of WGC is kept at a lower level that the ‘Westside’.

    By Christina (24/11/2014)
  • Because those making the decisions forgot what the origins of Garden Cities where and because like most of Hertfordshire it is controlled by Tory’s A bottom line was probably the factor that turn something of merit to crap. Unfortunately I have had to deal with this type of thinking by small minded management It looks like the architect did not give a toss and had no feel for the original concept what so ever and I can attest that is the majority of our supposed architects. Maximum fee for minimum effort

    By Ray Ingrey (18/02/2014)
  • Why, when they knocked down these beautiful looking and designed houses, did they rebuild them with soulless and lifeless boxes??

    By Geoff Thurston (17/12/2013)

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