How Welwyn Garden City got its name

Could the town have been called Welwyn Forest?

By Roger Filler

Welwyn Garden City

Welwyn Garden City is clearly not a city though it might be argued that the town centre does sit in a garden. The town’s name was chosen by some of the Welwyn Garden City Ltd’s directors because of its location and because it best described their scheme, but not everybody was in agreement and the term ‘Garden City’.

Digswell?

In fact the Directors sought to change the town’s name to Digswell at a meeting in February 1920, but a letter in The Times of that same week referred to the town as Welwyn Garden City and to avoid further confusion the name was officially adopted.

Penwelwyn?

That didn’t stop several campaigns from Garden Citizens over the next few years who still felt unhappy with the name. After several letters to the local press a town meeting was organised to meet, discuss and choose the most popular name. Over 30 nominations were received, including New Welwyn, Welwyn South, Kings Welwyn, Welgarden, Welfield and Welwyn Forest.

All these views were aired in the Parkway Cafe on 21 March 1924. Welwyn South was a popular choice and one which Ebenezer Howard originally supported. 141 votes were cast.

The results were:

Welwyn Garden City118
Welwyn South18
Welwyn Wood2
Handside1
Penwelwyn1
Welwyn Town1

The town’s name was never seriously challenged again though the Welwyn Times did raise the subject during the Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 1970 and ran a campaign asking for suggestions.

This page was added on 14/06/2009.

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