Hall Grove Shops

Darren Harte

Hall Grove, planned and built in 1953/4 is one of several community shopping centres across Welwyn Garden City. Originally planned as the Ludwick Green shops, the complex was designed by Chas. W Fox Architects of 22 Parkway with the final consent for the plans being given by Louis De Siossons.

Hall Grove Architects plans

Louis De Soissons


Ludwick Green Shops




This is the original architects plan as approved by

Louis De Siossons



The original supermarkets that ‘bookended’ the shops where Fine Fare to the left and Co-op to the right. The Co-op still exists in 2021 with the Fine Fare branch closing when the business was taken over by Gateway in the 1980’s. It has subsequently been a branch of Wheels In Motion and a cycle shop.

The shop immediately to the left of the Co-op has always been a newsagent initially a branch of Fourboys and is now a ‘Martins‘ at the time of writing this article.

Many shops have occupied the units in the centre of the parade including John and Kelynack the Chemists who now are located at the Waitrose supermarket in the town centre. Ray Dene, which was a childrens clothes shop & Haberdashers, and a branch of Rediffusion (who ran the piped TV/Radio system in Welwyn Garden City). If you can remember other shops or characters over the years, please comment.

The raised lawns where always quite awkward for the towns gardeners to mow. My grandfather Joe Harte who was a gardener for the New Towns Commission smashed the window of the Co-op on one occasion whilst mowing the lawn which was level with the windows.

Hall Grove in the 1960s Hall Grove in 2021

Hall Grove in the 1960’s with the raised lawns.           The same aspect in 2021 with the removed raised lawns.

Until the early 1980’s the patch of land to the left of the shops was just a green that contained a spring that formed a shallow pond.  This was incorporated into the Isabel Hospice a pond.  There was also a large Horse Chestnut tree that was felled when the hospice was built on the site. You may also remember the rent office that was attached to the Ludwick Family Centre. I believe this was an old farm house. If you know, please let us know.

Isabel Hospice at Hall Grove

                                                                              Isabel Hospice at Hall Grove

Hall Grove shops were also a site for one of the red and yellow advertising hoardings. Designed by Louis De Soissons, there are now only 2 left in the town centre that have recently been refurbished. It’s also interesting how the trees in the background have changed over the years.

Hall Grove Advertising hoarding

Hoarding in the 1960’s                                                         The same spot in 2021

If you have any memories of Hall Grove shops or past photos that you would like to add, please get in contact. 

This page was added on 23/05/2021.

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  • We moved from New Barnet to WGC in 1953 when I was 7 years old. We lived in Howlands opposite the junction with Hall Grove so trips to the shops there were fairly frequent. The paved area in front of the shops was ideal for our version of hockey. We used sticks and a ball and whizzed around on roller skates.
    For a while I was a paper boy, getting up in all weathers to collect the heavy sack from Forbuoys, the Newsagent. The hardest days in winter started by scraping ice from the inside of the windows in my bedroom.

    By Brian Plowman (22/03/2024)
  • When I was about 6 or 7 years old I remember Fine Fare being on the left end of the parade of shops. Next to Fine Fare was the chemist (Johns and Kelynak). On the right of the chemist was a greengrocer (Ellistons, I think) who used to pile up all the fresh fruit and vegetables in piles and towards the back of the shop there was a big wooden display space where they used to empty big sacks of potatoes. I can still smell the muddy aroma that came off the potatoes as they tumbled out of the bags. There was a big set of weighing scales with a big steel bowl, and brown paper bags that the greengrocer would swing and twist the top corners to stop the contents from falling out. To the right of that was A1 Dairies – I remember them selling sugar in blue paper bags. Then came Carnills (later Ray Denne), a haberdasher selling fabric, sewing patterns and threads, wool and knitting patterns and needles, buttons, hooks and eyes and press studs, childrens clothes (Ladybird) and cotton handkerchiefs. They used to keep batches of wool aside for you in deep wooden drawers and your Mum could collect the wool a ball or two at a time when she collected the Family Allowance from the Post Office next door. The Post Office was located at the back of the newsagents, Forbuoys. I used to love the sweets in the Jamboree bags and reading the Bunty comic that I bought with my pocket money. I remember them selling boxes of fireworks in October before Bonfire night. Lastly came the Co-op which we favoured, rather than Fine Fare, for some reason. I still remember our Co-op membership number that I never knew why we had to say, before our shopping was rung through the till, but said it all the same.

    By Rae Fairbairn (28/10/2023)
  • I used to love going to the chemist, always very friendly, those beautiful bottles on display I always got my wool from the haberdasher and clothes for my daughter, the garage just round the corner, Duggy and Doris were lovely in the paper shop

    By Sue burke (31/07/2022)
  • I remember going there in junior school, either with Mr Cumberlin or Mrs Squirrel’s class, and we had to sketch the shops.

    I loved going into Ray Dene as a child and looking at all of the wool and buttons, and the distinctive smell of the haberdashery. I was fascinated with the Ladybird logo on the hangers of the Ladybird clothing he sold. Also the aroma of the sweets in the paper shop, and the little paper bags for the penny sweets. And not forgetting the chemist with the huge glass bottles in the window, and the wooden cabinets. I also remember that the pond always seemed to have a Fine Fare shopping trolley languishing in it.

    By Sarah Rattray (nee Everitt) (23/05/2021)