Anne's Memories

I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Welwyn Garden City, firstly in Leigh Common, then Great Ley. I was born in 1947, and my first memories are of going to the Woodhall shops with Mum. At that time they finished by the co-op, and there was a small field just beyond, up to the start of Ludwick Way. The main shop was a WGC Company Store, and you were served at a wooden counter. It later become “Fine Fare”. There was a small sweet shop called MacConachie’s, and a chemist, Johns and Kelynack’s complete with large glass bottle filled with coloured water in the windows. The hairdresser was “Marguerite” but always called “Daisy’s”! The area opposite Ludwick Way, to the side of the Gooseacre green, was still rough ground, with sandhills. Later it was where a health clinic, library and Penticostal Church were built. I went to Ludwick School, where my teacher was Miss MacKelvie, and then on to Peartree School.

I have very clear memories of the Coronation celebrations in 1953. We had a street party, which due to the bad weather was held in the old wooden Congregational Church Hall, on the corner of Woodhall and Peartree Lanes. We also had a fancy dress competition, won by someone dressed as Gordon Richards, the jockey who had just won the Derby, complete with small wooden horse. Lots of the houses had decorations, we had a crown with flags on either side, set on our bay window roof.

On Saturdays we would get the bus from Woodhall into the town centre. I remember some shops clearly. Munts was where you went to buy bicycles and toys, and it had a smell all its own – rubbery. Cresta had a very posh shop on the corner of the Welwyn Department Store, and there was a nice shop selling fabrics and patterns on Howardsgate, plus Simmons for delicious cakes.

There were still quite few original Hatfield Hyde houses left, including rows of cottages opposite the Peartree public house, and further along near St Mary Magdalene Church, plus the “Beehive”, and the A1 Dairy at the top of Homestead Lane.

I could go on for much longer, if anyone is interested!

This page was added on 11/02/2017.

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  • The pub some of us youngsters (in Hatfield) called The Bridge House is in fact The Cherry Tree.

    By Dave (08/12/2020)
  • Hello all….great stories, I was born in 1951 at the Peartree Cottage Hospital which was converted to the Peartree pub and then one of those eating places later, My father when nearing retirement was the car parking attendant opposite the Peartree Pub in the 1970’s. He previously worked at De Havilland, Hatfield on the Comet and Trident and I still have his Trident tie that was issued to workers that were lucky enough to go on the very first flights. Also in the early 70’s I was attending the Gooseacre Health Centre in Woodhall Lane…Is that still there? What a treat at Christmas to visit Santa’s Grotto in the Welwyn Department Store in the 50’s! Anyone remember Led Zeppelin playing at The Bridge House Pub 1969??

    By Dave (08/12/2020)
  • In reposnse to Anne’s post I have a photo of the Coronation party in the congregational church hall.

    By rod Sharp (25/09/2019)
  • Hi Rod, thank you for your post. Would you be willing to share this photo? You can email it to and we would be happy to add it to Anne’s post. Let us know any credits you would like. Thanks, Ed.

    By Jenny Dart (01/10/2019)
  • Thank you Ladies for your memories. I was born in 1947 at 7 Newfields. My Dad then worked at D.H’s in Hatfield. He worked on the Comet. I went to Parkway school, followed by Applecroft and then the Howard where my father was a teacher after training, post war. I have many memories of going to my ballet classes at Miss Bailey’s in Applecroft, being a child model at Studio Lisa in Parkway, summers spent in the swimming pool which was in the middle of fields behind Lemsford Lane, my first trip to the cinema for the Saturday morning cowboy films. Then there was Mrs Reed’s Scottish dancing classes on a Saturday morning. Also my first sighting of the nude statue ‘Dawn” in Parkway, scrumping with my brothers at Dollimore’s orchard, then later, going Ludwick boys club and the Jazz club at The Cherry tree. Then there was the weekly visit’s to Welwyn Department store and coffee in the beautiful restaurant there. So many memories, two of the best, the cherry tree blossom that lined the road at Newfields, it was so beautiful. Lastly, hanging over the Twenty Mile bridge to watch the steam trains go underneath, we always went home covered in black smudges! Happy days.

    By Frances Dale (Rudd) (22/04/2017)
  • Aw, loved the memories, yes Anne please write as much as you like, i love reading it. I also was born in 1947 and went to Ludwick, then Peartree followed by Howard. We must know each other by name anyway

    By Sue (16/02/2017)
  • I worked as a shop assistant in the A1 Dairy shop in 1945/46. I started there as soon as I left Handside School in December 1945. Food was rationed then and I had to learn all about ration books and “points” which were used for some types of food. I also had to wash sthe display areas by the windows once a week and change the display . We sold bread (which was rationed in 1946), butter and margarine, eggs (when available) and tinned food; Jam and marmalade and sugar. I remember the excitement there was when “Llyons Fruit Pies” came back onto the market after having been unobtainable during the war. They came in plain white cardboard boxes with no printing on them. My customers were all agog when they knew they were going to be available, so I tasted one and was disappointed – it didn’t really taste of anything. Mr Keeley was the manager there. I could tell many stories of those days of rationing – and some of the tricks some customers got up to!

    By Joan Wray (nee Punter) (15/02/2017)
  • Thank you Ann, we would love to hear more about your life in Welwyn Garden City. Do you have any photos which could be included?

    By Robert Gill (11/02/2017)