Hertfordshire's Equivalent to Graceland
Moving into a palace!
By Edna Farrow
My husband and I got married not long after World War Two finished, in 1946, in Tottenham. Our first place together was one rented room round the corner from both our parents. We had our two children in that house, but our youngest wouldn’t remember it as we were fortunate enough to get a house in Welwyn Garden City only a year after she was born. I had always wanted to work as Mrs Farrow, and I felt I had the chance when we moved to Welwyn Garden.
We were the first residents in the home, 564 Howlands, as it was a newly built and expanding estate. The Hatfield Hyde shops weren’t yet built so we had to trudge up to Woodhall or through muddy fields to Peartree or into town. Our lovely, furnished home had three good sized bedrooms, an upstairs bathroom and downstairs toilet. For once in our lives we had a front garden all to ourselves and a back garden to ourselves as well, where the washing was hung every weekend of course!!!!
Welwyn Garden City was an absolute dream. All our local amenities were near, a home all to ourselves which was well built, space for the kids to play and excellent local schools was a must as well which was well provided for by the Development Corporation. One of mine went to Howard School and the other to Attimore Hall Secondary Modern up in what was to become Panshanger. Also the affordability of everything in the town was just perfect: rates were covered in our rent which altogether came to a low price we could actually pay, pay everything else and still have money left over!!
The day we came here, which was in a removal van, we drove off the old Great North Road and the guy driving took us to the Stores and introduced us to the town. We went straight to the house after that, and when we pulled up outside it I thought it was a palace. You know, it was a world a way from what we were living in. The bloke also told us about all the work there is here with so many factories and companies, including ICI and Shredded Wheat. It was a mild day, keeping us quite depressed and grim looking until we pulled up at 564 Howlands.
The neighbours we had were so pleasurable. At 562 was Vernon Thomas and his wife initially before they moved out, and then Alan & Muriel Flint moved in. Both were so nice neighbours, so amenable and we often used to do each other favours. One thing I do remember: everybody took care of the Garden City. If you saw someone litter on the grass or on the pavement you put it in the bin and said nothing. We were all so protective of the town - when the Development Corporation wanted to build a housing estate on the other side of Chequers everybody protested so the Corporation gave in. We got what we wanted, us residents did!!!!
Me and my husband lived at 564 Howlands until Den sadly died in 2007. I then left the house to join my daughter elsewhere, but Welwyn Garden remains with me in my heart…..forever and on!