Early years in The Quadrangle

I don't ever remember being bored

New Town Hostel originally Lower Handside Farmhouse
Welwyn Garden City Library
Quadrangle housing plan
Welwyn Garden City Library

This memory was donated to the Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust by Mary. 

Her parents moved here from Skipton and lived at first in the New Town Hostel (previously Lower Handside Farmhouse). They then moved to a newly built house in The Quadrangle.

“We were lucky in The Quadrangle – there were other children and we played out a lot. We played French cricket with some boys and we made go-carts – we didn’t have bicycles – for various reasons chiefly the cost and we made up plays and acted them to the parents.

We didn’t go out on so many expeditions really because the parents were busy and you just couldn’t afford it. We spent the whole day going to Waterend, having a picnic and paddling and watching the ducks and everybody and we went to Brocket Park, we went to the woods, and went to Tewin and these were week-end activities.

We learnt a bit to garden because both our parents did the garden and we flourished and we each had a patch. We learnt to read quite quickly and I liked reading to the twins. We played ball games and we made things – we were always making things which sometimes toys sometimes presents – we could make things out of walnut shells even.

I didn’t do this but the twins went to Brownies and did lots of things there and also Brownies and Guides and a different kind of Boy Scouts. They put on shows like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the Dell in Sherrardswood – it was a lovely occasion and the slope was just right for people to sit on.

There was Margaret Morris dancing classes and I don’t know how to describe them but my mother went and other mothers went and then their children went and we gave displays – all these things seemed to take up plenty of time. I don’t ever remember being bored.”

This page was added on 19/06/2011.

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  • Hello Peter.
    The Mary in the recording was my aunt, Mary Ashworth. She lived in 11 The Quadrangle from it’s very beginning in the 1920s with her twin sisters Enid and Jeanne. They would have been in their 20s and off beginning their careers in teaching and nursing when you arrived in 1947. Their parents, Cyril and Emma lived in that house until they died and Mary returned to it , certainly by 1960, when she became the first headmistress of Hatfield Girls’ Grammar School. Enid lived in it at the weekends when home from her job nursing at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Jeanne’s four children, of which I am one, loved the Quadrangle as we spent many many sunday lunches at number 11, and going for walks with our aunts in Sherrards woods, Tewin or Brocket. It was like a second home.
    I was born in 1963, so would probably have seen you playing cricket on the grass and possibly joined in. We were all keen on a game of cricket. The house sadly had to be sold in 2018 when Enid and Mary had died.

    By Emma Palmer (14/03/2021)
  • I lived at 33 Bridge Road from 1957. Our garden backed onto Mr Asworth. Our guinea pigs used to regularly get through the fence and into the quadrangle. I used to ride my bike around there.

    By Mary (26/08/2018)
  • Hi Mary. What years were you there? I lived in The Quadrangle from 1947 to 1963 and have many memories of most of the residents in those years. Surnames included Ashworth, Horner, Irwin, McGready, Taylor, Howard, Beard etc. The wonderful oak and conker trees are still there! We often played cricket on the green, although we needed more space for proper cricket so then used Handside Green instead. No problems with parked cars in the early days. Happy days!

    By Peter (05/03/2017)