Building your own home in WGC

Panshanger Pioneers self-build group

By Roger Filler

The Hillyfields Self-Build Group c1971
Herts Library Service

This photograph, taken in 1971, shows the Panway Self Build Group, outside one of the 10 houses they had built in Hillyfields, Panshanger.

The timber-framed homes, were delivered and constructed over 17 months and cost around £6,000 each. The group bought the right to build from the then Commission For New Towns, though permission cam with a number of conditions. To prevent speculation, the men in the group had to prove they worked in WGC, as did their wives, and in two cases, their finances.

Members of the group agreed to give 16 hours of their time each week to the building project. “I came to the project quite late on,” says Norman, who with two other families still live in the houses they built. “The project attracted a wide variety of people with different skills. We were the first inhabitants of this part of Panshanger. The view from our back gardens was of open fields looking towards Tewin.”

This page was added on 03/09/2010.

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  • We moved into number 75 a year ago which I believe was the first to be built. We have done some renovation work and in the process found a time capsule from the second owners and under the carpet in one of the bedrooms found some technical drawings to do with the M25, so I wonder if someone who originally built the house also worked on that project.

    By Lee Evans (13/03/2021)
  • If it is no. 71 then that is the house we lived in from 1988-92. I installed double glazing to it.

    By Alan (12/01/2020)
  • There is a photo with some text by Roger Fuller dated 3 Sept 2010. The photo was taken in May 1973, not 1971 as currently stated. Also the text says the photo is in front of the houses in Hillyfields. But, in fact it is in front of what was the third house to be built in Hardings. Since ‘we’ started building at the Panshanger Aerodrome end of Hardings, that makes it probably 71 Hardings.

    By Suaad Walker (formerly Sue Berry, member of Panway) (05/10/2013)