The Garden City's Greatest Fire

Parkway School which cost £12,000 gutted by flames

By Susan Hall

Parkway School engulfed by flames
Welwyn Times 30 March 1939
Pupils inspecting the ruin on Monday morning
Welwyn Times 30 March 1939

“Police investigate foul play theory.

Scholars records completely destroyed

The greatest fire Welwyn Garden City has witnessed in its twenty years existence on Sunday night completely destroyed one of its principle schools, which was opened in Parkway only four years ago, and which, incidentally, was one of the most modern schools in Hertfordshire.

The building itself, which was completely gutted except for a small section in the north-east corner, which housed the kitchen, cloakrooms, lavatories and two small classrooms, was erected at a cost of £12,000, and the damage to it and the modern fittings is estimated at about £15,000.

There is still a mystery concerning the cause of the outbreak, and we understand that the police are making investigations in co-operation with the Hertfordshire C.I.D. There is, however, good reason for suspecting that the fire was deliberately started”.


The above is an extract from the article which goes with the two photos. More details can be read in the Welwyn Times on March 30 1939 page 1.

The investigations lead to the arrest and conviction of a 17 year old youth, Ronald Charles Barker, he was sentenced to 18 months in Borstal.

You can follow the fire and what happened in the Welwyn Times on the following dates:

6 April 1939 page 1

13 July 1939 page 5

20 July 1939 page 5

This page was added on 31/05/2011.

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