Memories of Welwyn Garden City in the 1950s and 1960s

The East Side of WGC

by Ted Hewitt

Cole Green Lane looking towards The Woodman
Welwyn Garden City Library

The early part of WGC had developed on the west side of the main railway line from Kings Cross, with the shops gathered around the Welwyn Department Store.  The housing went westwards into the Handside area, and northwards over the White Bridge to Sherrardspark.

With the inception of the New Towns Commission for Welwyn Garden City, the need for more housing space was obviously necessary. At that time, if you walked eastwards from the Cherry Tree and over the railway bridge, then down Bridge Road past the factories, you came to Salisbury Road. This was virtually the Southern and Eastern end of the town.  Although roads on the right led to Peartree and Woodhall areas, there was no road through to Cole Green Lane and Hertford.

When I got a job with Murphy Radio in Bridge Road, I used to travel each day on the train from North London to Welwyn Garden City.  In those days there were only steam trains. Sometimes the trains would run out of steam on the journey, usually in one of the tunnels, so you just sat and waited for the train to start again!  Also, the carriages were lit by gas, and often the flames in the gas mantles were blown out and you sat in the dark!

Eventually, my turn came to be allocated a house, and I moved to Welwyn Garden City in 1953.  By then Heronswood Road had been built, and Bridge Road was now linked to Cole Green Lane (from the Woodhall area) and also out into Birchall Lane and into Hertford.  Although the main road was surfaced, all the side roads were still building sites.  Our house was in Birds Close, which is near Cole Green Lane. You often needed your Wellingtons to get across the mud to the main road, or to take our two year old daughter to school.   The only shop nearby was the old-fashioned butcher’s shop near The Woodman in Cole Green Lane.  There were mobile shops who used to drive around the area, otherwise you went into Hertford on the bus for your shopping.

This page was added on 06/07/2009.

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  • Does anyone know of or remember the Parsons family who lived at 17 Athelstan Walk, W.G.C. I’m enquiring due to me being the eldest daughter of Beryl. Would love to see some photos of the area back in the days around the late 1940s early 50s. Mum worked at The Nivea Cream as a machine operator in 1950.

    By Diane Hincks (21/01/2021)
  • Barbara Bright, I wonder if your father and his siblings knew of Robert and Eva Paterson?

    By Shirlene Paterson (30/09/2016)
  • Does anyone know of a Robert and Eva Paterson (nee Arthur) Farmers, who lived at 19 High Oaks Road, Welwyn.  They had sons Robert John Paterson and David Paterson.  They lived there in 1955 and still in 1959 according to travel documents.

    By Shirlene Paterson (16/08/2016)
  • My father who will be 93 on the 15th June was born in one of these cottages as were his 4 Brothers and sister. I believe it was the one nearest the shop Walby’s. Dad’s youngest brother was born at the new house in Longcroft Lane. Dad and his brother who is 95 must be the oldest residents of what is now WGC and they both still live not far from where they were born.

    By Barbara Bright (12/06/2015)