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.