Queenie M. donated this memory to the Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust in August 2009. She first visited the town in 1925. The following extracts are from a longer interview.
“I had an uncle who was a cowman, they call them managers today, on the farm where the Vineyards is now. I came for a wedding and I was a bridesmaid and there were no churches here so my cousin – they lived on the farm and I lived in London in those days – so we came up and they were married at Digswell St John’s of which I was one of the bridesmaids. That was my first recollection of the Garden City – when there were steam trains. Very few people had cars in those days.
So we came up from King’s Cross and when we went to the wedding I remember that, of course. We were at the farmhouse. I believe the house is still there. I’ve not been round that way for sometime as I’m getting on a bit now, and we had a horse and cart and there were three bridesmaids. Two cousins and myself on this cart with the groom and shire horse and we went across the fields and came out I believe there is the Digswell stables now – we didn’t do the lane and go under the viaduct.
That was my very first memory of coming down and staying with them because there was not a house, nothing, over the white bridge. They were all fields. It was just a lane”.
Queenie’s uncle kept in touch “.. and he said they are developing the Garden City and he used to send us the paper.
My father was going to retire in 1935-36 and he said that he couldn’t live on the pension, “I’ve got to have a job of some kind” and my uncle said that they are expanding “we’ve now got Welwyn Garden City Limited and they are starting doing playing fields, they are starting to build” and there are seven playing fields and he would have to go round and inspect them to see if they were safe and anything else that needed to be done.
He applied when he retired. I think we actually moved in ’36 and by that time they had actually built houses over the white bridge. Blakemere Road, Walden Road, Sherrardspark Road and those wonderful woods at the back there. They had all the rhoddodendrums. Well it was so nice from London. To us it was a place to come and stay”.