& Letchworth Garden City

Old Herts

Garden City


Adjacent Parishes:  Great Wymondley, Hitchin, Knebworth, Norton, Stevenage, Willian

It is in Broadwater Hundred and the Hitchin Union

Letchworth was a sleepy village of about 100 people throughout the 19th century - with not even a pub, school or a village shop listed in the trade directories. All this changed at the beginning of the 20th century with the creation of Letchworth Garden City.

Postcard published by the Garden City Association, Birkbeck Bank Chambers, W.C. circa 1905
see Letchworth Postcards painted by Frank Dean, circa 1905

LETCHWORTH, a parish in the hundred of Broadwater, county of Hertford, 2½ miles (N.E. by E.) from Hitchin, containing 76 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Huntingdon, and diocese of Lincoln, rated in the King's books at £11. 1.10½., and in the patronage of John Williamson, Esq.

The Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831

Letchworth Church - early 1900s
Postcard by F. Frith & Co. No. 65328 [Frith Year 1913]

Letchworth Church
Garden City Estate

Valentine card 41571 JV
Photographed 1903

LETCHWORTH is a parish and village, situated near the source of the river Hiz, and on the borders of Bedfordshire, 2 miles north-east from Hitchin station and 2½ south-west of Baldock, in the Northern division of the county, Broadwater hundred, Hitchin Union and county court district, Stevenage petty sessional division, and in the rural deanery of Hitchin and archdeaconry and diocese of St Albans. The church [name unknown] is a small building of rubble and flint, in the Perpendicular style, dating from about 1280, and consists of chancel, nave, south porch and a western turret containing one bell; in the chancel is a brass to Thomas Wyrley, rector of this church, ob. 1475; the incised effigy represents him holding in his hands a heart inscribed "credo qd"; therefrom proceed three labels, on two of which can be read "de terrā surrecturus sum" and "Redemntor meus vivit"; there is another brass, undated, c. 1400, to William Overbury and Isabel his wife: the chancel has also a memorial window to Margaret Ann Milne, erected in 1861: there are 65 sittings. The register dates from 1696. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £260, with residence, in the gift of Julius Allington, esq., and held since 1886 by the Rev. Richard Arthur Walls, B.A. of Brasenose College, Oxford.

On Wilbury Hill, about a mile and a half north-west, are the remains of an ancient fortification, inclosing an area of nearly 7 acres.

The manor house, known as Letchworth Hall, situated a little south of the church, was built by Sir William Lytton kt. about 1620: on the south front appear the arms of Lytton quartering Booth: the house is substantially built of brick and was enlarged before 1846 by the late Rev. John Alington, who added a large but unmeaning tower; within is a spacious hall and some finely-carved mantel-pieces of oak; it is now occupied by Mr. Frederick Allwood. Julius Alington esq. of Little Barford, Beds, is lord of the manor and sole landowner.

The soil is chalk and loam; subsoil, various. The chief crops are wheat, beans, barley and turnips. The area is 1,130 acres; rateable value £1,544; the population in 1881 was 108.

Burley Farm, belonging to this parish, is 8 miles south and locally in the parish of Knebworth.

Letters through Hitchin, which is the nearest money order & telegraph office, arrive at 8.30 a.m. & 4.15 p.m.

The children of this place attend school at Willian.

Walls Rev Richard Arthur B.A.  Rectory
Allwood Fredk., farmer, Letchworth Hall

Kelly's Hertfordshire Directory, 1890

Old Hall Hotel - The manor house became a hotel when the Garden City was formed

Letchworth Garden City

Letchworth was the world's first Garden City, based on the ideas Ebenezer Howard described in the book "Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform". Work started in 1903 and was well underway by the start of the First World War.

Norton Way, South Letchworth - postcard posted in 1930

Book: The Book of Letchworth

Book: Letchworth - The First Garden City

Book: The Garden City Utopia

Book: Letchworth Garden City in Camera, by Robert Lancaster, 1986

Book: Letchworth Garden City - 1903-2003 and Letchworth Garden City in Picture Postcards  - both by Margaret Pierce

Book: Letchworth Garden City by Mervyn Miller

Book: A Striking Industry in Letchworth - The History of the Anglia Match Co Ltd - 1934-1954 - with a catalogue of its match box labels.

Book: Hitchin in Old Picture Postcards includes some old photographs of Letchworth.

Educaton: St Christopher School

Station Road, Letchworth Garden City
Valentine card No 69494 - posted 1915

Useful Web Sites

Our Letchworth (associated with Hertfordshire Memories)

The Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery

Letchworth Garden City Photographic Tour

Letchworth and District Family History Group

Letchworth Garden City Society

Letchworth Garden City - History & Further Information

First Garden City Heritage Museum

A goods train at Letchworth Station

Extra postcard images.
click on thumbnail picture

Letchworth Hall

Letchworh Hall

Letchworth Hall Hotel

Spirella Factory 

Cottages. (Dean)

Station Road (Dean)

Station Road

Railway Station

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

New Villas

Westholm Green

Rural View

Baldock Road

W H Smith's Factory

June 2011   Our Letchworth