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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Letchworth Garden City

About 40 miles from the centre of London, in the County of Hertfordshire, south-east England, lies Letchworth, the world's first garden city.
Letchworth from the air (
Letchworth, Willian and Norton were three villages all mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1068 and the area that they covered was to form the basis of the Garden City in 1903. The 'green belt' movement also began there; this was a way of controlling building to stop the expansion of towns and cities. There is a huge one around London and it is almost impossible to get permission to build on 'greenfield' sites. This has the effect of limiting urban growth (and inflating property prices). The population of Letchworth is around 34,000 and remains steady. It is an early example of modern town planning and a deliberate mix of urban and rural elements. It remains a very attractive and desirable place to live.
The Mercure Letchworth Hall Hotel where we stayed last weekend. 
Letchworth is also the location of the UK's first roundabout (traffic circle)

The town is also the home of this noted Art Deco cinema of 1936......and of this charming old railway station (1903)
One other unusual thing about Letchworth is it's legal format. It is believed to be the only community where a charitable trust, rather than elected representatives actually controls ownership of land and property. In effect all of the shops and commercial properties pay 'rates' and any surplus money is fed back into the local economy..  
Listening to: On The Rocks, the University of Oregon's acapella singing group performing an open-air version of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'. It's poor quality vision and sound, probably shot on someone's phone, but hilarious to watch and wonderful to listen to: