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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 (www.letchworth.com)
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6IEV2dJbSE 

26 comments:

John said...

Hi Bazza!
A Happy New Year to you!
Starting the New Year by reading your blog, I have already learnt something, never knew that Letchworth was the scene of the first roundabout! Lovely looking hotel, very posh! ;)
J
Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

bazza said...

Hi John. Our friends booked the hotel through a Groupon offer. It was way out of our league otherwise!
We did lots of walking in the winter sunshine all around the area watching the puzzled ducks walking on the Willian Village pond!

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Oh my! Such a lovely area, and you offer us fine photos of beautiful treasures... then you SLAM us to the ground with a "Bad Romance". Oh Bazza, I fear I shall never be the same.

They are quite good you know.(smile)

bazza said...

I never thought of that Dixie! I suppose each makes the other seem more like what they are but I enjoy them both.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Not to worry - I had a very nice, much needed chuckle over the song's entertainers!

All Consuming said...

Hahahaha that video was ace. And I'd love to live in Letchworth, it is so very pretty. I bet you had a lovely time there.

bazza said...

Dixie & AC:
There was once a very good quality of that video on You Tube with over a million hits but it was withdrawn because of "inappropriate actions" whatever that means. I think the zaniness still comes through on the poorer quality view though.

Letchworth would be a lovely place to live and is great for walking (and cycling!)

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Bazza, no worries. I laughed so hard, quality wasn't a thought.
I just stopped by to see if you'd ever 'discovered ice,' and if so, where did this occur?
I loved to see all of England!

PhilipH said...

A succinct and informative post and inclusive of stunning pictures. Presumably you did not take these photos yourself but so good to see them.

I am a real 'nutter' for older railway stations and also mad about art deco buildings. I must find out more about these two in your posting.

Excellent all round; thanks.

bazza said...

Dixie: The full 'to discover ice' quote is at the top of my Blog. The full sentence contrasts ice and fire (as in 'firing squad') which, I immodestly hoped, would be emblematic of the range of this Blog!

bazza said...

PhilipH: Hi Philip, I share your love of both old BR stations and of Art Deco. See: http://todiscoverice.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/art-deco-movement.html

loverofwords said...

Oh, I am so jealous of your stay. What a pleasure! And easier to get there, I am sure than sometimes trying to see special places here in the US---they are so far away.

bazza said...

Ah, but I would love to visit Denver and Aspen. Even when I go to the States they are so far away!

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Yes, I got that... but maybe I didn't. Thank you...!

Sherry Ellis said...

What a pretty place!

bazza said...

Hi Sherry. Yes it's full of charm and a beautiful place to live.

klahanie said...

Greetings bazza, old chap,

Letchworth is one of my favourites places to visit. I think the "Letch" part of the name was what enticed me to visit the place.

As per usual, an insightful, informative post, good sir.

Gary

bazza said...

Hi Gary. The current Mrs Bazza thought your comment was very funny. (As for me, I couldn't possibly comment!) :-)

Jenny Woolf said...

Wonder if the people of Letchworth think their idea of feeding back the money is a good one? It sounds as if it should be.
I actually haven't visited Letchworth, which is something I hope to remedy when the weather gets better and I can get out on my bike with some prospect of enjoying it.

bazza said...

Actually Jenny, I think Letchworth is a great place for cycling - not too hilly! It's definitely good for long walks.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Hi Bazza. Just stopped by to make sure you're doing okay. Never mind my side, haven't heard from your side of the pond... hope you're staying dry and warm! :)

Bob said...

Hi Bazza,
in 1981 I visited Bhaktivedanta Manor (which is near Letchworth). Ex-Beatle George Harrison used to live in the Manor (I believe the photo used for the album cover for 'All things must pass' was taken in the garden of the Manor). George gave the Manor to the Hare Krishna People in 1973. Visiting there was an interesting experience. I remember commenting on the architecture and one of the Hare Krishna monks saying he wasn't interested in such things any more.

bazza said...

Hi Dixie. I've been really busy lately but things will get back to normal very soon! Thanks for your interest.

bazza said...

Hi Bob. Thanks for looking in. I would have looked for that place if I had known! I do remember the story but had thought that the place was in Surrey.

Bob said...

I must apologise as I've just realised I got confused between Letchworth and Letchmore Heath. Sorry!

bazza said...

At least you were in the right county Bob!