Welwyn Garden City’s leisure history revealed

PUBLISHED: 10:41 14 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:02 14 February 2017

Welwyn Garden City heritage trust's exhibition on history of leisure in Welwyn Garden City.

Welwyn Garden City heritage trust's exhibition on history of leisure in Welwyn Garden City.

Danny Loo Photography 2017

An exhibition in Welwyn Garden City last week explored how the town’s residents have spent their free time over the years.

Visitors to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust’s exhibition saw the results of a year-long project into leisure in the town between 1920 and 1979.

Trust spokesman Tony Skottowe said: “It was a stunning exhibition. The girls (professional researchers Vanessa and Godfrey and Virginia Simpson) have done a super job.”

The research into Welwyn Garden City’s leisure history, which started in January last year, is the last in a three-stage probe into how Ebenezer Howard’s vision of a town for people to “work, rest and play” has been realised, funded by £165,000 from the National Lottery.

Tony said: “Quite quickly, we identified that by 1960 there were over 500 clubs that had been founded, most still extant. By now, it must be 800 or more.

“All this happening in this ‘boring old town with nothing to do’.

“The people who came here to begin with had interests, and were well educated.

“We now have a friendly town, where by and large, people are at ease with other. What we have shown is how that has evolved.”

The trust is now considering how to bring the results of all three projects together for the town’s anniversary in 2020.

The exhibition on the first floor of Sainsbury’s supermarket in Church Road ran from Friday, February 3 until Friday, February 10.

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