WGC@100: How many of the town’s major landmarks were designed by architect

PUBLISHED: 18:00 10 July 2020

WGC Free Church.

WGC Free Church.

Archant

The WHT is marking the centenary of Welwyn Garden City with a series of special articles...

The foyer of the Parkway Theatre.The foyer of the Parkway Theatre.

Many of the iconic buildings found in WGC were designed by architect Louis de Soissons.

As well as the centenary of the world’s second garden city, 2020 also marks 100 years since the founding of the architects whose vision shaped its look.

Louis was instrumental in the development of WGC, designing all the buildings that the inhabitants might need, and his influence over the development of the town was enormous and would continue to be so for several decades.

The Barclays Bank building was built in 1929 and a picture taken soon after its completion illustrates vividly how new this whole project was, as it stands in splendid isolation with open spaces on all sides.

WGC Free Church.WGC Free Church.

The Free Church was built in 1929 and work on St Francis of Assisi, in the centre of the town, began in 1934. Both are still present and the latter gives an honourable mention on its website to Louis de Soissons and the part he played in its inception.

Applecroft School opened in 1923 and three years later the Peartree Men’s and Boys’ Club was constructed at a cost of £2,700.

Louis de Soissons was key to the landmark decision of Canadian-owned Shredded Wheat to open its first UK factory in the town, which is still a prominent local landmark and forms the heart of the new ‘Wheat Quarter’ redevelopment.

Many of the photos featured in this special publication were provided by Louis de Soissons Architects, and we would like to thank them for their contribution to our WGC centenary celebration. For more on their work today, visit https://louisdesoissons.com/

Inside St Francis Church.Inside St Francis Church.

The auditorium of the Parkway Theatre.The auditorium of the Parkway Theatre.

Inside Parkway Theatre.Inside Parkway Theatre.

Peartree Men's and Boys' Club - the dining roomPeartree Men's and Boys' Club - the dining room

Peartree Men's and Boys' Club.Peartree Men's and Boys' Club.

A sketch of the Free Church.A sketch of the Free Church.

St Francis Church on Parkway.St Francis Church on Parkway.

The pulpit of St Francis Church.The pulpit of St Francis Church.

The interior of St Francis Church.The interior of St Francis Church.

A water colour of Barclays Bank in WGC. Picture courtesy of Louis de Soissons.A water colour of Barclays Bank in WGC. Picture courtesy of Louis de Soissons.

A sketch of Barclays Bank in WGC. Picture courtesy of Louis de Soissons.A sketch of Barclays Bank in WGC. Picture courtesy of Louis de Soissons.

The Shredded Wheat Factory in WGC. Picture courtesy of Louis de Soissons.The Shredded Wheat Factory in WGC. Picture courtesy of Louis de Soissons.

Barclays Bank in WGC. Picture courtesy of Louis de Soissons.Barclays Bank in WGC. Picture courtesy of Louis de Soissons.

Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City provided by Louis de Soissons: Parkway and the town centre.Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City provided by Louis de Soissons: Parkway and the town centre.

Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City provided by Louis de Soissons - taken in the 1940s.Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City provided by Louis de Soissons - taken in the 1940s.

Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City provided by Louis de Soissons - taken in the 1940s.Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City provided by Louis de Soissons - taken in the 1940s.

Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City provided by Louis de Soissons: from the John Lewis end of town.Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City provided by Louis de Soissons: from the John Lewis end of town.

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