Ebenezer Howard’s descendant returns to Welwyn Garden City for half marathon
PUBLISHED: 12:31 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:31 01 October 2019
The great-great-grandson of Ebenezer Howard returned to Welwyn Garden City for the first time in nearly 40 years to win a half marathon.
George Howard, 43, last stepped foot in the town aged seven, when his mother gave him a tour around the garden city that Sir Ebenezer founded nearly a century ago.
His return was coupled with success, after he won a 13.1-mile Welwyn Half Marathon, which starts and finishes at Gosling Sports Centre.
He said: "It was obviously just really nice to be in Welwyn Garden City, running and thinking it's got something to do with my family history.
"And obviously it was really nice to be running at the front and winning - I don't often win a race because I'm not very good!"
He continued: "I thought I had a chance to be honest, and I thought it would be nice after to be able to tell my family about going to Welwyn Garden City and winning."
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George heaped praise on the "lovely" town, highlighting its sports facilities and the nice "European" feel of Howardsgate.
"It did seem like a really nice place - I preferred it to Letchworth [which Ebenezer also founded]," he added. "Letchworth is more arts and crafts, the houses are a bit more rustic and cottagey, whereas I thought Welwyn Garden City was a bit more slick and modern."
After sailing to victory, the English teacher, who lives in Richmond upon Thames, fittingly spent his £150 winnings in The Howard Centre.
Giving an insight into his great-great-grandfather's thinking, George said the idea of Welwyn Garden City was creating a town that had the benefits of both a city and the countryside.
"I think the heart and soul of what he was about was having decent housing and a healthy environment for people, and I think that's the bottom line of it," George added.
Asked what he thought Sir Ebenezer would make of the tug-of-war between the area's green space and proposed housing - which is inherent in the Local Plan - George said he does not think he would approve of rejecting new housing just to preserve the lot of those who already benefited.
However, he added that Sir Ebenezer would have definitely opposed high-rise buildings and slums.
The town's founder - who lived in Guessens Road - was given an OBE in 1924 in recognition of his services to the New Town movement, before being knighted in 1927.
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