Welwyn Garden City


‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 20 May 1948

Welwyn Garden City has a unique story. Having started life in 1919 as England’s second Garden City, built and developed by a private company working for the community, its designation as a New Town took it from private to public (state) delivery. Following a twin designation with Hatfield (developed by separate Development Corporations run by the same personnel, with Green Belt between the settlements), Welwyn Garden City became the largest settlement in the Borough of Welwyn Hatfield, providing homes for 44% of the Borough’s population in 2001. The town’s Garden City Heritage is recognised as being of international significance.

Key facts:

  • Location: 32 kilometres north of London, on both the A1(M) and the East Coast Main Line.
  • 2011 Census population: 46,619, in 19,549 households.
  • Local authority: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.
  • Local Plan status: Welwyn Hatfield Emerging Core Strategy 2012, with saved policies from the Welwyn Hatfield District Local Plan (adopted 2005).

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 20 May 1948.
  • Designated area: 1,747 hectares.
  • Intended population: 50,000 (population of Welwyn Garden City at designation: 18,500).
  • Development Corporation: Designated to assist in the decentralisation of the population of Greater London. The original Garden City masterplan drawn up by Louis de Soissons followed Garden City design principles, with tree-lined boulevards. It town centre was of neo-Georgian design. Garden City design principles were sometimes compromised in Development Corporation development. The Development Corporation undertook significant housing development in the 1950s, mainly east of the railway line. Development Corporation wound up 31 March 1966.

Figures taken from Welwyn Garden City ‘5 minute’ fact sheet – TCPA New Towns and Garden Cities, Lessons for Tomorrow research, available here.

Council website:


Information about regeneration:


Local museums and archives:

Our Welwyn Garden City (Part of Hertfordshire’s Community Archive Network): https://www.ourwelwyngardencity.org.uk/

Welwyn Garden City turns 100: