"Letchworth - World's First Garden City" Letchworth by Willettsworld

Letchworth Travel Guide: 32 reviews and 83 photos

In 1898, Ebenezer Howard, appalled at the very unpleasant living and working conditions in the late 19th Century towns and cities, wrote a book outlining his ideas for a completely new way of living. The book, 'Tomorrow, A Peaceful Path to Real Reform', was later republished as 'Garden Cities of Tomorrow' in 1902. He believed that the very best of both town and country life should be married together in small Garden Cities, each with its own greenbelt. He promoted well-planned towns with careful land zoning and a quality of life. In 1903, First Garden City Ltd commenced the building of an experimental town on 3,818 acres of land at Letchworth in North Hertfordshire, to prove that Howard's ideas were practical. The world's first Garden City became a reality and soon others around the world followed. In 1905, and again in 1907, the company held the Cheap Cottages Exhibitions, contests to build inexpensive housing, which attracted some 60,000 visitors and had a significant effect on planning and urban design in the UK, pioneering and popularising such concepts as pre-fabrication, the use of new building materials, and front and back gardens. Today, Letchworth has a wonderful array of different housing styles and designs from country cottage to mock-Tudor. Even though the town is not a Number 1 tourist destination, it does offer a fascinating insight into early urban planning which can be seen by simply walking around the town centre.

Letchworth is easy to get to by both car and rail. It's located near the A1(M) motorway with speedy links to London and the South-east and the North of England. The town has a train station which links it to London's King's Cross and Cambridge.

  • Last visit to Letchworth: May 2009
  • Intro Written May 21, 2009
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