CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today CLICK HERE

Why it's time to move to Letchworth

PUBLISHED: 07:46 11 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:53 20 February 2013

Howard Cottage homes are distinctive with their cream exteriors and green sills and doors

Howard Cottage homes are distinctive with their cream exteriors and green sills and doors

Letchworth has been on the map since the days of the Domesday Book but it is best known as the garden city with a series of record-breaking firsts to its credit...

WHEN building began on the new development in 1903, Letchworth was the worlds first garden city.

On the plan, the land surrounding the town centre was designated for agriculture a few decades down the line it became the first identifiable tract of Green Belt.

Within the road system was a roundabout what locals now know as Sollershott Circus was Britains first ever roundabout.

Once the infrastructure was underway and the focus switched to housing, two exhibitions were held to promote the design of affordable cottages.

This fresh-air plan to create hundreds of new homes in a green environment for the overspill from London at the beginning of the 20th century was inspired by a blueprint for future urban design produced in 1898 by the great social reformer of the Victorian age, Ebenezer Howard.

He believed the way forward was to create communities where residents could enjoy the best of both town and country lifestyles. He eschewed the idea it had to be one or the other.

Getting about

Rail: The train journey from Letchworth station to Kings Cross takes 35 minutes.

Road: Letchworth is 1.6 miles from Baldock town centre, 3.4 miles from Hitchin and 5.5 miles from Stevenage.

Air: Luton is 10.5 miles away.


Letchworth has two state comprehensives and two independents. This years GCSE results at Highfield School were the best ever 83 per cent of Year 11s achieved at least five A*-Cs. The vast majority of A-level students are now at their first choice uni.

Both private schools St Christopher School, a co-ed for 3-18 year olds and the girls school St Francis College which also has a prep department are well regarded.


As well as a wealth of local pubs and restaurants in the town and its surrounding villages, pay a visit to The Broadway Cinema which is in a refurbished art deco building and has four screens.

Plinston Hall is the place for live gigs, wedding receptions, conferences and other knees-ups.

North Herts Leisure Centre has an indoor pool with waves, sauna, squash court, multi-purpose sports hall and health studio. Letchworth Golf Club was established in 1911 as a nine-hole layout but since 2003 it has been a 6,459 yd par 71 course.

The cricket club was formed two years after the original houses were built. There are womens teams as well as mens. The tennis club has facilities for squash and croquet too.

The Morris Men meet on Thursday evenings from October to April to add new dances to the repertoire.

Where to take visitors

First Garden City Heritage Museum, filled with Arts and Crafts furniture, is in the building originally built in 1907 as an office for Barry Parker, one of the Garden City founding architects.

Theres also an art gallery and a working farm the farm has shire horses and birds, and cows that oblige for milking sessions.

You might spot a black squirrel on Norton Common, the 63 acres identified on the original plan as a peoples park.

How much to live here

Satchells has first time buyer flats in Letchworth starting at around 100,000.

Typical examples:

Two-bed top floor flat with lounge, kitchen/diner, entry phone and garage 110,000.

First floor one-bedroom maisonette with 80ft garden, 20 minutes walk from town centre, 115,000.

Double fronted three-bedroom terrace in the conservation area, 199,950.

Three-bedroom house with planning permission for one bedroom bungalow, 215,000.

Four-bedroom semi built in 1905 on a good sized plot, 375,000.

Five-bedroom, three bath/shower room detached house on third acre plot in one of the best roads in Letchworth close to good state and private schools, 725,000.

Letchworth Garden Citys Howard Cottage Housing Association has just celebrated its 100th birthday. Back in 1911, the town square in Letchworth Garden City was waiting for builders and architects to transform it into the centre of the worlds first garden city.

Howard Cottage Society was one of the UKs first housing associations, and was set up in 1911 to create affordable homes for the workers who had migrated from the cities to take up employment in Letchworth.

Between 1911 and 1916, the Society built a whopping 395 houses at a total cost of 75,000. In keeping with Howards vision, each home came with a long garden so residents could enjoy the fresh air and grow their own fruit and vegetables.

The Howard Cottage homes are easy to identify from their buttermilk paintwork and Buckingham green doors and sills. To mark the centenary, photos have been produced that merge original black and white photos with a colour photo of the same location in Letchworth Garden City today.


More from Homes & Gardens

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Listed for its architectural and historical importance, this mansion is for sale through Strutt and Parker

Read more
November 2018
Monday, October 8, 2018

A 16th century farmhouse gave a father and daughter the chance to both fulfil childhood dreams

Read more
October 2018
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Nine bedroom Georgian country house for sale

Read more
September 2018
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ten years in the making, this remarkable home in the former orchard of St Albans Cathedral is as bespoke as a property can be. It had Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud reeling

Read more
September 2018
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

How to tackle one of the most invasive plant species in the UK has resulted in innovative solutions, writes Charlotte Hussey of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Read more
August 2018

Owned by the same family for generations on the historic Moor Place estate at Much Hadham, Yew Tree House and its current remarkable owner are full of stories

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 30, 2018

Buy a raffle ticket and you could be the owner of your own manor house

Read more
August 2018

In an idyllic little world of its own, inspirational eco-home Thrift Cottage in Burnham Green shows that living with nature can come, well, naturally

Read more
July 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search