11 Nov: Welcome To Stevenage

Britain’s first ‘New Town’, built to accommodate 60,000 residents, was Stevenage, Hertfordshire – designated on 11th November, 1946 by Lewis Silkin, Labour’s Minister for Town and Country Planning. 

Inspired by the rush to accommodate Londoners displaced by the Nazi bombing of the capital, the construction of the concrete metropolis was heavily opposed by the 6,400 residents of ‘Old Stevenage’, the ancient town that was to be superseded.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly trace Silkin’s vision back to a 1695 essay by Quaker reformer John Bellers; ask whether the concrete-clad aesthetic of the architecture was a terrible mistake; and re-live nostalgic trips to play laser tag in the leisure park…

Further Reading: 

• ‘Stevenage New Town’ (Stevenage Museum, 2022): https://www.stevenage.gov.uk/stevenage-museum/history-of-stevenage/stevenage-through-the-ages/stevenage-new-town

• ‘Stevenage: The town that aimed for Utopia’ (BBC News, 2016): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-37826783

• ’Mr. Silkin Goes To Stevenage’ (British Pathé, 1946):

#40s #UK #Architecture #Design