Only about forty minutes' drive from WGC is Whipsnade, the UK's largest zoo, set in 600 acres of the Chiltern Hills. It's large and rural enough for the animals to be in large open-air enclosures.
There's plenty to see because there are around 2,500 animals at Whipsnade, many of them endangered in the wild.
Cafes and other refreshment stops are dotted around in various convenient locations, or you can do as so many visitors do and take your own picnic. There's a double-decker bus that does a round trip and a railway but if you have plenty of time - and a full day is recommended - then walking is the best option.
The Lakes at Stanborough Park were opened in 1970. They are manmade and were built as a result of gravel extraction at the time of the building of the A1(M) Motorway, although the thought of a riverside park had been considered since the Master Plan of 1949.
There are two lakes located either side of the A6129. The Boating Lake (the north lake) is 4.6 hectares in size and is shallow. It is fed by water from the River Lea that flows through the park on its way to Hertford and eventually flows into the River Thames in London. The Sailing Lake (the south lake) is 6.2 hectares in size and is ground water fed and deeper than the north lake. Many water sport activities take place here, including sailing, windsurfing and angling.
The lakes are visited by and provide a home for many animals. The Sailing Lake was originally stocked with bronze bream, roach, common carp, mirror carp and perch. These species are still found, along with species such as rudd, tench, crucian carp and chub. Stanborough Park is home to a variety of different waterfowl. These birds include the Canada goose, Domestic goose, Mallard duck, Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Gulls and Great crested grebe. I also saw a large grey heron when I visited.
The town centre exhibits Ebenezer Howard's values of beauty, harmony, tranquillity. It is dominated by the central mall or 'scenic parkway', almost a mile long, named 'Parkway'. The Parkway vista to the south viewed from the White Bridge had been described as one of the world's finest urban vistas. The Coronation Fountain at the junction of Howardsgate was built in 1953.
St Francis of Assisi Church
As Welwyn Garden City developed in the 1920’s, the spiritual needs of the new arrivals were to be provided for. In the earliest days the Meeting Room, located approximately where the main entrance to John Lewis is now, was provided and a curate from Hatfield was given responsibility for this new place. The site for the permanent Church had been agreed in November 1921 at a cost of £1350. By early 1923 a contract to construct a dual purpose hall was signed. It was opened on 21st October and became home to a full range of Sunday and weekday services until 1935.
The town was expanding at a great pace and a community around worship and mission developed. The church was yet to be built and in December 1927 the architect Louis de Soissons was instructed to prepare plans. Some 18 months later, with £700 in hand, his plans for a basically Italianate style of building were being considered and the likely cost was £17,000. After some fundraising, and contracts had been signed, Bishop Michael Furse laid the Foundation stone on 29th July 1934 and the church was dedicated on 18th May 1935.
The Meeting Hall was used during the war and until 1950 as an overflow for Parkway School but by the end of the 1960’s it was showing costly deterioration. By then it was also hoped to complete the church building site soon, despite a low sum of cash in the building fund. An idea to build flats for the elderly on the site of the Hall eventually came into fruition, releasing funds to complete a reduced sized church, new Hall and substantial connecting porch. The work was completed on 12th June 1977 and dedicated by Bishop of St. Albans, Robert Runcie.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Shredded Wheat Factory
Welwyn Garden City is well-known as the town where breakfast cereals Shredded Wheat and Shreddies were made, at the former Nabisco factory (now part of Nestlé) which is an iconic local landmark near the station and shopping centre. The factory and silos were designed by Louis de Soissons, who designed the town, and built in 1924 by Peter Lind, the builders of the Post Office Tower in London). The factory is now redundant, with production moving to Staverton, Wiltshire in 2008. As you can see from the front, the large sign that used to say "Shredded Wheat" has been painted out. The silos are Grade II listed (preserved) but what will happen to them, nobody knows.
- Historical Travel
Houses of WGC
Just some photo's of some of the larger houses in the town centre. Most of them were built between the 1920's and 1930's.
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