A Few Notes on Letchworth's History and Heritage



There are several main sections on this page and some of the best links are at its bottom, I hope you will take the time to have a good look around

Letchworth's Founder - Ebenezer Howard and the background to The First Garden City

including links to extracts and diagrams from Howard's book"Garden Cities of Tomorrow" and other relevant sites

Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin
Chief Architect and Planner

The Cheap Cottages Exhibition 1905
This helped put Letchworth on the map

Exploring the roots of the Garden City
a rambling trip through some of the names and places associated with related early 20thC Town planning , significant persons of the time who had artistic and political influence on the planners and architects , links to stories about pioneers and early businesses in Letchworth

Industrial Heritage

This section lists some of the early businesses that were established in Letchworth and in several cases are still here. I'm still working on getting and checking a lot of dates and details.

Click Here to visit my listing follow the links to pages which include company histories, product information and aerial images.


At the moment it is only meant to give you an idea of the diversity and scale of some of the companies that came to Letchworth and hopefully find you a few interesting resourses for further investigation.

Letchworth had the expected light/clean industry: printers, weavers, light engineering etc.

But it also had Heavy steel founders and engineers, Car and Heavy vehicle manufacturers, Early Computing Companies, Major gearbox manufacturers and businesses such as parachute and corset manufacturers.

Letchworth is still home to many diverse and inovative companies that operate Locally, Nationally and Internationally



I have found useful resources at various sites where you can find details of some of the industries, images from early advertising and reports of official visits to some of the factories all of which are listed on my industrial heritage page

There is more heritage information throughout the

Guided Tour


The importance of Letchworth in the World Wars is largely understated. K&L, Morse Chain, British Tabulator, Irvin Airchutes, Shelvoke and Drewery (mini submarines), and Spirella (parachute manufacture), all played important. Some contributed hardware and munitions, some helped with equipment for intelligence work. Famously the Enigma code breaking Bombe, designed originally at Bletchley Park, was engineered and constructed by Harold Keen at the British Tabulating Machine Company, manufacture of the Bombes was assisted by other companies in Letchworth.

Letchworth in WW 1


some images of Letchworth in WW 2



Bibliography Letchworth related material compiled by Vivienne Birch


and there are extensive Wikipedia pages about many aspects of the town and its people that have been developed since this site was orginally put together


My memories of:

Foundation Day 1998

The Greenway 2003 opening