Nevells Road


Originally named Exhibition road was the location of a major part of the Cheap Cottages exhibition of 1905, in which about 120 cottages were constructed.

These can be found in Nevells Road , The Quadrant , Icknield Way, Willbury Road on the other side of the Common, Birds Hill and Paddock Close. It can be seen clearly opposite the Spirella running parallel to the railway in this old postcard



The name was changed in 1908.

At the top of Nevells Road originally were Nevells Buildings (The Sheds) . Built by Picton and Hope of Hitchin in 1904, from wood and asbestos, to provide hostel accomodation for 250 of the 400 unemployed Londoners brought to Letchworth to build roads for the Garden City.

The sheds had many uses in the early years. One became a drawing room for the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire to receive guests . The Garden City School was opened in the sheds in 1905 and stayed there until 1909 when the school now under the control of Hertfordshire County Council was moved to new buildings in Norton Road.

The Spirella Company set up in January 1910 using The Sheds as temporary premises.

In 1935 The Sheds were demolished allowing Nevells Road to be joined to Bridge Street.

As you go along Nevells Road away from the Spirella on the original site of The Sheds to your right is the telephone exchange and the now redeveloped site Nevells Road Nursery School, opened in 1942. Closed as nurseries were incorporated into local infant schools and used for new residential housing.

To your left the police station and next on a site that had remained waste ground from the 1935 until Dr John Kies applied for permission to build the present building to house a medical practice and dental surgeries in 1958.

Just beyond this point you come to The Quadrant and the beginning of the area occupied by the exhibition cottages.

Almost all the cottages still survive, in spite of reservations about their longevity by Thomas Adams and Raymond Unwin. Many have now been extended but others still retain most of the original features.

These are a few of them

This design by V Dunkerley , who was also responsible for the group of similar cottages at Birds Hill , has a mansard roof containing the entire first floor thereby reducing the cost of construction. Tiles being cheaper than brick.




The Stone House by Bennet and Bidwell built from textured concrete blocks giving the effect of stone.



An entry by Barrett and Driver , my GP lived here for a while