|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2008)|
Borough of Stevenage
|Town & Borough|
Stevenage Town Centre
|Motto: "The heart of a town lies in its people"|
Stevenage shown within Hertfordshire
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||East of England|
|• Type||Non-metropolitan district|
|• Governing body||Stevenage Borough Council|
|• Mayor||Councillor Howard Burrell|
|• MP||Stephen McPartland|
|• Total||10.02 sq mi (25.96 km2)|
|Population (Mid-2014 est.)|
|• Total||85,997 (Ranked 276th)|
|• Density||7,980/sq mi (3,081/km2)|
| • Ethnicity
(United Kingdom estimate 2005)
1.8% Mixed Race
1.2% Chinese or other
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)|
|ONS code||26UH (ONS)
|OS grid reference||TL2424|
|Ambulance||East of England|
Stevenage // is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England. It is situated to the east of junctions 7 and 8 of the A1(M), and is between Letchworth Garden City to the north, and Welwyn Garden City to the south.
Stevenage is roughly 30 miles (50 km) north of central London. Its population has increased significantly over the last century: the population was 1,430 in 1801, 4,049 in 1901, 79,724 in 2001 and 84,651 in 2007. The largest increase occurred in the 1950s and 1960s, after Stevenage was designated a new town under the New Towns Act of 1946.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Sport and leisure
- 5 Culture
- 6 Transport
- 7 Notable people
- 8 Schools
- 9 Places of worship
- 10 Twin Towns
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The name was recorded as Stithenæce, c.1060 and Stigenace in 1086 in the Domesday Book.
Stevenage lies near the line of the Roman road from Verulamium to Baldock. Some Romano-British remains were discovered during the building of the New Town, and a hoard of 2,000 silver Roman coins was discovered in 1986 during new house building in the Chells Manor area. The most substantial evidence of activity from Roman times is Six Hills, six tumuli by the side of the old Great North Road – presumably the burial places of a local family.
A little to the east of the Roman sites the first Saxon camp was made in a clearing in the woods where the church, manor house and the first village were later built. Similar settlements sprang up in Chells, Broadwater and Shephall.
In the Domesday Book, the Lord of the Manor was the Abbot of Westminster Abbey. The settlement had moved down to the Great North Road and in 1281 it was granted a Royal Charter to hold a weekly market and annual fair (still held in the High Street).
The earliest part of St Nicholas Church dates from the 12th century, but it was probably a site of worship much earlier. The known list of priests or rectors is relatively complete from 1213.
The remains of a medieval moated homestead in Whomerley Wood is an 80-yard square trench almost 5 feet wide in parts. It was probably the home of Ralph de Homle, and both Roman and later pottery has been found there.
In 1281 Stevenage was granted a twice weekly market and an annual fair. Both were probably held in the wide part of the present High Street to the north of Middle Row. The High Street is closed for an annual fair even today.
Around 1500 the Church was much improved, with decorative woodwork within, and with the addition of a clerestory.
It was in the 16th century (1558) that Thomas Alleyne, most probably a former monk, founded a free grammar school for boys, Alleyne's Grammar School, which had an unbroken existence (unlike the grammar school in neighbouring Hitchin) till 1989. Francis Cammaerts was headmaster of the school from 1952 to 1961. The school (now a mixed comprehensive school) still exists on its original site at the north end of the High Street. It was intended to move the school to Great Ashby but the Coalition government has proposed the scrapping of the move owing to budget cuts.
Stevenage's prosperity came in part from the North Road, which was turnpiked in the early 18th century. Many inns in the High Street served the stage coaches, 21 of which passed through Stevenage each day in 1800.
In 1857 the Great Northern Railway was constructed, and the era of the stage coach had ended. Stevenage grew only slowly throughout the 19th century and a second church (Holy Trinity) was constructed at the south end of the High Street. In 1861 Dickens commented "The village street was like most other village streets: wide for its height, silent for its size, and drowsy in the dullest degree. The quietest little dwellings with the largest of window-shutters to shut up nothing as if it were the Mint or the Bank of England."
In 1928, Philip Vincent bought the HRD Motorcycle Co Ltd out of receivership, immediately moving it to Stevenage and renaming it the Vincent HRD Motorcycle Co Ltd. He produced the legendary motorcycles, including the Black Shadow and Black Lightning, in the town until 1955.
This slow growth continued until, after the Second World War, the Abercrombie Plan called for the establishment of a ring of new towns around London. It was designated the first New Town on 1 August 1946. The plan was not popular with local people who protested at a meeting held in the town hall before Lewis Silkin, minister in the Labour Government of Clement Attlee. As Lewis Silkin arrived at the railway station for this meeting, some local people had changed the signs 'Stevenage' to 'Silkingrad'. Silkin was obstinate at the meeting, telling a crowd of 3,000 people outside the town hall (around half the town's residents): 'It's no good your jeering, it's going to be done.' Despite the hostile reaction to Silkin, and a referendum that showed 52% (turnout 2,500) 'entirely against' the expansion, the plan went ahead. Ironically, although the New Towns Commission declared the Old Town would not be touched, the first significant building to be demolished in it was indeed the Old Town Hall, in which the opposition had been expressed.
In 1949 the radical townplanner Dr. Monica Felton became Chairman of the Stevenage Development Corporation. She was sacked within two years. A number of reasons explain her dismissal by the government. There was a lack of hands-on town planning leadership and her political stance during the Korean War, for which she was later awarded the Stalin Peace Prize ruined her reputation.
In keeping with the sociological outlook of the day, the town was planned with six self-contained neighbourhoods. The first two of these to be occupied were the Stoney Hall and Monks Wood "Estates" in 1951. Next to be built and occupied by the London 'overspill' was Bedwell in 1952 – The Twin Foxes pub was Stevenage's first "new" public house and is still situated in the Monks Wood estate. The public house was named after local notorious identical twin poachers (Albert Ebenezer and Ebenezer Albert Fox). Next came Broadwater and Shephall (1953), then Chells in the 1960s and later Pin Green and Symonds Green. Another area to the north of the town is modern development of Great Ashby – this is still under construction as of 2014. The Government gave almost £2 million for a purpose-built homeless shelter, which will serve a large part of Hertfordshire.
At least three other public houses are worth mentioning, for they have a direct relationship to local history: the name of the pub "Edward the Confessor" (closed 2006) could have a connection to the time in which the St Mary Church in nearby Walkern was built, for King Edward ruled from 1042 until his death in 1066. Walkern's village church dates from this time. The second pub with a strong bond to local history seems to be the "Our Mutual Friend" in Broadwater, for the name of the pub is the title of a novel by Charles Dickens. Dickens was at some occasion guest to Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton in nearby Knebworth House, and for that reason he knew Stevenage very well. The Pied Piper in Broadwater is the only public house in the world to be opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The pedestrianised town centre was the first purpose built traffic-free shopping zone in Britain, and was officially opened in 1959 by the Queen. By the clock tower and ornamental pool is Joyride, a mother and child sculpture by Franta Belsky. Although revolutionary for its time, the town centre is showing signs of age and in 2005 plans were revealed for a major regeneration due to take place over the next decade. Details are still being debated by the council, landowners and other interested parties.
Multi-million pound plans to redevelop Stevenage town centre were scrapped due to the recession and the lack of interested private sector partners. Stevenage Borough Council announced 24 May 2012 that a £250m scheme for the shopping area has been pulled by Stevenage Regeneration Limited (SRL) because of the continuing adverse economic conditions. The plans which included realigning streets, moving the bus station and building a new department store, cinema, hotel, restaurants and flats were given council planning approval in January 2012.
The Town Centre Regeneration Strategy (2002)called for better quality shops (including a major department store); improved public transport with a combined bus and rail interchange; high-density town centre living;substantially improved civic facilities; enhanced office space; an improved public realm. YMCA Space Stevenage (a youth and community centre) was evicted and replaced by Paddy Power (a betting shop). Other well known stores, such as Maplin (electronics), have also disappeared from Stevenage's town centre.
The town has a large central library located in Southgate at the southern end of the pedestrian precinct, with facilities including printing, fax and photocopying, children's events, study space, a carers' information point and a large public computer suite, as well as a small branch library at the northern end the High Street in the Old Town. There is also a public library in nearby Knebworth, located in St Martin's Road.
Next to the Town Gardens, the Church of St Andrew and St George is an example of modern church design, and has housed Stevenage Museum in its crypt since 1976. The church is a 'cathedral-like' Grade 2 listed building. It is also the largest parish church to have been built in England since World War Two.
Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother laid the Foundation Stone in July 1956 and was also present at the consecration by the Bishop of St Albans, the Right Reverend Michael Gresford-Jones, on Advent Sunday 27 November 1960. The frame is constructed from a 'continuous pour' of concrete into moulds creating interlacing arches and leaving no apparent joints. There are twelve Purbeck marble columns about the High Altar and the external walls are clad in panels faced with Normandy pebble. The campanile houses the loudspeakers for an electro-acoustic carillon. A popular sculpture, 'The Urban Elepant' by Andrew Burton was commissioned in 1992.
North of Stevenage Old Town, near St Nicholas Church, lies Rooks' Nest ("under the big wych-elm"), home of the novelist Edward Morgan Forster from 1884 to 1894. Forster used Rooksnest and the surrounding area as the setting for his novel Howards End. In the preface of one paperback edition of Howards End, there is a lot to be found about landmarks of Stevenage and their relationship to the story of the novel, such as the Stevenage High Street and the Six Hills. The land north of St Nicholas Church, known as Forster Country, is the last remaining farmland within the boundary of Stevenage borough. Forster was unhappy with the development of new Stevenage, which would, in his words, 'fall out of the blue sky like a meteorite upon the ancient and delicate scenery of Hertfordshire'.
Also close to Stevenage is Knebworth House, a gothic stately home and venue of globally well-known rock concerts since 1974. The house was once home to Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Victorian English novelist and spiritualist, who, as reported by one of his visitors, was so deep in the belief of spiritual realities that he sometimes thought himself to be invisible while others were around.
In 1999 a millennium countdown clock was mounted on the town centre clock tower, displaying the time remaining until the year 2000. The artwork on the clock was designed by Nicola Reed, a pupil of Fearnhill School, Letchworth.
Adjacent to, yet separate from the residential parts of the town, is the Industrial Area. For many years, British Aerospace (now MBDA) was the largest employer in the town, but now GlaxoSmithKline has a large pharmaceutical research laboratory complex (which is known as 'The Palace' to many of its inhabitants). A smaller but interesting enterprise is Astrium which has for some decades (as part of British Aerospace and its predecessors) manufactured spacecraft, both as prime contractor and equipment supplier.
There are many small to medium size firms as well. Stevenage BioScience Catalyst, a new science park aimed at attracting small and start-up life sciences enterprises, opened in 2011 on a site next to GSK.
The town is still growing. It is set to expand west of the A1(M) motorway and may be further identified for development depending on the outcome of the Examination In Public of the Regional Spatial Strategy. The main area of more recent development is Great Ashby to the northeast of the town (but actually situated in North Herts District). A considerable amount of in borough development has been undertaken at Chrysalis Park - situated on the old Dixon's Warehouse site adjacent to the Pin Green Industrial Estate.
|Climate data for Stevenage|
|Average high °C (°F)||7
|Average low °C (°F)||2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||45.1
Sport and leisure
Stevenage has a King George's Field named in memory of King George V, which boasts cricket and a bowls green, which is used by Stevenage Town Bowls Club. The field was the original pitch that Stevenage F.C. used to play on. The cricket ground is called Ditchmore Lane. The Stevenage Leisure Centre contains the Gordon Craig Theatre and many facilities for sports. The nearby Stevenage Leisure Park has a multiplex cinema, clubs and restaurants. The main shopping area is around Queensway and the Westgate. At the south of the town there is a retail park called Roaring Meg, which takes its name from a stream (a tributary of the river Beane) that runs under it. The river can be seen along the western edge of the area. There is also shopping in the Old Town. The Roaring Meg had an ice rink and bowling alley, but these were demolished in 2000 to allow the construction of more stores.
Stevenage F.C., formerly known as Stevenage Borough, is the town's major football team, playing their home matches at Broadhall Way. Founded in 1976, the club were promoted to the Football Conference, the highest tier of non-league football, in 1994. After sixteen seasons in this division, Stevenage won the Conference Premier title during the 2009–10 season, having previously been denied promotion to the Football League due to insufficient ground facilities in 1996. During Stevenage's first season as a Football League club, they secured back-to-back promotions to League One, the third tier of English football, after beating Torquay United 1–0 in the 2010–11 play-off final at Old Trafford. The club also won the FA Trophy in 2007 beating Kidderminster Harriers 3–2 at Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd of 53,262. It was the first competitive club game and cup final to be held at the new stadium. Stevenage reached the final again in 2009, beating York City 2–0. The club has also enjoyed several runs in the FA Cup, raising the town's profile in the process. During the 1997–98 campaign, Stevenage held Premier League side Newcastle United to a draw at Broadhall Way, before losing the replay 2–1 at Newcastle. The club would go one better in 2010, securing a 3–1 home victory over Newcastle in the third round of the competition — the first time the club had beaten first tier opposition. The following season, Stevenage held Tottenham Hotspur to a 0–0 draw at home in the fifth round, before losing the subsequent replay 3–1 at White Hart Lane.
The town also has a number of other successful sports clubs, including a women's football team (Stevenage Borough Ladies FC) and Stevenage Town Rugby Club. Many top class sporting heroes have come from Stevenage, the most notable being Kevin Phillips, Ashley Young, Lewis Hamilton, Ian Poulter. Fairlands Valley is a large area of parkland with boating lakes. The town is a very green town, with avenues of trees (typically Norway Maple) throughout but also large woods such as Monks & Whomerley Wood, which is ancient semi-natural woodland. Indeed the Woodland Trust ranks it as one of the best places in the UK for ease of access to large woodland, with 99.9% of the population having access to woodland over 2 hectares (5 acres) within 4 km (2.5 mi), only slightly behind those living in the Forest of Dean or New Forest. There are also many playing fields (e.g. St. Nicholas playing fields near Ripon Road). The town's schools all have a substantial amount of ground; key examples are Ashtree Primary School, Moss Bury Primary School, Longmeadow Primary School and Barnwell.
Stevenage also has a basketball team: Stevenage Scorpions.
The town centre links to a 27-mile (43 km) circuit walk known as STOOP: Stevenage Outer Orbital Path. The circuit provides an informal, active recreational leisure amenity readily available to the residents of Stevenage and the surrounding villages.
A small community arts centre is located in the Roaring Meg Retail Park. The Boxfield and Foyer Gallery is situated in the Gordon Craig Theatre, which forms part of the large central Leisure Centre. Stevenage Museum is located under the St. Andrew and St. George's church on St George’s Way
A distinctive feature of Stevenage is its urban landscape. It has many roundabouts, few traffic lights, a network of completely segregated cycle tracks, and some of the tallest street lights in Britain. Eric Claxton was chief engineer of Stevenage from 1962 to 1972, and the comprehensive separate cycle network was planned and implemented by him during that period. But despite this network, the bike mode share is just 2.7%.
Stevenage is served by the A1(M) motorway. The old Great North Road passes through the centre of the town, and the High Street in the Old Town has several pubs that were coaching inns on this road; it is mostly now classified as the B197. Stevenage is also served by the A602 from nearby Hitchin, and the A119 meeting the A10 at Ware (previously designated as A602).
Although not in the town, Luton Airport and Stansted Airport are in relatively close proximity to the town with Luton Airport situated to the west and Stansted Airport to the east. Both airports can provide flights to Europe, Africa and Asia.
- Born in Stevenage
- Sir Thomas Clarke (b. 1527) Knighted by Henry VIII.
- Ian Allinson (b. 1957), footballer
- Harry Bates (1850–1899), sculptor
- Edward Gordon Craig (1872–1966), scenographer and theatre theorist
- Andrew Croft (1906–1991) explorer and SOE (Special Operations Executive) agent
- Albert and Ebenezer Fox (1857–1926, 1857–1936), infamous poachers
- Gabz Gardiner, finalist in series 7 of Britain's Got Talent
- Lewis Hamilton (b. 1985), Formula One world champion (2008 & 2014)
- Peter Harper (1921–2003) International Rally Driver
- Ken Hensley (b. 1945), keyboard player and main songwriter of Uriah Heep in the 1970s
- Aleks Josh, contestant on The Voice UK
- William Jowitt, 1st Earl Jowitt (1885 – 1957), Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain from 1945 to 1951
- Nadeem Leigh, contestant on The Voice UK
- Cathy Lesurf, singer and member of bands such as Oysterband, Fiddler's Dram, Fairport Convention and The Albion Country Band
- Richard Norwood (c.1590 – 1675), first person to survey the islands of Bermuda
- Alex Pettyfer (b. 1990), actor
- Kevin Phillips (b. 1973), footballer
- Rob Playford (b. 1968), Drum and Bass Pioneer and founder of Moving Shadow Records
- Elizabeth Poston, composer, born in Highfield House, Pin Green (now the site of Hampson Park) and later lived in Rooks Nest.
- Ian Poulter (b. 1976), golfer
- Jason Shackell (b. 1983), footballer
- John Thurloe (1616–1668), secretary to Oliver Cromwell, lived in what is now the Cromwell Hotel.
- Henry Trigg, 18c. farmer who wanted to come back from the dead after 30 years. His coffin was placed on a beam in a barn at the back of his house, which later became a bank in Old Stevenage.
- Phil Vincent (1908–1979), British motorcycle pioneer
- Ed Westwick (b. 1987), actor
- Jack Wilshere (b. 1992), Arsenal footballer
- Anthony (Tony) John Wright (b. 1962), cricketer
- Karen Woo, surgeon, killed along with other aid workers in Afghanistan (2010 Badakhshan massacre)
- Ashley Young (b. 1985), Manchester United footballer
- Living in Stevenage
- Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage.
- Lived in Stevenage
- Francis Cammaerts (1916–2006), French Resistance leader, headmaster of Alleyne's Grammar School and witness in the Lady Chatterley Trial, October 1960.
- John Cooper Clarke, performance poet, briefly lived in Stevenage, and allegedly wrote "Evidently Chickentown" about his experiences in the locale.
- Evelyn Denington, Baroness Denington (1907 – 1998), politician who served as chair of the Stevenage Development Corporation
- Denholm Elliott (1922–1992), actor, who lived in the house now known as the 'Little Folks Lab' nursery in North Road.
- E. M. Forster (1879–1970), novelist, lived in the house at Rooks Nest from 1883 to 1893.
- Tommy Hampson (1907–1965), Olympic athlete. Hampson Park is named after him.
- Miguel of Portugal, King of Portugal between 1828 and 1834, is reputed to have lived on the High Street around 1845
- Leslie Phillips, actor, evacuated to Stevenage during the Second World War.
- David Schaal, actor, spent his teenage years in Stevenage.
- Naum Slutzky (1894–1965), designer, master of Weimarer Bauhaus
- Gary Younge, journalist. Lived in Stevenage until the age of 17.
Many schools were built in the 1950s/60s due to an influx of Londoners to affordable terraced housing in areas such as Shephall, Broadwater, Chells and St Nicholas. The town has around 23 primary schools (see below). Some go to the surrounding villages of Aston, Benington, Walkern, Datchworth for their schooling. Stevenage also has a number of secondary schools.
- Camps Hill Community Primary School
- Round Diamond (Relocated to Great Ashby from the Pin Green area)
- Lodge Farm
- Martins Wood
- Giles Junior School
- The Leys
- Moss Bury
- Trotts Hill school
- St Vincent de Paul RC (collaboration of Pope Pius XII RC JMI and St John Southworth RC JMI, September 1990)
- Almond Hill & Letchmore Rd
- St Nicholas C of E
- Featherstone Wood
- Broom Barns
- Peartree Spring Infants and Junior
- St Margaret Clitherow RC
- Woolenwick infants and junior school
- Redemption Academy
- Shephalbury Park Primary School
- Bedwell School
- Aston St Mary's C of E
- Benington C of E
- Knebworth JMI
Special Needs schools
- The Valley School
- Barnwell (containing the VIBase for the Visually impaired pupils and the SPLD Base for Pupils with specific learning difficulties)
- Barnwell School Barnwell, SG2 9SW (In 2006, Barnwell school took in students from Collenswood School after its closure. Students are now taught on two sites: Barnwell East and Barnwell West.)
- The Barclay School (a technology college specialist ICT college), Walkern Rd, Stevenage, SG1 3RB
- The Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering (a studio school specialising in science and engineering), Monkswood Way, Stevenage, SG1 1LA
- John Henry Newman RC (a specialist arts school) Hitchin Road, Stevenage, SG1 4AE
- Marriotts School (a sports college), Telford Avenue, Stevenage, SG2 0AN
- The Nobel School (a specialist performing arts and science DCSF training school), Mobbsbury Way, Stevenage, SG2 0HS
- The Thomas Alleyne Academy, No. 1, High Street, SG1 3BE
- Pope Pius XII RC JMI (site in Chells closed and amalgamated with St John Southworth RC JMI, September 1990)
- St John Southworth RC JMI
- Pin Green JMI
- Burydale (amalgamated with Shephall Green Infant School in September 2005, now closed)
- Collenswood School (secondary school, closed in 2006 and the site became part of Barnwell School)
- Stevenage Girls School (amalgamated with Alleynes School to become Thomas Alleynes School)
- Chells School (a secondary school, the former site of which is now occupied by The Nobel School)
- Heathcote School (Secondary school, closed in 2012 and the site became part of Barnwell School)
- St Michael's (Catholic boys secondary school, moved from Mount St. Michael France to Hitchin then to Stevenage now amalgamated with St Angela's to form John Henry Newman)
- Shephalbury Secondary Modern School (Shephalbury Park, now a housing estate)
- The Grange (c.1847–c.1939)
Places of worship
Stevenage has an active network of churches of many denominations. Many of the churches work together for town-wide projects under the banner of "Churches Together in Stevenage". Stevenage also has a mosque.
Some of the churches are listed here:
- Allied Christian Worship Centre (Free Church )
- All Saints (Anglcian/Methodist )
- Bunyan (Baptist)
- Archangel Michael & Saint Anthony (Coptic Orthodox church centre)
- Grace Community Church (New Frontiers)
- Great Ashby Community Church (Baptist/Anglican joint project)
- Holy Trinity & Christ the King (Anglican)
- Immanuel Evangelical Church (Evangelical)
- Longmeadow Church (Evangelical)
- Redemption Church (Independent)
- Roman Catholic Church of the Transfiguration
- Salvation Army
- Stevenage Pentecostal Church (Assemblies of God)
- Stevenage Quaker Meeting
- St Andrew & St George
- St Hugh & St John (Anglican/Methodist)
- St Mary's, Shephall (Anglican)
- St Nicholas (Anglican)
- St Peters (Anglican)
- Vineyard Christian Fellowship
|Ingelheim am Rhein||Germany||1963|
- Stevenage (UK Parliament constituency)
- Grade I listed buildings in Stevenage
- Grade II* listed buildings in Stevenage
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stevenage.|
- Stevenage Borough Council
- Stevenage Football Club
- Stevenage Borough Supporters Association
- Stevenage travel guide from Wikivoyage
- The Stevenage-Ingelheim-Autun Association
- Stevenage Kadoma Link Association
- Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage
- Stevenage Parliamentary Constituency
- Stevenage Health Profile 2011 (pdf)
||Hitchin||Letchworth, Baldock||Cottered, Buntingford|
|Luton||Walkern, Benington, Standon, Bishop's Stortford|
|Kimpton, Harpenden||Knebworth, Welwyn Garden City||Watton-at-Stone, Ware, Hertford|