Consultancy firm rewrites town’s history

IN my journalistic life I have covered Stevenage for more years than I care to remember. I will admit to it being for longer than the majority of the time Stevenage has been a new town and in the process I would claim to have built up knowledge of the pla

IN my journalistic life I have covered Stevenage for more years than I care to remember.

I will admit to it being for longer than the majority of the time Stevenage has been a new town and in the process I would claim to have built up knowledge of the place as good as many of those who have actually lived there for years.

I have also been a keen student of the town's history, reading many books on the subject.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me this week when I learned of a secret history previously unknown to me and, I suspect, everyone else.


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How it could have gone unrecorded for such a long time is a mystery as this was a significant series of events.

But now the record has been put right, apparently, thanks to the young things in a London public relations consultancy working for an Essex-based firm of housing developers which is putting up a block of flats and penthouses in Stevenage they reckon is slap bang between the old town and new town, although in fact it is in the Old Town (it is facing me as I sit writing this).

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It is the location which apparently spurred these wordy folk on to giving us a history lesson.

They say that the old and new towns of Stevenage "are to be reunited after 50 years of division, following the Blitz of World War II".

A "million pound regeneration scheme" (I think they mean the one billion pound scheme for the town centre) and new homes construction were "bridging the gap".

And then they confide: "Parts of Stevenage were rebuilt following the historic devastation, however the visual distinction between the old and the new divided the town."

But their client's development was "a clear example of how the regeneration in the area is ensuring that the town is united once more".

Where did they get all this claptrap? Let's just stop here and put the record straight.

The Blitz of World War II was concentrated on London and hardly touched Stevenage. It was nearly 70 years ago.

How the old and new towns could be "re-united" after being divided by the Blitz is beyond me. The new town did not exist during the war - it was a consequence of the conflict that Britain's new towns were created, with Stevenage being the first in 1947, two years after the war finished.

Talking about wise words - or otherwise - a news item caught my eye this week.

It was about the intellectual difference between the sexes, with the conclusion being that it is all in the mind.

Researchers claim that men tend to overstate how clever they are while women underplay their intelligence.

It's what is known as the "male hubris, female humility" effect.

So in reality, are men cleverer than women?

I thought I would raise the subject at home, but I have a feeling that the short, sharp answer I would get is: "Don't be stupid.

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