A day of nostalgia at Jackmans Estate's 60th anniversary event

Jackmans Stories Letchworth

Lynda Palmer grew up on the Jackmans Estate with parents Ken and Mary Fennemore - Credit: Gill Riding

More than 100 people turned out for an informative and nostalgic event on Monday, celebrating 60 years since the official opening of Letchworth's Jackmans Estate.

Past residents of the estate shared memories and photos from the 1960s and 70s at the 'Jackmans Stories' event hosted at the community centre.

Visitors were also able to enjoy traditional 60s food and music - provided by the 1960s Relived band, who made the trip from London.

Marion Melton moved to Denby from London with her husband in 1965 

Marion Melton moved to Denby from London with her husband in 1965 - Credit: Gill Riding

Community curator at the Letchworth Heritage Foundation, and event organiser, Gill Riding, said: "For me -  it was important to capture the memories of people on the estate, who lived there from 1962 through to 2020 - young and old.

"For those early residents, the estate was planned as a mixture of local and London people, despite that,  the estate was always known as 'offcomers from London' and the bad reputation which has stigmatised the estate is no worse than anywhere in the UK.

"The residents I spoke to are really proud to be called a 'Jackmans' and wouldn't live anywhere else.

"The ones who came from London in the early 1960s were part of rehousing the London overspill - those early residents successfully applied for work in Letchworth and were offered homes out of the city, escaping the squalor of inner city tenement blocks.

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"Where they had come from was soon forgotten once they moved here. Letchworth had been meticulously planned out with natural areas/residential/business areas - it was a great place to have moved to with equally great opportunities.

"To me, Jackmans was a modern day extension to Ebenezer Howard's principles."

Brian Williamson moved with his parents to Allison in 1964.

Brian Williamson moved with his parents to Allison in 1964. He said he is "proud to have grown up and live on the Jackmans estate" - Credit: Gill Riding

Jackmans was an extension of the Radburn, New Jersey, principle from the USA - separating cars and people.

The town planner behind Radburn was Clarence Stein, who, in turn, was inspired by Letchworth and Welwyn garden cities and called it 'a garden city for the motor age'.

Researching ahead of the day, Gill said: "The common theme has been the strong sense of community and pride in the estate."

Stories from residents included that of Ken and Mary Fennemore - who lived in Allison, and were among the first 40 couples to move to the estate by 1964. 

The couple, who have both sadly passed away, lived on the estate all of their lives and were original members of the Jackmans Estate Association.