The celebrations for the 70th anniversary of Stevenage New Town will reach a crescendo this week as we mark the birthday of its official designation as a New Town by the government on November 11, 1946..

To mark the celebrations, the Comet has put together a special pictorial timeline of the New Town over the past 70 years. Local historian, Margaret Ashby will deliver a lecture aptly entitled Stevenage First and Best, on Saturday at 2.30pm, at Stevenage Borough Council headquarters on Danestrete. Entry to the lecture costs £3. To book, contact John Spiers at

Next up on Thursday, November 24, pop star Heather Small will take the stage to switch on the town’s Christmas lights.

Former M People singer Heather, who has won two Brit Awards and whose track ‘Proud’ has gone on to become the soundtrack to a number of special events including London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, will perform on a spectacular new in-the-round stage in the town centre, before the lights are switched on at 6.30pm.

Music and dance talent from across Stevenage – as well as the cast of this year’s Peter Pan pantomime at the Gordon Craig Theatre – will take to the stage from 4pm, before a firework finale lights up the town centre. Fairground rides and face painting are also on offer and people will be able to have their photos taken with their favourite mascots.

To top off the year’s celebrations, there will be a spectacular finale concert at the Gordon Craig Theatre on Saturday, November 19.

Massed choirs of Stevenage school children and talented local soloists will come together to round off the celebrations. Tickets are £9 from the Gordon Craig Theatre Box office. It starts at 3pm.

To view a larger version of our timeline click here >