A warm welcome for South African visitor to chilly Letchworth

AS the England and South African cricket teams battled it out in 30C heat in the first Test, one visitor felt the chill of winter in Comet country after travelling thousands of miles to Letchworth GC. Alderman Brian Watkyns of Pinelands Garden City near C

AS the England and South African cricket teams battled it out in 30C heat in the first Test, one visitor felt the chill of winter in Comet country after travelling thousands of miles to Letchworth GC.

Alderman Brian Watkyns of Pinelands Garden City near Cape Town was visiting to see how much his town grew from the designs of the world's first garden city.

Pinelands was created in the 1920s after the Spanish flu epidemic had decimated the population of Cape Town.

Cramped housing was blamed and the chairman of the local chamber of commerce, who had met Letchworth GC founder Ebenezer Howard, proposed that a garden city should be built.


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It was the first in South Africa and Sir Raymond Unwin, one of the planners of Letchworth GC, was consulted for the designs.

Mr Watkyns was met by Cllr David Miller, chairman of North Herts District Council (NHDC) and Cllr Tom Brindley, portfolio holder for planning, before being taken on a short tour of the garden city by Cllr F John Smith, leader of the council, John Campbell, chief executive of NHDC, and Alan Howard, marketing director of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation.

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Alderman Watkyns said after his tour: "We are very proud of our garden city in South Africa and it was wonderful to come to the place where it all started and spread around the world.

"But it was also interesting to hear from Letchworth people that we may face the same issues with the need to preserve our past while always adapting for the future."

Cllr Miller said: "I was delighted Brian Watkyns got in touch with us. He had some fascinating insights as to how local government works in the changing environment of South Africa.

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