Letchworth Garden City Collection Study Centre opens for public tours

Collections officer Aimee Flack with a rifle used by the Letchworth Garden City Home Guard during Wo

Collections officer Aimee Flack with a rifle used by the Letchworth Garden City Home Guard during World War II - Credit: Archant

A centre showcasing the history of the world’s first garden city has opened its doors to the public for the first time since being overhauled.

Ebenezer Howard's desk is one of the items featured in the Garden City Collection Credit: BJP Photog

Ebenezer Howard's desk is one of the items featured in the Garden City Collection Credit: BJP Photography Ltd - Credit: Archant

The Garden City Collection Study Centre in Wilbury Hills Road, Letchworth GC, which charts the history of the town, opened for its first public tour on Saturday.

The building has had a complete overhaul to transform what was formally the stores of the First Garden City Heritage Museum into a study centre, allowing people to view the collection in its entirety for the first time.

The free monthly store tours offer people an overview of the 80,000 items in the collection, which includes architectural master plans, photographs, and furniture relating to Letchworth GC and the garden city movement.

Visitors will also be shown displays of arts and crafts furniture, the many objects that tell the story of Letchworth GC’s industrial heritage and items of social history that act as reminders of how we used to live.


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Curator Victoria Axell has been explaining to the public the tales behind the objects on the tour as well as revealing how things work ‘behind the scenes’.

She said: “It was great to show off the whole collection. It’s really been Letchworth’s best kept secret for too long, and captures the whole story of the town from its inception. There are master plans and sketches, mementoes from the first residents and some great works of art.

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“It’s a very informal tour and you get to chat about individual items with people. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves during our first tour on Saturday.”

Tours will be held on the first Saturday of every month, from 11am to 12.30pm, with the next one scheduled for Saturday, April 5.

Numbers for the tours are restricted so advance booking is essential. Call 01462 476075 or email gcc@letchworth.com to book a place.

The collection store is also a study centre, open by appointment to the community and researchers from around the world who are interested in the history of Letchworth GC.

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