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Stevenage

From Academic Kids

Borough of Stevenage
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Stevenage_-_Hertfordshire_dot.png
Stevenage

Missing image
HertfordshireStevenage.png
Stevenage


Shown within Hertfordshire
Geography
Status:Borough
Region:East of England
Admin. County:Hertfordshire
Area:
- Total
Ranked 342nd
25.96 km²
Admin. HQ:Stevenage
Grid ref: Template:Gbmappingsmall
ONS code:26UH
Demographics
Population:
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
Ranked 290th
79,675
3,069 / km²
Ethnicity:94.6% White
2.1% S.Asian
1.2% Afro-Carib.
Politics
Stevenage Borough Council
http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/
Leadership:Leader & Cabinet
Executive:Labour
MP:Barbara Follett

Stevenage is a town and district in Hertfordshire, England, and is part of the London Commuter Belt. It is to the east of junction 7 of the A1 (M), and is between Letchworth to the north, and Welwyn Garden City to the south.

Its population was 1,430 in 1801, 4,049 in 1901 and 79,724 in 2001 - the biggest rise being in the 1950s and 1960s, after becoming a new town.

Contents

History

The present site of Stevenage lies near a Roman road that ran from Verulamium to Baldock. Some Romano-British remains were discovered during the building of the New Town, and a hoard of 2,000 silver Roman coins was discovered in 1986 during new house building the Chells Manor part of Stevenage. The most substantial evidence of activity from Roman times are the Six Hills, six tumuli by the side of the old Great North Road - presumably the burial places of a local family.

A little to the east of the Roman sites the first Saxon camp was made in a clearing in the woods. This is where the church, manor house and the first village were later built. It is thought that the town's name comes from the Saxon stithen ac meaning strong oak. Similar settlements sprang up in the nearby areas of Chells, Broadwater and Shephall.

In the Domesday Book, its Lord of the Manor was the Abbot of Westminster. The settlement had moved down to the Great North Road and in 1281 it was granted a Royal Charter to hold a weekly market and annual fair (still held in the High Street).

The earliest part of St Nicholas Church dates from the 12th century, but it was probably a site of worship much earlier. The known list of priests or rectors is relatively complete from 1213.

The remains of a medieval moated homestead in Whomerley Wood is an 80 yard square trench almost 5 feet wide in parts. It was probably the home of Ralph de Homle, and both Roman and later pottery has been found there.

For a description of the medieval manorial records, and details of Stevenage's history from the Tudor period to the Victorian era - see the external history link.

In 1281 Stevenage was granted a twice weekly market and an annual fair. Both were probably held in the wide part of the present High Street to the north of Middle Row. The High Street is closed for an annual fair even today.

Around 1500 the Church was much improved, with decorative woodwork within, and with the addition of a clerestory.

It was in the 16th century that Thomas Alleyne founded the free Grammar School — the school (no longer grammar) still exists.

Stevenage's prosperity came in part from the North Road, which was turnpiked in the early 18th century. Many inns in the High Street served the stage coaches, 21 of which passed through Stevenage each day in 1800.

In 1857 the Great Northern Railway was constructed, and the era of the stage coach had ended. Stevenage grew only slowly throughout the 19th century and a second church (Holy Trinity) was constructed at the south end of the High Street. In 1861 Dickens commented "The village street was like most other village streets: wide for its height, silent for its size, and drowsy in the dullest degree. The quietest little dwellings with the largest of window-shutters to shut up nothing as if it were the Mint or the Bank of England."

Modern Stevenage

This slow growth continued until, after the Second World War, the Greater London Plan called for the establishment of a ring of new towns around London. It was designated the first New Town on 1 August 1946, and was planned with six self-contained neighbourhoods. The first two of these to be occupied were the Stoney Hall and Monks Wood "Estates" in 1951. Next to be built and occupied was Bedwell in 1952 - The Twin Foxes pub was Stevenage's first "new" public house and is still situated in the Monk's Wood estate. The public house was named after local notorious identical twin poachers (Albert Ebenezer and Ebenezer Albert Fox). Next came Broadwater and Shephall (1953), then Chells in the 1960s and later Pin Green and Symonds Green.

The pedestrianised town centre was the first traffic-free shopping zone in Britain, and was officially opened in 1959 by the Queen. By the clock tower and ornamental pool is Joyride, a mother and child sculpture by Franta Belsky.

Next to the Town Gardens, the Church of St George and St Andrew is an example of modern church design and is also near Stevenage Museum.

A distinctive feature of Stevenage is its urban landscape. It has many roundabouts, a network of cycle tracks, and some of the tallest street-lights in Britain. Fairlands Valley is a large area of parkland with boating lakes. The town is a very green town, with avenues of trees (typically Norway Maple) throughout but also large woods such as Monks & Whomerley Wood, which is ancient semi-natural woodland. Indeed in the UK it is only matched for the ease of access to large woodland by places such the Forest of Dean (Woodland Trust data). There are also many playing fields (e.g. St. Nicholas playing fields near Ripon Road). The town's schools all have a substantial amount of ground; key examples are Ashtree Primary School, Moss Bury Primary School and Collenswood.

The Stevenage Leisure Centre contains the Gordon Craig Theatre and many sporting opportunities. The Stevenage Leisure Park has a multiplex cinema, clubs and restaurants. The main shopping area is around Queensway and the Westgate. At Roaring Meg there is an out of town shopping area known by some as the 'tin cans'. There is also shopping in the Old Town.

In 1999 the Millenium clock tower was introduced to the town centre in order to display a count down for the new millenium. Sadly, just like everything in Stevenage, it went wrong.

2004 was an exciting new year when shops started blowing up. One incident was Greggs, there were sausage rolls everywhere.

Separated from the residential parts of the town is the Industrial Area. For many years, British Aerospace was the largest employer in the town, but now Glaxo has a large pharmaceutical research laboratory complex, and there are many small to medium size firms as well.

The town is still growing, and is now set to expand west of the motorway. The new development of Great Ashby near Chells Manor to the northeast of the town (but actually in North Herts District) has continued the growth of the town.

Schools

Many schools were built in the 1950s/60s due to a massive rush of Londoners to affordable terraced housing in Shephall, Broadwater, Chells, St Nicholas etcetera. The town has around 23 primary schools such as: Round Diamond, Ashtree, Moss Bury, Peartree Springs, Featherstone wood (formerly Bandley Hill), St Nicholas, St Margaret Clitherow, Broom Barns and Martins Wood. Many children also go to the surrounding villages for schools in Aston, Benington, Walkern, Datchworth etcetera. Stevenage also has just under 10 secondary schools. Unfortunately, many of them have low standards and this has meant a number of pupils are moving to schools such as Freeman College and Edwinstree in Buntingford. This has been caused mainly by an extremely over subscribed school (the most oversubscribed in Hertfordshire), called Nobel where brighter children strive to get into, leaving other schools such as Collenswood and Marriotts (which were one fairly good schools) to fail (most of Edwinstree and Freeman college's pupils were originally from Collenswood).

Primary schools

Local

  • Camps Hill
  • Round Diamond
  • Lodge Farm
  • Martins Wood
  • Giles
  • The Leys
  • Moss Bury
  • Trotts Hill
  • Bedwell
  • St Vincent de Paul RC
  • Pin Green
  • Almond Hill & Letchmore Rd
  • Ashtree
  • St Nicholas C of E
  • Featherstone Wood
  • Broom Barns
  • Fairlands
  • Peartree Spring
  • St Margaret Clitherow RC
  • Roebuck
  • Longmeadow
  • Burydale

Nearby

  • Walkern
  • Aston St Mary's C of E
  • Graveley
  • Benington C of E
  • Weston and Knebworth

Special schools

  • Larwood
  • Lonsdale
  • Redemption Academy
  • Greenside
  • The Valley School

Secondary schools

Local

  • Marriotts
  • Nobel
  • Barnwell
  • Heathcote
  • Barclay
  • Thomas Alleyne's
  • John Henry Newman RC

Nearby

  • Hitchin Girls'
  • Hitchin Boys'
  • Freman College (upper school)
  • Edwinstree (middle school)
  • Kingshott (private)
  • St Francis College (private)

Town twinnings

External links


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