A Day in The Garden City Collection

Located at the top of Wilbury Hills, the Garden City Collection holds some of the most amazing pieces of architecture and artefacts I have ever seen. Even the smell is amazing! Containing objects ranging in size and theme, from crockery and corsets to prams and lawn mowers, the Collection tells the story of when Letchworth first became a Garden City in 1903 right up to how it is today. For someone like me, who is 17 and who has lived locally their whole life, I can see how things have changed just by browsing through the items.

When I was told I was going to look at the Collection, I was a little sceptical about whether I would enjoy it or not. However, seeing the many different things that have contributed to the story of the town as well as what the town was known for, definitely made me feel like I am part of something bigger. I was able to dive into the history of my own home, learning how it was part of an area of affordable housing, which was part of a housing competition in 1907. There was a lot of detail to remember, but it was fascinating learning about the origins of my own home.

The array of colourful textiles and household items produced in Letchworth are eye-catching. With three different rooms, there are so many opportunities to get lost in your own imagination. There are different objects everywhere you look, so there is an extremely low chance of boredom!  The Collection aims to show off, as well as maintain, the historical beauty of each individual object - each item has a different story to tell.

The multiple housing and town plans allow you to form an image in your head of what the town would have looked like all those years ago. My generation can sometimes forget how much our predecessors have influenced our everyday lives. People such as Ebenezer Howard, who put forward the idea of the first Garden City and inspired architects such as Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin to put his plan into action. Something about this unique town persuaded 33,600 people to come and start a life here. And this is exactly what the Collection is trying to highlight through its broad selection of historical objects.