New A to Z book about Letchworth is published

A new illustrated book, A-Z of Letchworth Garden City has been published by independent publisher Amberley just in time for Christmas.

Written by Josh Tidy, an expert on garden cities, this colourful book is the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who has an interest in Letchworth and garden cities. It is also a valuable new reference book for lovers of architecture and design, history, and the Arts and Crafts movement.

Josh Tidy is the curator of The International Garden Cities Exhibition, the museum and visitor centre run by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation. He often appears on BBC television and radio programmes and he also offers regular walking tours of Letchworth, the world’s first garden city, founded in 1903 by social reformer Ebeneezer Howard.

Josh Tidy says: “The A-Z concept of the book makes it easy to dip in and out of and return to. I have tried not to stick to the ‘greatest hits’ of Letchworth which means that I have been able to highlight some of the lesser-known people, places and events that have all shaped Letchworth’s fascinating history.”

As you might expect from a town designed according to Arts & Crafts principles, the book is beautiful to look at. “Each entry is illustrated with unique and original images from The International Garden Cities Exhibition,” says Josh Tidy.

 ‘A’ includes the Anglia Match Company, founded in 1935; Arbor Day is an annual tree planting ceremony founded in Nebraska. ‘O’ is for the brilliant Ogle Design, an industrial design and model making consultancy which continues to do award-winning work and has been based in Letchworth since 1960. Under ‘M’ is Marmet, the pram manufacturer that reinvented the baby carriage which became popular across the world, and whose clients included the royal family.

Many early female pioneering residents are included: ‘L’ for Annie Lawrence who led a campaign to improve the lives of children in the clean air of Letchworth after witnessing the poverty of the London slums. ‘R’ is for Juliet Reckitt, the daughter of George Reckitt of Reckitt & Sons - manufacturer of starch and other cleaning materials. Juliet was an active supporter of the Letchworth Quakers and also funded the Girls’ Club extension to Howard Hall.

The A-Z of Letchworth Garden City is available to buy from the Tourist Information Centre and, during December, from the Christmas Shop in the Community Museum.