Happy birthday to Hemel Hempstead as it celebrates 75th anniversary of being declared a New Town

Council celebrates 75th anniversary

By Holly Patel
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 5:46 pm

Hemel Hempstead is set to celebrate a special anniversary on Friday - as it marks the 75th anniversary of being declared a New Town.

Dacorum Borough Council will be looking back over the town's history - and the Hemel Gazette would love to share your memories too.

On February 4, 1947 Hemel Hempstead was chosen for expansion, coming to the rescue of Londoners who were living in slum housing or whose homes had been bombed during World War II.

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Hemel Town Centre before pedestrianisation

An ambitious building programme began and the first ‘New Town’ residents moved into their homes in Adeyfield in 1950.

Over the next four decades, Hemel Hempstead grew – creating eight new neighbourhoods, a new town centre on Marlowes and a thriving industrial estate around Maylands Avenue.

According to the national census, Hemel’s population grew from just over 20,000 in 1951 to over 55,000 in 1961. At the last census in 2011, the population was 94,932, but is now estimated to be over 100,000.

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Share your memories

Dacorum Borough Council will be looking back over the town's history on its Facebook and Instagram channels this week and will be asking residents to share their memories of Hemel over the years.

Sara Whelan, Hemel Strategy Place Programme Manager, said: “The council values the history of Hemel Hempstead’s strong neighbourhoods and communities.

"Having been one of the first New Towns, we are reinventing the town for the 21st century as a place of green open spaces and opportunity.

Hemel Town Centre - Bank Court from the Water Gardens

“As we look to the future of Hemel Hempstead, we want to think big; this is a place where the prospects are bright.”

And the Hemel Gazette would love to feature your pictures and memories of Hemel Hempstead over the years too. Send them to us at [email protected] or message us on Facebook.

Hemel Garden Communities, an ambitious development programme that will transform Hemel Hempstead and create attractive and sustainable new neighbourhoods and communities to the north and east of Hemel Hempstead, has provided Hemel Hempstead with Garden Town status.

Over the next 25 years, it aims to take the best of the New Town heritage into the 21st Century with over 11,000 quality homes and 10,000 jobs anchoring the transformation of Hemel Hempstead and the wider area.

Andrew Percival, Chair of Hemel Place Board, said: “From its earliest days, Hemel Hempstead has always embraced the opportunities of its time, not least gaining its status as a new town in 1947.

"As Chair of the Hemel Place Board, it is evident to me that, 75 years on, Hemel Hempstead's neighbourhoods and thriving business communities continue to work energetically together to ensure the town can face the future with confidence.”