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Focus On - Stevenage

Anglia Television's 'Focus On' series looks at the Hertfordshire town of Stevenage, designated the UK’s first ‘New Town’ in August 1946.

Documentary 1965 14 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


Computer manufacturers, furniture industry research and aircraft factories all paint a picture of Stevenage as a town of the 20th century, but interviews with local inhabitants, many of whom have moved from London, offers a more balanced view. Presenter, Michael Partington gives us a tour of the town, with spectacular aerial views and demonstrations of the latest technology on offer.

After the Second World War, the Abercrombie Plan defined a series of new towns surrounding London. The development of Stevenage was not popular with the local community, but demolition of the Old Town Hall went ahead as planned and the creation of six self-contained neighbourhoods began. Officially opened in 1959, and mimicking the design of the Lijnbaan in Rotterdam, Stevenage’s town centre was the first purpose-built pedestrianised shopping centre in Britain. GlaxoSmithKline is a major employer in the town, which also boasts numerous science and engineering companies.