A memory of moving to Stevenage in the 1960s from Sheila:
My husband worked at Mentmores. They moved to Stevenage, so we applied for a house here and I still live there.
Oh – to get a house was lovely. We lived in rented rooms in London with two children. Half the shopping centre was open, it was lovely.
We came to look at houses; the one in Penn Road was really perfect, near my husband’s work and near the town. My children went to Broom Barns School and I was a dinner lady there.
Lilian and Edith added some stories of their own:
I moved from Clacton, having visited relatives in the town beforehand. The railway station was in the old town. There were woods and lots of open ground. There was a pig farm then and the deer used to come to be fed. The little ones would come right up to the window to take food. This was near Box Wood (where the Great Ashby estate is now).
I went to the St Nicholas Community Centre – doing dinners and we set up the Monday Social Club there (with Age Concern). I retired from it at 90!
Jenny noted: We’ve been there the longest in our road (33 years). I liked the old town when we moved in. There was a good fish shop and a fruit shop. Waitrose moved in and that put paid to the separate shops. My husband had a job in Stevenage and the houses were cheaper than Watford.
My next door neighbour said that two doodlebugs came down around the end of my garden and only one bomb was ever found!
Joan told us: I came down on the “Parents of Tenants” list. I moved into Hillcrest. Stevenage seemed colder than London, but you don’t get the London smells, there is lovely fresh air here, and a lovely market!
Edith added: I moved from Enfield into a house next-door to my daughter. Mary Tabor used to manage the housing. She set up the Good Friends Club and we helped her run it. Stevenage does a lot for its old people.
It was strange, coming from a busy town, I never seemed to see anyone walking about and there were lots of streets looking alike. It was difficult to find your way.
My Mother came to visit. I said how did you sleep? She said “I didn’t, I missed the sound of the traffic!”.
Jenny D told us: It has been nothing like the impression that people gave me before I moved here. In St Albans you don’t know your neighbours; they are out at work to pay the mortgage. There is a lot going on in Stevenage. It seems easier to find facilities for older people.
There memories were recalled by members of the Stevenage Good Friends Group on 21 June 2011.