The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Events Archive

Hatfield New Town – Mid-Century Modern to High-Tech. Walk.




Hatfield New Town – Mid-Century Modern to High-Tech.  Walk.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Start time/place: 10.30 am/Hatfield Railway Station

Finish time/place: 4 pm/Hatfield Railway Station

Hatfield New Town has come a long way since its designation in 1948, with a masterplan by Lionel Brett, also its chief architect. Geoffrey Hollis will lead a walk to see many of its best buildings, including the Award winning 1960s patio housing in The Ryde.

The first visit is to Marychurch, George Mathers (1969-70,) Grade II listed and described in the C20 book 100 Churches, 100 Years as a ‘domesticated Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral’. Next, we will see inside several houses in The Ryde, for the Cockaigne Housing Group, a famous development of 28 single storey, flat-roofed, linked patio houses, Phippen, Randall and Parkes (1963-6), Grade II.  This is a rare example of private listed post war housing development.

A sandwich lunch (provided) at the Cockaigne Housing Association’s communal house.

In the afternoon we walk through the new town centre: passing  the swimming pool, Woodroffe Buchanan & Coulter (1964-6), which has a cruciform roof made up of four hyperbolic paraboloid shells; a look inside the High-Tech masted Galleria, Michael Aukett Associates (1988-91), built over the A1; and lastly the former Technical College, the original buildings by Easton and Robertson (1948-52) and subsequently greatly enlarged as the University of Hertfordshire. A short bus ride takes us back to the station. 

Those with time to spare are invited to tea at Geoffrey’s 1960s house, near The Ryde and ten minutes’ walk from the Station.

Geoffrey Hollis is an enthusiast for Modernism, with an active interest in the conservation of historic buildings. He is Clocks Advisor to the Diocese of St Albans.

Members: £28.  Non-members: £32

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The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244

The Twentieth Century Society is an IHBC (Institute of Historic Building conservation) recognised CPD provider

Above: The Ryde, Hatfield.  Photograph: Modern House