PAGEANT OF LETCHWORTH

EARLY INDUSTRIAL LIFE

LXXXIV

And the roar of busy loom, and wheel, and hammer
  Comes like music from afar;
And no baleful glare of forges mocks the glamour
  Of the silver evening star ;
And no hideous mass of hell-dark chimneys vomit
  Their black insult to the sky ;
And the shining host of heaven, peering from it
  Seem to smile as I pass by.

In this verse from a poem by Arthur Bennett in the "Daily News in 1904 entitled "Garden City" the author idealised the industrial life of this "City of Dreams," and it is important in this connection to realise that Letchworth was conceived and founded as a step on "the pathway to real reform" and " to effect a marriage between town and country, establish peace in industry and true democracy In local government '' in the words of an article in Garden Cities and Town Planning.

How far it has succeeded it is yet rather rash to affirm, but its early industrial life was ruffled by more than one contrary wind, as we shall see. It is interesting to recall that an early publication of the Company said : " An effort will be made to beautify the factories by surrounding them with trees and open spaces." Undoubtedly the effort was made, but unfortunately all too often the factories failed to support the effort and where trees have been planted they are not beautifying now. The " Spirit of the Place " appears to have missed some places.

The first firms to secure sites in Letchworth were : the Heatly Gresham Engineering Co., Vickers and Field, asphalte manufacturers, Garden City Press, Ewart and Son, and Idris and Co., mineral water manufacturers. Of these the first to operate on the Estate were Vickers and Field, but. the Garden City Press was, as we have shown, at work in Hitchin for some elghteen months before coming to Letchworth in November 1905.

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