Michael Cotter discusses the hardships of early Stevenage, and how the “early pioneers” stood together to shape the town

Michael talks about the early problems and hardships that the inhabitants of Stevenage faced, and how they overcame this by standing together and shaping the town.

Stevenage Museum


Michael:  And this was the argument you see, why should we be better off than anybody else? And we said just fine but we don’t want to be worse off than anybody else. Anyway the cost of living was higher so there was problems. As I said to you no shops, wives had to walk into Old Stevenage pushing their prams

Interviewer: That is a social problem isn’t it really?

Michael: Yes, builders lorries everywhere splashing muck on the prams and what have you, all of them bought on higher purchase and everybody praying to god that they wouldn’t get too damaged so they could flog them when the child grew up a bit. These are the hard facts of life. And this is what we sprung from and this is what I am proud of. Because we, the first generation in Stevenage, we moulded  this town, we held hands together, we crossed maybe the political divide sometimes, the religious divide or what have you but we held hands together and we marched forward together. And to me when I look back one of the most satisfying things about this whole concept of new towns is that the early pioneers shaped and to a great degree afterwards developed their theories in relation to what the town should be. We didn’t succeed all the way but it was a very enjoyable episode

Cotter 1986

This page was added on 25/11/2015.

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