Mr Alford discusses what he is most proud of in the development of Stevenage

“Everything in the town was a team effort; nothing was designed by an individual. It was a matter of feeding information from everybody”

Stevenage Museum


I think the thing I’m really most proud of is probably the town centre.  I was involved in that, when I say I was involved it was a team effort very much in fact.  Everything in the town was a team effort; nothing was designed by an individual.  It was a matter of feeding information from everybody; we don’t necessarily take credit because a thing is architecturally good.  It’s a matter of whether it works or not, which is most important.  And from that point of view I think the town centre was the most successful part, because it was produced against terrific opposition at the time.  And I remember so well the opposition to it, and in fact at a public meeting, which we went along to, although we weren’t allowed to speak as members of the staff, the public were allowed to say something.  Well we went along to this meeting and I’m glad to say the public supported whole-heartedly the idea of a pedestrian centre, and that’s how we got it at Stevenage.  Otherwise it would have been very much, like the whole Harlow Centre, having to be pedestrianised later, which is no way to do a thing.  And so that is one of the most important.  The other things, which I think were important, were the contribution for the accommodation for the elderly.  Particularly the sheltered accommodation, I think some of those buildings are nice to look at and inside they’re nice to live in, I think.  I’m getting to the age now where I might maybe live in one, one day and it would be nice really to try it out.  I think as far as we could judge, we felt they were the right kind of building that people wanted and tried to make the homely, knowing that most people don’t want to be institutionalised.  But even so they have to be eventually, most of us have to in one way or another.  So I think that was a very successful part of our town.

Alford 1987

This page was added on 16/12/2015.

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