With emerging archaeological evidence pointing to its origins being as far back as the `lost' centuries after the Roman era, Hitchin has a long and fascinating history. The town flourished on the wool trade, and by the eighteenth century was a staging post for coaches coming from London. By the mid-nineteenth century, the railway had arrived, and with it a new way of life for Hitchin.
Despite being overtaken in terms of size by its neighbour Stevenage during the last century, Hitchin indisputably remains the principal town of North Hertfordshire. It retains an unusually rich and varied townscape, which is lavishly illustrated in these pages by more than 180 historical and contemporary photographs.
Hugh Madgin has been interested in the history of Stevenage and the surrounding area all his life; he has had various books, articles and booklets published on the town since 1983, including Stevenage- A Photographic History of Your Town and Stevenage: A History and Celebration. He has always lived in the town and is chairman of the committee that runs the Stevenage Farmers' Market.