If you look up Welwyn you uncover a geographical confusion that began nearly 100 years ago, when Ebenezer Howard purchased an area of agricultural land that was in two parishes, Hatfield and Digswell. For the purposes of civil administration, it was largely in the Rural District belonging to the small town of Welwyn, a thriving commercial centre on the Great North Road. Howard purchased the land to build a company-owned new town, misleadingly called Welwyn Garden City. In 1927 the new town was granted its own Rural District, which included land from Digswell, Hatfield, Welwyn and Tewin. The main post office and police station were moved to it from Welwyn. Many people refer to the Garden City as 'Welwyn' while, proudly parochial, some of the older inhabitants of the ancient historic town try to resist casual attempts to relegate them by calling it 'Old Welwyn'.
Tony Rook is a building technologist who has done research on the manufacture and use of traditional building materials. He has also directed excavations of Roman sites. For many years, he was an extramural tutor in archaeology for three universities. Now retired, he gives illustrated talks. He lives in Welwyn, Hertfordshire.