By Alan Davies
Thursday, September 13, 2012
RECOGNISE the iconic Welwyn Hatfield shops pictured in these two black and white snaps?
These historic photographs of the former Fine Fare supermarket in Welwyn Garden City and the Woolco department store in Hatfield were both taken by WGC resident Ken Wright in the early 1970s.
They form part of the forthcoming exhibition, entitled Memories, at the New Maynard Gallery in Campus West, WGC.
Ken took the photos, and some 60 others on show, as part of his job while working on the development of the two towns in the 1950s to 1980s.
He said: “I started in the engineer’s department of the WGC and Hatfield Development Corporations in 1948.
“Photography was a hobby. My boss became aware of that, and asked me to take photos of construction work. And before long, other departments wanted me to cover all sorts of developments and events as well.”
Selecting the images for the exhibition, which opens tomorrow (Friday) and runs in the Hawthorne Theatre foyer until Saturday, October 20, was a challenge for Ken.
He said: “The Development Corporations became the New Towns Commission in 1966. By the time I retired in 1982, I had amassed a large number of photos.
“I have chosen a mix of WGC and Hatfield subjects for the show, and included special occasion and human-interest shots.
“The present day location is easily recognisable in some pictures. And in others, longer-term residents may remember buildings that were knocked down some time ago. I hope that there is something of interest for everyone.”
Ken’s efforts are appreciated by local photographers. Bill Wastell, a former chairman of the WGC Photographic Club, said: “Ken has been a club member for many years, and has contributed greatly to the success of the club.
“He has made new prints from the original negatives using traditional darkroom techniques. In the current digital age, that is a rare thing, and so the results are especially interesting.”
Ken has been a New Maynard Gallery trustee since the gallery was founded in 2001. George Woodcraft, chairman of the trustees added: “This is the last exhibition organised by the current trustees.
“While Ken is staying on, the others are retiring, and a new group will take over.
“This is our 100th exhibition together, so it is fitting that Ken’s photos form the main exhibit – they make a very appropriate last century celebration.”
The Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust and Hatfield Local History Society will also be showing items in the display cabinets.
The New Maynard Gallery is located in the theatre foyer at Campus West.