The Factory in the Garden
Work began on building Welwyn Garden City, a new town 25 miles north of London, during 1920. One of the first businesses to be attracted to the town was the Canadian Shredded Wheat Company. Searching for a rural setting in England, they bought a seven-acre site in the heart of Welwyn Garden City and started building what was to become their iconic UK home. Adjacent to the town’s commercial centre and strategically perched on the eastern bank of the Great Northern Railway, the factory came to occupy a central space economically and socially, as well as physically, within the town. Production at the plant began during 1925, with the official factory opening by the Marquis of Salisbury taking place in March 1926. Between 1930 and 1960 adjoining land was acquired, allowing for several expansions of the original site. Before the introduction of a fully mechanised production line, the plant employed over 850 members of staff – the biggest employer in the town.
Despite the name above the entrance changing several times during the factory’s eighty-two year history, production had never been affected. However, at the end of 2006 the first steps were taken towards the site’s closure. By the end of 2007 production was discontinued, the factory doors were locked and the land put up for sale, marking the end to an harmonious eight decade partnership between the town and its longest standing and most recognisable inhabitant.View Gallery