Hatfield local area and living guide
Hatfield is a town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, in the borough of Welwyn Hatfield and is of Saxon origin. Hatfield House, the home of the Marquess of Salisbury, is the nucleus of the old town. Hatfield House is proud to be one of the Treasure Houses of England, ten of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England. Dating to Jacobean times the house holds architecture rarely seen today. The House was splendidly decorated for entertaining the Royal Court, with State Rooms rich in paintings, fine furniture and tapestries. Examples of Jacobean craftsmanship can be seen throughout Hatfield House such as the Grand Staircase and the rare stained glass window in the private chapel. Displayed throughout the House are many historic mementos collected over the centuries by the Cecils, one of England’s foremost political families. Hatfield House was completed in 1611. It was built by Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury and son of Lord Burghley, the chief minister of Elizabeth I. The deer park surrounding the house and the older building of the Old Palace had been owned by Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, who had used it as a home for his children, Edward, Elizabeth and Mary. The main architect of the house was Robert Lemynge but Simon Basil, the Surveyor of the King’s Works and Inigo Jones also contributed to the design. Today the House offers bespoke shops, restaurant, farm and play area making a fun day out or is ideal for a family Sunday carvery.
In 1930 the de Havilland airfield and aircraft factory was opened at Hatfield and by 1949 it had become the largest employer in the town, with almost 4,000 staff. It was taken over by Hawker Siddeley in 1960 and merged into British Aerospace in 1978. In the 1930s it produced a range of small biplanes. During the Second World War it produced the Mosquito fighter bomber and developed the Vampire, the second British production jet aircraft after the Gloster Meteor. After the war, facilities were expanded and it developed the Comet airliner (the world's first production jet liner), the Trident airliner, and an early bizjet, the DH125, in 1990s when British Aerospace closed a large section of the airfield site was purchased by the University and the £120 million de Havilland Campus, incorporating a £15 million Sports Village, was opened in September 2003.
Hatfield retains New Town characteristics, including much modernist architecture of the 1950s and the trees and open spaces that were outlined in the original design. The redevelopment of the town centre is being planned currently, involving the construction of 275 flats and retail units.
Hatfield has a nine screen cinema, stately home (Hatfield House), museum (Mill Green Museum), and a contemporary art gallery (Art and Design Gallery), theatre (The Weston Auditorium) and music venue (The Forum Hertfordshire) at the University of Hertfordshire. In addition to the town centre, shopping can be enjoyed at The Galleria (indoor shopping centre), The Stable Yard (Hatfield House), and at major retailers (ASDA, Tesco & Next).
Hatfield contains numerous primary and secondary schools, including The Ryde School, St. Philip Howard Catholic Primary School, Onslow St Audrey's School and Bishops Hatfield Girls School and the independent day and boarding girls' school Queenswood School.
Hatfield is 20 miles north of London. A train service runs directly from Hatfield Station to Kings Cross, taking approximately 20 minutes on the fast service