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North Herts: bringing communities together for 50 years

The North Hertfordshire district was created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. It brought together five areas:

  • Baldock Urban District
  • Hitchin Urban District
  • Hitchin Rural District
  • Letchworth Urban District
  • Royston Urban District

That means we’re officially 50 in 2024, so we thought we’d celebrate this golden milestone with a timeline trip down memory lane. How many events do you remember?

From Queen Elizabeth II unveiling North Herts Leisure Centre in 1982 to the star-studded filming of 'My Policeman' at Hitchin Outdoor Pool with Harry Styles in 2021, the last 50 years have been filled with unforgettable moments.

Thank you for being part of the North Herts story and here’s to putting North Herts on the map for the next 50 years!


  • Bob Marley and the Wailers play HTH in May

  • North Hertfordshire District Council was created on 1 April 1974. In 50 years, NH has had no overall political control for 9 years (1994-1996 and 2019 to present), was Conservative for 38 years (1976-1994 and 1999-2019), and Labour 3 for years (1996-1999).
  • Walsworth Festival started, they celebrate 50 years in 2024 too!
  • Council offices consolidated to a six-storey building now known as DCO on Gernon Road, Letchworth, which was rented and formally opened on 22 July by Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.
  • Council offices consolidated to a six-storey building now known as DCO on Gernon Road, Letchworth, which was rented and formally opened on 22 July by Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.
  • Queen Elizabeth II opens North Herts Leisure Centre in Letchworth.
  • Careline starts providing community alarm and telecare service to North Herts residents.
  • NHDC introduced its green and purple logo, in use until 2021
  • Outlook magazine for residents launches
  • Hitchin indoor pool opens next to the outdoor pool which opened in 1938.
  • Queen Elizabeth II opens sheltered housing at Tabor Court and new houses around Beech Hill on 30 July.
  • First council website launches
  • Broadway Cinema, owned and managed by Letchworth Heritage Foundation, undergoes £2m renovation into a four-screen cinema – it originally opened in August 1936, after the neighbouring Palace Cinema (built in 1909 – one of the first purpose-built venues in the country) struggled to accommodate local crowds.
  • North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum established
  • Black Squirrel Credit Union created
  • Ownership of council’s housing stock moves to North Hertfordshire Homes in April, as part of the local authority stock transfer movement. Transferring housing stock to housing associations is a well-established means of managing social housing as they can borrow money to buy and invest in housing.
  • August – Robbie Williams plays Knebworth with record attendance of 375,000 fans over three nights, which has never been broken since in the UK! Council licensing officers are heavily involved with event management.
  • £5m Royston Leisure Centre opens in September – our largest capital project at this point.
  • First year of Balstock Festival, a small event held in one pub which is now a three-day event featuring more than 200 artists held on 13 stages across the town – Hertfordshire's biggest free music festival with all proceeds going to a nominated charity.
  • Fortnightly waste collections introduced.
  • First Green Flags awarded to Norton Common LNR in Letchworth and Priory Memorial Gardens in Royston, and each year since!
  • Council launches social media channel on Twitter (X)
  • Queen Elizabeth II visits Hitchin on 14 June as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK and where her mother was born in 1900.
  • The World’s End, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and directed by Edgar Wright, is filmed largely around Letchworth – the sci-fi comedy about an infamous pub crawl premieres in 2013.
  • DCO purchased for £3.6m
  • Careline becomes Herts Careline partnering with Hertfordshire County Council and providing services to the whole county.
  • North Hertfordshire Homes housing association becomes settle
  • Council launches email newsletters
  • July – New £6m North Herts Museum opens in Brand Street, Hitchin
  • May – Climate emergency declared
  • Skate Letchworth pop-up ice rink opens for the first time
  • Covid pandemic – two national lockdowns and local restrictions – like other councils, our Environmental Health team in particular takes on additional responsibilities to help keep our communities safe.
  • Four purple hearts logo introduced
  • June – My Policeman, starring Harry Styles and Emma Corrin, films at Hitchin Outdoor Pool – the romantic drama premieres in 2022
  • Dec – 10,000 trees given away
  • Aug – Purchase of Churchgate Shopping Centre in Hitchin for £3.75m
  • Filming Code of Practice published
  • April – New leisure contract with Everyone Active begins
  • May – First whole-council election, then every four years after, next being in 2028.
North Herts: Bringing Communities Together