Mrs Rees, Community Activist

Return to Meeting Mary Tabor

Most people thought all the roughs from the top of the housing list in London were coming out to Stevenage, that isn’t so.

You could only come to Stevenage if you had a job and the people who were allocated their housing nominations in the firms were not going to give jobs to people who were going to sweep up, they wanted their skilled workers to come.

Mrs Askew, Pioneer

Return to Meeting Mary Tabor

“We were the very first people in Fellows Way and it was the very first house to be finished because at that time Miss Tabor was friendly with mum and dad, and she rushed through, so we could get the house finished, and we had a choice of number three or five. And there was a chap working for the corporation named Harry Byatt and he came to see mum and advised her to take number five, because he had a good look and he said that number three was going to have problems with the floor. So she said right. So she decided on number five, so they quickly finished the house. And number three since has had the floor in the lounge cracked twice, so you know – one of those things.”

Mr Lowe, Builder

Return to Meeting Mary Tabor

And the only one we didn’t have to go to a labour exchange was Stevenage, because at that time the Korean War was on and they were calling up the navy reserve. So I burnt me papers and this was the only, because at that time you went to the labour exchange you know they traced you back.

So, Stevenage one you didn’t have to go to a labour exchange. I came here and got a job straight away. 

Mr Lenthall, Engineer

Return to Meeting Mary Tabor

“And I suppose I must have applied for, eight or nine different opportunities, one of which was Stevenage.

I didn’t get a reply very quickly, and we were, going back up to Doncaster to see our relatives, there was family who were still living there, and on the journey back as we passed through Stevenage, my, my wife said;

“I, I don’t know what’s the matter with Stevenage. They don’t seem to want you.”

Anyway, she stuck her tongue out at Stevenage as we went through on the old A1.

A week later I was interviewing. 

We came and we were shown round by, Mary Tabor, who was the Housing Manager at that time, and I was, quite intrigued because we saw, I think about seven different types of houses, how, as we came to each house, somebody in the group would say,

“Ah, that’s the one for me.””

Mr Alford, Architect

Return to Meeting Mary Tabor

“…but still in a lot of mud, and rather rough conditions which one gets from a building site. We then walked back up through the mud to Stoney Hall and to Broadview, and this house was one that had been occupied for about 6 months, and was now empty.

And we rather liked that, it was in a situation the building had gone past that, things were clean and fairly tidy around. It was nearer the Old Town, which was the sole source of shopping in those days.”

Meeting Mary Tabor

When the new town was first built, there were strict rules for who could get houses. You had to get a job, work in Stevenage for six months, and then you got a house to rent. The houses weren’t cheap to rent, but they were generally new houses with gardens and many people came from overcrowded rooms primarily  in London.

When you got a job you had to see Miss. Tabor, the first housing officer in Stevenage she had the job for many years and many interviews mention her as a key figure:

Click the link to read and listen.

Mr Alford, Architect

Mr Lenthall, Engineer

Mrs Hampson

Mr Lowe, Builder

Mrs Askew, Pioneer

Mrs Rees, Community Activist

Mr Hayward, Emergency Service

Mr Severn, Pioneer

Mary Tabor, Housing Officer

Saving the 70s

Saving the 70s is a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project across two counties (Hertfordshire and Suffolk) celebrating all things 70s. Stevenage Museum is working to scan photos from the decade and has started with this picture of the Superbus. The Superbus Company (part of London Country Bus Services) arrived in 1971 and their buses were a common sight in the town with their distinctive yellow and blue livery.
Follow the link to find out more about the project which is now completed

Saving the 70′