2:00 PM August 27, 2022
Welwyn Backyard Metropolis Heritage Belief continues its delve into WGC’s previous. This week the Belief seems at Cresta Silks.
An attention-grabbing strategy to spend half an hour in Welwyn Backyard is to take the Cresta Stroll.
Begin at one of many Sectional buildings on Broadwater Highway, comparable to occupied at the moment by Topps Tiles.
These versatile items had been constructed by the Welwyn Backyard Metropolis Firm within the Twenties to draw start-up corporations.
One was taken in 1929 by Tom Heron, who needed to create a enterprise producing and advertising block printed silk clothes for discerning girls.
He had began making blouses when solely 21 in Leeds, then moved to Cornwall to work for Cryséde, a number one designer of silks. He was profitable there however felt he may do extra.
Selecting Welwyn Backyard due to its ahead trying picture – and since the Firm supplied important funding – he arrange Cresta Silks.
Heron employed fashionable artists to design his merchandise, together with his younger son Patrick, who went on to be an excellent determine in British artwork.
He selected modernist Wells Coates to design his retail retailers, in London, Bournemouth and Brighton, which broke new floor. They attracted go-ahead girls who needed fairly priced however fashionable and nicely made garments.
Cresta flourished. They moved in 1938 to a brand new constructing, our second cease, beside the railway station within the city centre, with a store and manufacturing unit behind.
Heron needed to conform to neo-Georgian styling due to planning restraints. It stood in splendid isolation on the nook of Howardsgate/Stonehills.
Now it’s McDonald’s. Stonehills has been narrowed and an identical constructing has been infilled.
Silk was exhausting to return by through the struggle so Cresta turned to wool.
Heron helped his nation by becoming a member of the Board of Commerce to arrange the Utility Clothes Scheme, which supplied well-designed garments at minimal price.
In 1951, with Heron trying to retire, the enterprise was taken over by the Howardsgate Belief, which had been set as much as facilitate disposal of the property of the Welwyn Backyard Metropolis Firm when it had been wound up.
In 1954 Cresta moved to Welwyn Shops, additionally owned by Howardsgate.
Our stroll concludes within the toy division of John Lewis. Think about it stuffed with machinists, working behind home windows which had been blacked out (and nonetheless are) as a result of residents objected to seeing a manufacturing unit on Parkway.
Cresta continued efficiently for a while however moved away from block printing.
Debenhams purchased it in 1957, moved it out of Welwyn Backyard, then closed it in 1980.
Tom Heron was a exceptional man and an essential citizen of Welwyn Backyard. We are going to write extra about him in our subsequent article.