The historic market town of Hitchin is one of the best places to live and work in the UK. It has scored highly in several quality-of-life surveys in recent years. Here Thames Contracts, who have carried out several high-end office design projects in Hitchin, look at the history and appeal of this North Hertfordshire town.
Photo by OLU
The History of Hitchin
There is evidence of Roman activity in the area with the Icknield Way, one of the most famous Roman roads, passing close by to the North of the town. However, the name is probably derived from the River Hiz (z was pronounced ch) which runs through it, and from the Hicce Saxon tribe who originally settled in the area.
Described as a Royal Manor in the Domesday Book, there’s also a strong religious connection as the Mercian King Offa established a Benedictine religious house here. In the period between the 13th and 15th centuries, the economy thrived thanks to agriculture. From the 16th century onwards malting and brewing became more important.
The Hitchin Market is a long-standing tradition, even though the town wasn’t originally granted a Royal Charter to hold one.
The Transport Links
As with Welwyn Garden City, a lot of people commute directly into the capital, with many using the Great Northern Line which feeds into King’s Cross and St Pancras. However, Hitchin railway station is also on the Cambridge Line, making journeys to both Cambridge and the capital possible in just over half an hour. The town is also about three miles from the A1 (M) and ten miles from the M1.
Hitchin has a number of secondary schools. The Boys’ and Girls’ Schools are both academies and share a sixth form with the Priory School.
The town is extremely strong in the arts, there are three theatres and several music clubs (particularly classical and folk). All of this finds an outlet in the annual arts and music festival, held every July and which lasts a full month.
As for sporting facilities, there are clubs for footballers (Hitchin Town play in the Southern League Premier Division Central) cricketers, swimmers, cyclists, athletes and even triathletes.
The Commercial Picture
Some of the traditional businesses have either closed or moved out (including the breweries, the tanneries, and Ransoms the pharmaceutical chemists). However, the town continues to thrive and it owes much of its ongoing appeal to the number of independent shops and businesses.
In 2019 the High Street was a finalist in the Government-backed Great British High Street awards. The North Hertfordshire district, of which Hitchin is an integral part, has more than 5,500 businesses and the bulk of these are SMEs.
Finance and business services, public administration and education employ around four out of every 10 working people. Hospitality accounts for around a quarter of the workforce and manufacturing employs just under 15%, according to the ABI.
Office Design in Hitchin
Thames Contracts are based in Barnet, around 25 miles south of Hitchin. We are extremely familiar with the area and have carried out high-quality office refurbishments and refits both in the town and the surrounding area. Our expertise isn’t limited to offices, either; we offer clubhouse refurbishments, marine interior fitouts and shop refits in London and Hertfordshire.
Our network of contacts and local expertise means we can easily find the right tradespeople to carry out the work, whether you are just moving into the town or area, or are already based here and just want to reconfigure your existing workspace.
If you would like to know more about how we could help you, follow this link and fill in the online form or call us directly on 020 8368 0045.