Skip to content
Site navigation
Search this site

About HarlowDid You Know?

Start of main content

Did You Know?

Harlow Boasts:

  • One of the most extensive cycleway networks in the country
  • Thriving football and rugby clubs
  • A renowned music venue that has hosted gigs by Oasis, The Subways, Blur and Supergrass.

Among its famous sons and daughters you'll find

  • Ex-footballer and former Spurs, Chelsea and England manager, Glenn Hoddle
  • Olympian Acer Nethercott
  • Paralympians Noel Thatcher and Anne Wafula-Strike
  • Olympic Gold Medalist and Professional Cyclist Laura Trott and following her gold medal in London 2012, Harlow has a gold letterbox.
  • Actress and former Page Three girl Linda Lusardi
  • Hairdresser Trevor Sorbie
  • Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham - born in Princess Alexandra Hospital.
  • Comedian, writer, actor and voice-over artist Rik Mayall

It was at Nortel, Harlow that Charles K. Kao developed optical fibre data transmission.

Original manufacturing in The Pinnacles took the form of a biscuit factory owned and run as a Co-Operative.  It provided employment to the town for over 50 years, before closing in 2002.

As the Titanic sank the orchestra played 'Nearer My God to Thee', written by the poet Sarah Flower Adams of Harlow.


  • The Lawn was the first housing block of its kind in Britain. designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd it was opened in 1951. One of the first post war buildings to be Grade II listed by English Heritage
  • Several housing estates were designed by world famous architects. For example Tanys Dell and The Chantry (Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew), Ladyshot (FRS Yorke), Churchfield (H T Cadbury-Brown), The Downs (Richard Sheppard) and Northbrookes (Powell and Moya)
  • Bishopsfield, built in 1966, was the result of an architectural competition. Later known as "the Casbah" the scheme won several awards for its design including a Housing Design Award in 1969.


  • Lord Stephen Taylor, a member of the Harlow Development corporation board, first conceived the concept of a 'Health Centre'. The idea was to have a building with a doctor, a dentist and a nurse all under one roof. Harlow opened the first health centre in a converted house in The Chantry called Haygarth House in 1951
  • The first purpose built Health Centre, Nuffield House, was opened at the Stow in 1955
  • Harlow also pioneered the idea of an Industrial Health Service, whereby nurses would visit factories and businesses to monitor the health of the workforce.


  • The new town public houses are all named after butterflies and moths (an idea from Stephen Taylor). The pub sign would show the insect on one side and on the reverse an image that would be a pun on the name.
  • Between 1958 and 1961 the Harlow Sportcentre (now closed) was built. This was partly funded by contributions from the public through their rates. This was the first community project of its kind in the county and was the first to use the name 'sportcentre'.
  • The Odeon cinema (now closed) was opened in 1960 and was the first cinema built in Britain since the war and the first by the Odeon group since 1937.
  • The Harlow Town Show began in 1965 and over a thirty year period became one of the biggest regional events bringing many visitors to Harlow.
  • Harlow Town Park is one of the biggest urban parks in Britain.


  • Harlow was the first of the New Towns to have its own newspaper. The Harlow Citizen was first produced in May 1953. Unlike other new tows this was produced completely independently of the Development Corporation.
Previous Page: World War One Centenary
Next Page: Origins of Harlow

Toolbar section
Print Page
Print Page
Send to a Friend
Send to a Friend
Save to Favourites
Save to Favourites
Text Only
Text Only

Footer section