In 1801, 1,430 people lived in Stevenage. In 1901, 4,049 people lived in Stevenage. In 2001, 79,724 lived in Stevenage. The town grew the most in the 1950s and 1960s, when it became the first new town in the world.
The name Stevenage may come from an Old English word meaning "place at the stiff oak".
Stevenage started as a village and people have lived there since Roman times. Some Roman remains were found when the New Town was being built. There are also six Roman round barrows, which is where a local family was buried.
In 1281, Stevenage was allowed to have a market twice a week and a fair every year. The fair still takes place every year.
Stevenage became the first New Town on 1 August 1946, and was planned with six neighbourhoods.
The town centre was the first shopping area in Britain with no traffic. It was opened in 1959 by Queen Elizabeth II. In the town centre there is a clock tower, fountain and a statue called "Joyride", which is a statue of a mother and child. It was made by Franta Belsky. In 1999, a millennium countdown clock was put up on the town centre clock tower, which showed how much time was left until the year 2000. In 2005, plans were made for the town centre to be made more modern. The changes could take 10 years.
Next to the town centre is the town gardens, a modern church and a museum.
Stevenage has lots of roundabouts and not many traffic lights. There are also lots of cycle tracks for people to ride on. Stevenage has some of the tallest street lights in the country. The town is a very green town, with lots of trees and grass. Fairlands Valley is a large park in the middle of Stevenage. There are also many playing fields. The schools in Stevenage all have large fields.
Many schools were built in the 1950s and 1960s because a lots of people from London were moving to Stevenage. The town has around 23 primary schools and several secondary schools.
Stevenage has a leisure centre and a theatre in the town centre. There is a leisure park with a large cinema, and lots of clubs and restaurants. Stevenage also has two industrial areas.
Stevenage holds a number of events every year including Stevenage Day, Rock in the Park and Stevenage Carnival. The Carnival ended in 2003 but it is returning 6th June 2010. [www.stevenagecarnivalday.org]
Stevenage has lots of places of worship for people of several different religions. Many of the Christian churches work together for town-wide projects under the name of CTIS "Churches Together in Stevenage".
Stevenage is twinned with the following places around the world:
Stevenage has been twinned with Shimkent since 1990
Stevenage has been twinned with Kadoma since 1989 and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. [www.skla.org.uk]
Stevenage has been twinned with Ingelheim since 1963 [www.tsiaa.org.uk]
Stevenage has been twinned with Autun since 1975. It was incorporated into the Stevenage-Ingelheim Association as Ingelheim and Autun were already twinned. see Stevenage-Ingelheim-Autun Association [www.tsiaa.org.uk]