This constituency is based around the town of Stevenage, which was Britain’s first post war new town, with some notable examples of modern architecture.
One previous MP, Shirley (now Baroness) Williams described it in 1964 as 'a microcosm of the new Britain'. There had, however, been a settlement here for many centuries, with modern day Stevenage growing out of a small Anglo-Saxon settlement known as Stithenaece.
The town was the first in Britain to have a traffic free shopping zone, and the main shopping area, Queensway, was officially named by the Queen in 1959.
Companies in the constituency include ICL, Glaxo Wellcome, Du Pont and the Dynamics Division of British Aerospace, although the latter has seen severe downsizing over the past decade. The town has good transport links, situated as it is on the main line going north from King’s Cross, and on the A1(M).
Aside from Ken Follett, husband of the incumbent MP, the town has a literary connection in the novelist EM Forster, who lived in Stevenage as a child. His most famous work, Howard’s End, was based on Rook's Nest farm, in the old town.