Hatfield is a town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, in the borough of Welwyn Hatfield. It had a population of 29,616 in 2001, and is of Saxonorigin. Hatfield House, the home of the Marquess of Salisbury, is the nucleus of the old town. From the 1930s when de Havilland opened a factory until the 1990s when British Aerospace closed, Hatfield was associated with aircraft design and manufacture, which employed more people than any other industry. Hatfield was one of the post-war New Towns built aroundLondon and has much modernist architecture from the period. TheUniversity of Hertfordshire is based there. Hatfield is 20 miles north of London. A train service runs directly from Hatfield Station to Kings Cross, taking approximately 20 minutes on the fast service.
The Old Palace at Hatfield House
Hatfield has a nine-screen Odeon cinema, a stately home (Hatfield House), a museum (Mill Green Museum), a contemporary art gallery (Art and Design Gallery), a theatre (The Weston Auditorium) and a music venue (The Forum Hertfordshire). There are shopping centres in the new town. The Galleria (indoor shopping centre), The Stable Yard (Hatfield House), and at two supermarkets (ASDA and Tesco).
Hatfield contains numerous primary and secondary schools, including The Ryde School, St. Philip Howard Catholic Primary School, Onslow Saint Audrey's School and Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School and the independent day and boarding girls' schoolQueenswood School.
The University of Hertfordshire is based in Hatfield. A large section of the airfield site was purchased by the University and the £120 million De Havilland Campus, incorporating a £15 million Sports Village, was opened in September 2003. The university has closed its sites at Watford and Hertford; faculties situated there have been moved to the de Havilland Campus.
Hatfield is 20 miles (32 km) to the north of London. It is 14 miles (23 km) fromLondon Luton Airport and also near to Stansted airport The A1(M) runs through the town and it is close to the M25.
The East Coast railway line from London to York runs through the town and separates the old and new parts of Hatfield. A 22-minute commuter service connects Hatfield railway station to London Kings Cross.
There was a fatal rail crash at Hatfield in 2000, which brought track maintenance deficiencies to public attention. A garden beside the East Coast Main Line was built as a memorial for the crash victims.