What’s your story? Why are you supporting the new museum and gallery project?
The Town Hall is due to be restored and transformed into a state-of-the-art new museum and gallery as part of a £7.75million project, with building work due to start in the next few months. You can find out more about the project here.
86% of funding has been secured, with significant contributions coming from St Albans City and District Council’s redevelopment of the old Museum of St Albans site on Hatfield Road and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are looking for contributions from charitable organisations, local businesses and the community to close the remaining funding gap.
We wanted to share some of the feedback that we have received about why people are supporting the project. Please share your story by commenting on our Facebook page, tweeting us @stalbansmgtrust #MyStAlbansStory or emailing us.
Local businessman, Rae Borras, has generously sponsored the first-floor landing gallery with a donation of £30,000 saying “St Albans has proven to be a fantastic place for us to start and grow our business. We were delighted to be given the opportunity to support the Museum project at the Town Hall and believe the completed scheme will re-energise this historic building well into the future. A modern attraction linked to the Cathedral by ancient French Row will provide visitors to our City with a real insight into what makes this place so special.”
Over 300 individual members of the local community have donated £250 or more and to acknowledge their support a name of their choosing will be engraved on the oak panel Honours Boards. The boards will be displayed in the corridor which will link a new excavated basement gallery with the existing Georgian prison cells beneath the courtroom. A local artist is engraving the boards in the style of historic graffiti, such as that found on the doors of the prison cells. The appeal is still open and individuals can donate online here or by calling Georgina Bawden on 01727 819203 for more information.
Commenting on the success of the appeal, Mike Gray, Chair of The St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust said, “We have been overwhelmed by the response and on behalf of the Trust I would like to thank everyone who has supported the appeal. It has struck a chord with hundreds of people keen to support this once in a lifetime project.” Cllr Annie Brewster, trustee of the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust and the district council’s portfolio holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, said “the support shown by the local community for the project was quite incredible”.
Susan L said “St Albans has been our home city for over 20 years and we are delighted to support this fabulous new museum and gallery”
Stephen Hurle of Jersey Farm said “Both my son and daughter were born in St Albans. I would like to put their names on the oak panels so later in life they will still feel an association with the Museum.”
Kay Allen said “it’s a lovely project. I have requested to have ‘Family Allen’ as I have lived in St Albans for 45 years, I have brought my children up here and I feel proud to be a part of St Albans”.
Eric Morecombe’s widow Joan Bartholomew said “I think the oak panels will be very attractive and of great interest. People will be fascinated to read and recognise the various names carved in oak in different sizes and styles“.
Richard Sved said: “The idea really caught my eye and moved me to donate. It’s a lovely, historically appropriate twist on the normal honours boards. Just like the graffitists of centuries ago, I’m excited to be leaving my mark!”
Elizabeth Muskett is honouring her father, Peter, saying “my father has lived for nearly 60 years in St Albans and has made contributions to the City. He was a governor of several schools and a Councillor in the old Town Hall and I believe having his name on the Honours Boards will be a lasting memory of his life and time in St Albans that his family can be proud of.”
Jean Day donated and named David Berridge for the boards. She said that he “was a dear friend of mine who died last year. He was well known in the town as a teacher at Marshalswick School (now Sandringham) where he became head of English. Whenever we were in town we always heard a passing voice shouting ‘Hello, sir!’ He was also a star of the local Operatic Society excelling particularly in comic roles, yet he was also a thoughtful director and an avid opera fan. He was kind man and a dear friend to many people and had a lot of fun in his life. Last year his remains were buried alongside his twin brother in Yorkshire – so it would be wonderful to have a lasting memorial to David, here in St Albans, where he spent the greater part of his life and where so many people remember him with such affection.”
A Herts Ad editorial described the project as “one of the most exciting developments the city has seen for decades”.