St Albans Chamber of Commerce Town Hall tour

5 Directors of the St Albans Chamber of Commerce were treated this month to a behind the scenes tour of the on-going work to transform the Town Hall into a state-of-the-art new museum and art gallery.

The St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust & the Museums Service shared the exciting progress taking place behind the hoardings, including the excavation of the basement gallery. Contractor Willmott Dixon have been digging down below the original foundations through what was formerly the floor of the cafe in the front of the building in order to create the new gallery, which will be ambient and security controlled to allow the display of valuable and delicate items, including those borrowed from other collections.

Every care is being taken to preserve and restore the original Georgian elements of the Grade II* Listed building. In the court room, the team behind the restoration work are getting ready to revitalise the wood panelling which had been painted for use in filming the Stephen Fry film Wilde.

The building is also being adapted for its new use with beautiful modern features designed by Kings Cross Station architects John McAslan and Partners. The new glazed links have been added to the sides of the upper level of the Town Hall. These glass walkways will improve access to the first floor galleries and provide excellent views of the medieval city and inwards over the court room.

The party were even able to climb the scaffolding to reach the roof and see close up the detail on the neo-classical pillars, and the intricate lantern roof above the court room, both elements of this historic building that will be preserved thanks to this project.

Just under £500,000 is still needed to complete the funding for this £7.75 million project, which has seen considerable support from the business community in St Albans.

The people of St Albans and the surrounding district have donated over £250,000 to have inscriptions included on oak panel Honours Boards that will be installed outside the new basement gallery in a new passage to link to the prison cells. Companies can also donate a minimum of £500 under this scheme and will be recognised by having their name included on the panels.

The St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust are very grateful for the support of the St Albans Chamber of Commerce, and we have very much enjoyed working with them and its members over the years. Without the help and enthusiasm of the local business community this project would not be going ahead. Together we can transform St Albans culturally for all who live and work here, and encourage new visitors to our historic city, thereby benefitting the local economy.The Trust have a range of opportunities to recognise donations and are always happy to work with new and existing corporate supporters. For more information contact Fundraising Officer Georgina on [email protected] or on 01727 819203