St Albans, where I live, is a historic city popular with tourists. It has Ancient British, Roman and Saxon foundations. It has a rich musical life, ranging from the International Organ Festival to acoustic performers in local pubs – in fact it seems that nearly every pub has a music night.
But the visual arts are not so well served. For many years we’ve had an art gallery run by the University of Hertfordshire; the Verulamium Museum presents our Roman heritage; and the St Albans City Museum has a range of locally themed events.
Now the local council and the St Albans Museums Museums and Galleries Trust have a bold plan to turn the grand Palladian town hall, the focal point of the city, into a combined museums and arts venue. They call the project renaissance: St Albans.
I’m up for it.
We deserve a venue like this and so do our visitors. You can get to St Albans from central London in half an hour, and he who is bored with London often likes to spend a relaxed day here.
Our old town hall is Grade II Listed but it’s shabby, under-used and needs investment. The project will cost £7.75 million. It’s received lottery money and will submit its Round 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in August. Subject to funding, work will start next year and the museum and gallery (left) is expected to open in late 2017.
I’m putting in my two penn’orth. On Monday I’m going to the fundraising dinner at Freddie’s Restaurant: June 29 @ 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm. There’s still time to book. Contact Verulamium Museum 01727 751810 for details.