St Albans Museum and Gallery
Creating a cultural icon in St Albans
Our team of heritage and grade II specialists have transformed the grade II listed St Albans Town Hall into a museum and art gallery rejuvenating the cultural life of the city and beyond.
The quality was recognised by the Hertfordshire Building Futures Awards 2018 were it was given the Retrofit for the Future award and commended in the Project of the Year category. Judges said:
“Superb attention to detail has resulted in the sensitive refurbishment of this important historic building.The vision and energy of a highly motivated group of individuals and an outstanding contractor has enabled the building to be resurrected as a major community asset which the city and residents of St Albans can, justifiably, be very proud.”
Our work saw functionality of the building totally maximised while energy usage was reduced- all while retaining and enhancing the historic features. It now boasts extra space and annual energy savings of 19,500 kWH, making it a world-class cultural hub.
Grade Two specialists
The extension and refurbishment of the town hall in St Albans to form a new museum and gallery along with public meeting spaces, will showcase over 2,000 years of priceless heritage and host cutting-edge art exhibitions, sharing local, national and world treasures with all when it opens in June.
Set to be a world-class centre for arts and culture at the heart of one of Britain’s most historic cities, the new St Albans Museum and Gallery will be free to all visitors, giving them the opportunity to explore the fascinating histories of the town hall, including its assembly room, courtroom and cells.
The town hall, a grade II listed building, dates from 1831 and is one of the most prominent features of the city’s conservation area. It combines a grand ballroom, a courtroom with prison cells below and Georgian civic chambers.
The ground floor’s entrance halls have been turned into a reception area and exhibition space to showcase St Albans’ history. There is also a specialist shop, café and dedicated education area nearby.
The Victorian courtroom has been fully restored and preserved for future generations and will have a number of uses including education and providing additional café seating. On the first floor, the assembly rooms have been refurbished and will be used for civic and public events including heritage and art exhibitions. New glazed 'wings" at the first-floor level will allow visitors to circulate around the building and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding townscape and cathedral. They will also provide views back into the courtroom.
A new temperature-controlled and secure basement gallery has been created under the building to house national touring exhibitions and contemporary art shows. The ground floor has also been renovated to accommodate a learning studio, a new visitor information point, a gift shop and café.
Low emissivity glass reduces heat loss by more than 60%, while frame seals eliminate draughts and the laminated glass not only removes 99% of UV light, it also provides additional safety.
Chris Tredget, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the Northern Home Counties said:
“It is an honour to work on a historic building like St Albans Museum and Art Gallery, we are delighted to have been able to give this important building a new lease of life for generations to come.”
The plans were developed by the Council in consultation with Historic England which has supported the project since its inception. St Albans Civic Society, The Victorian Society, St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeology Society, Heritage Lottery Fund and Hertfordshire Ecology have all been involved in the project to ensure its success.
St Albans Museum and Art Gallery is one of a host of historic and grade II properties our teams have transformed you can find out more by reading Brilliant Buildings – restoring our icons.
- Grade II listed property
- Set to be a world-class centre for arts and culture
- Original features preserved for future generations to experience
Willmott Dixon House, 80 Wilbury Way, Hitchin, Herts
Tel: 01462 442200
Fax: 01462 442204