John McAslan + Partners’ project to overhaul St Albans’ Old Town Hall has won a £2.5 million boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Planned to complete in 2017, the £7.75 million project will transform the Grade II*-listed landmark into a new museum and art gallery featuring a walkwaywith panoramic views of the ancient city.
Backed by St Albans City and District Council, the project will relocate an existing museum on Hatfield Road to the George Smith-designed landmark which first opened in 1826.
The new venue will document 2,000 years of the city’s history spanning from its foundation as the Roman city of Verulamium to the present day.
The Old Town Hall’s court room and former prison cells will be converted into new exhibition spaces and the University of Hertfordshire’s contemporary art gallery will also be moved to the site.
Urban salon will design the main galleries and create a flexible exhibition kit which the museum can use to easily update and transform its displays.
Annie Brewster – the council’s portfolio holder for sport, leisure and heritage – said: ‘In many ways, St Albans is Britain’s second most historic city and this new museum and art gallery will attract hundreds of thousands of new visitors to the area and will be free to enter.
‘The town hall was designed in 1831 for everyone to use and our new museum and art gallery will also be for all to enjoy.’
The HLF has awarded £2.5 million towards the scheme and the council has pledged a further £3.3 million. The St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust is hoping to raise the remainder of the required finance.
Cosntruction is expected to start early next year.