This article was written before the advent of the Coronavirus epidemic. On Government advice, all forthcoming events have been postponed until further notice.
St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society marks its first 175 years this year. Sandy Walkington, president of the society, and St Albans Mayor Janet Smith launched the birthday celebrations at Verulamium Museum.
‘When we were founded in 1845, coaches clattered over the unpaved streets of St Albans, French Row housed brothels and beer houses, and the Abbey was falling down,’ Sandy said. ‘Since then the Abbey has been saved. We stopped the Clock Tower being demolished and our ‘clockateers’ still help to staff it in the summer months. Thanks to us, Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler excavated Verulamium and here we are in the museum. We continue to have remarkable lectures, conferences and seminars, and produce prize-winning publications.’
Cllr Janet Smith added her own congratulations: ‘The partnership between the Arc & Arc and the council is so valuable,’ she said. ‘We know how special our city and district’s history and archaeology are, my thanks to everyone at the Society for doing so much to promote their understanding.’
Sandy announced two major events to mark the anniversary. The Museum + Gallery will host a large-scale exhibition about the Society over the summer and a gala lecture will be given at St Albans School by world-famous historian Professor Michael Wood.
The exhibition will tell the story of St Albans and district in a series of objects, all associated with the Society and showing how it has made a national impact. Some of the objects have never been seen in public before. Local people will also have the chance to make their mark. A recording booth at the museum will allow them to leave their own memories about different aspects of our daily live – a treasure trove for future historians.
‘Getting Michael Wood to give a gala lecture on 28 July is a great coup and a tribute to the esteem in which this Society is held,’ Sandy said. ‘We hope there will be something for everyone in this year of celebration.’
For more information on the programme of events and how to join the society please visit www.stalbanshistory.org.
For more information, please call Sandy Walkington on 07802 177317
Note to editors:
The exhibition at the St Albans Museum + Gallery will be opened by Lord and Lady Verulam on Thursday 18 June 2020 and will run till Sunday 6 September.
The gala lecture by Michael Wood is scheduled for Thursday 28 July at St Albans School
For more information on the Society including how to join, please go to www.stalbanshistory.org