The other St Albans

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many emigrants sailed from Britain to new lands, taking a few possessions and the memories of where they had come from. Often the new towns and villages they established were badged with the names of the places they remembered from home. As a result, there are at least six other St Albans scattered around the world.

St Albans, Vermont, USA

In 1763, the then colonial governor of New Hampshire gave a charter to St Albans in what later became Vermont. The War of Independence paused settlement, which resumed in 1785. The area became a farming community, but also attracted investment as a depot on the railway from nearby Canada. The village was incorporated in 1859, and was the scene of the most northern engagement of the Civil War, when Confederate soldiers stranded in Canada mounted a raid on the town on 19 October 1864.

St Albans now comprises a city of two square miles surrounded by a town of the same name. In 2010, it had a population of just under 7,000. In 1966, residents formed the St Albans Historical Museum, who operate a local museum.

St Albans, West Virginia, USA

In 1832, streets and building lots began to be laid out in area then called Coalmouth, which lay on the Coal River. As its name suggests, the area was an important part of the route along which coal was transported. Later on, the timber industry grew in importance. Further name changes occurred in relatively quick succession in the second half of the 19th century, but in 1871, the town became St Albans, which it remains today.  You can read more about the town’s history on the website of the St Albans Historical Society, founded in 1972.

St Albans, Victoria, Australia

Saint Albans was first established as a township in Victoria in 1887 on the railway from Melbourne. Growth was relatively slow initially, but picked up in the 1950s and 1960s as the government diversified sources of immigration. As the town and nearby Melbourne grew, St Albans became a northern suburb of the city of Melbourne within the area known as the City of Brimbank. In 2016, St Albans had a population of over 37,000. To read more about the area’s history, visit the website ‘A history of St Albans’.

St Albans, New South Wales, Australia

St Albans is a village of some 300 people (2011) that lies on the Macdonald River about 65 miles north west of Sydney. When first surveyed in 1837, it was called Macdonald, but changed its name to St Albans in 1841. Initially, it served as a place for local farmers to ship their produce to Sydney via the Macdonald and Hawkesbury rivers, but as the Macdonald River silted up, navigation became difficult, and business dwindled.

St Albans, Christchurch, New Zealand

St Albans was a separate borough of Christchurch from 1881 to 1903, but was then incorporated in the city. It has a population of some 13,000 (2018). The town was named after the farm owned by a local (Yorkshire-born) farmer and celebrated New Zealand cricketer, George Dickinson. Dickinson had in turn named his farm in memory of his cousin Harriet Mellon, a strolling player who became an actress and married the Duke of St Albans. The town was spared serious damage in the 2010 earthquake, but was hit hard in a subsequent quake in February 2011.

St Albans, Newfoundland, Canada

On the south coast of Newfoundland lies a small town of 1,200 people. The Bay d’Espoir on which St Albans sits was first settled in the mid-1800s to support trading and logging activities.