Mural bridges gap between St Albans’ past and present

PUBLISHED: 06:46 16 June 2014

Managing Director of First Capital Connect David Statham, Mayor of St Albans Cllr Annie Brewster and Dean of St Albans Abbey the Very Reverend Jeffrey John unveil part of the timeline on Victoria Street Bridge depicting Saint Alban

Managing Director of First Capital Connect David Statham, Mayor of St Albans Cllr Annie Brewster and Dean of St Albans Abbey the Very Reverend Jeffrey John unveil part of the timeline on Victoria Street Bridge depicting Saint Alban

Archant

St Albans commuters were in for a surprise this week as a specially commissioned mural was unveiled on the St Albans City Station bridge.

Amidst mid-morning traffic, Cllr Annie Brewster presided over what was one of her last events as Mayor of St Albans before she steps down.

Fourteen important local figures, including Lady Verulam, the Dean of St Albans and Christiane Kubrick, also helped with the ceremony as they introduced each of the 16 individual canvases.

Cllr Brewster described the project as an attempt to transform “a previously blank bridge saying very little about St Albans” into an emblem of all that is great about our city.

Devised in collaboration with Larry Hayman of First Capital Connect, Lynn Howarth of National Rail and graffiti art company, OnTheLevel Productions, the mural chronologically depicts key moments in the city’s history, ranging from the building of the Roman Theatre of Verulanium to the pioneering conservation project Butterfly World in the present day.

Cllr Brewster said she believes the mural will allow visitors and residents alike to learn new facts about St Albans, citing the Alban Bun mural – the precursor, according to the Cathedral, of the original Hot Cross Bun – as an element of surprise even for locals.

In anticipation of the event, OnTheLevel Productions have also been leading workshops in local primary schools, teaching children about graffiti art and encouraging them to explore their local history.

Overall, the St Albans City Station team hope that the new artwork will act as a “great gateway to a great city”, making St Albans a destination in its own right.

Cllr Brewster added that the unveiling marks a fitting end to her year, capturing “heritage and contemporary St Albans side by side”.

The St Albans City Station Bridge mural is one of 12 local initiatives taking place between OnTheLevel Productions, local councils and National Rail.

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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