St Albans care home charity celebrates its diamond anniversary

Grace Muriel House in St Albans in 1983.

Grace Muriel House in St Albans in 1983. - Credit: Archant

A local charity which manages its own purpose-built residential care home is celebrating its diamond anniversary.

Grace Muriel House in St Albans.

Grace Muriel House in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

The Abbeyfield St Albans Society, which runs Grace Muriel House, on Tavistock Avenue in St Albans, is marking 60 years with a virtual birthday celebration.

The society is now looking to connect residents, friends, family, management and staff safely by way of one large online gathering, along with messages of support from some special guests.

Newly appointed chairman George Ashworth said: “Given the history of the society, it is entirely fitting that we invite Daisy Cooper MP, The Mayor and The Bishop of St Albans to participate.

“While in lockdown, a recorded message from them, as opposed to them attending in person, will help to secure the safety of our residents, which is of course our highest priority. 2020 has been a very difficult year for the charity and the care sector in general, but we will continue to face the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 with professionalism whilst staying true to our ultimate aim of enhancing the quality of life and wellbeing of our residents.”

Grace Muriel House in St Albans in 1983.

Grace Muriel House in St Albans in 1983. - Credit: Archant

He aded: “This is a bitter-sweet celebration because we cannot celebrate the occasion in the manner we would wish. Being a much loved St Albans institution, it is only natural that we would want to commemorate the occasion with the community of St Albans as a whole.

“There are some 11,500 residential and nursing care homes in the UK, but less than 1% of these homes are rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and we are proud that Grace Muriel House is among this elite.

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“It is a great achievement and is something that everybody in St Albans can feel proud to be associated with. I hope that the society’s birthday celebrations can further help to strengthen our connections with the broader community, including local businesses.”

The Abbeyfield St Albans Society has come a long way from its early beginnings in Stanhope Road.

Having chaired the society for 12 years until his recent retirement, Keith Faulkner reflected on its history: “In 1960, inspired by the work of Major Richard Carr-Gomm, a group of individuals came together for a sherry party in the Mayor’s parlour.

“Sir Victor Goodhew, the then-MP for St Albans, organised the party for the purpose of discussing the establishment within St Albans of a home for older people. Despite the vision of Major Carr-Gomm to eradicate loneliness and despite his early exemplary work in Bermondsey, the idea had little initial traction.

“The thought of starting a care home in St Albans from scratch, without any financial backing and only moral support, was too much for most. The need was, however, clear to two serving Aldermen – Frank Lavery K.S.G and Harold Child MBE.

“With the support of Messrs Lavery and Child, Sir Victor was the third signatory to the establishment document and the Abbeyfield St Albans Society was born.”

In similar fashion to the society pioneers of 1960, the current board of trustees is drawn from the local community and provide their professional expertise and experience on a voluntary basis to support to help guide a dedicated, caring and professional team of some 60 staff to operate Grace Muriel House.

Grace Muriel House is situated in a quiet residential area, with links to the historical city centre of St Albans, and a short walk to the local shops. It provides both long stay and respite care and the friendly, professional staff are on hand 24 hours a day to ensure all needs are catered for.

“Our goal is to deliver excellent care in a financially sustainable manner,” George Ashworth added. “Our mission is to fulfil our charitable purpose of improving the quality of life for older people and combatting loneliness, whilst at the same time serving the community of St Albans.”

For more information, please visit The Abbeyfield St Albans Society website at, or call 01727 863327.