BoJo comes to St Albans to back museum project - updated with gallery
- Credit: Archant
St Albans came to a standstill last Thursday as the Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited the city to support plans to turn the old Town Hall into a new museum and cultural hub.
St Albans came to a standstill on Thursday as the colourful Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited the city to support plans to turn the old Town Hall into a new museum and cultural hub.
He even found time to stop to take a picture of the Cathedral on his whistle-stop tour of St Albans’ best sights, which took him from the station, down historic St Peter’s Street, into the old cells and courtroom of the Town Hall and then through Market Place before stopping at the Abbey.
He joined St Albans MP Anne Main and the council’s leisure portfolio holder Cllr Annie Brewster to hear all about the plans for the new museum which is scheduled for 2017.
Speaking exclusively to the Herts Advertiser, the prospective MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip voiced his support for the project and said: “I’m excited and delighted to be supporting my friend Anne Main but also to be learning from Annie Brewster about the brilliant plans for the renovation of this George Smith building.
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“They have beautiful plans, they are going to turn it into an art museum and restaurant, so this will be an absolutely thriving hub, cultural, social and artistic.
Singing the praises of the Roman city, Boris said: “It is a miniature London. What it shows is the richness of Britain. Here in one city you have two thousand years of the story of the city summed up in the buildings that you can experience, and it’s also a very happy and thriving city. It’s certainly a different atmosphere, that’s why people like living here.”
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He went on: “Our tourism industry is extremely important to the UK economy and the overwhelming majority of the 20 million tourists who visit us come here to see historic cities, such as London and St Albans.”
Mrs Main commented: “We are really delighted to welcome the Mayor of London to our city. St Albans really has a remarkable, exciting heritage and this state-of-the-art contemporary public building will house an important museum bringing to life our 2,000 years of stories, from Britain’s first Saint to the present day.”
Cllr Brewster added: “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, contributing significantly to the visitor economy and creating jobs in the district.
“We are looking for match funding support of £1.7m from various Trusts and the public to realise this exciting project. Magna Carta, the hot cross bun, the Ryder Cup and Professor Stephen Hawking all originated from here and we want to share our heritage with the rest of the world.”