Jane and Lucy Hawking praise new £2 million science building at St Albans school

PUBLISHED: 19:30 31 March 2016

Stephen Hawking's ex-wife Jane and daughter Lucy Hawking with year 9 pupils (L-R) Ella-Louise Jain and Ella Byrt in the new science block at St Alban's High School for Girls

Stephen Hawking's ex-wife Jane and daughter Lucy Hawking with year 9 pupils (L-R) Ella-Louise Jain and Ella Byrt in the new science block at St Alban's High School for Girls

Archant

An impressed Jane Hawking has described the new £2 million science building at her former school in St Albans as "mind-boggling".

Stephen Hawking's ex-wife Jane Hawking has a look around the new science block at St Alban's High School for GirlsStephen Hawking's ex-wife Jane Hawking has a look around the new science block at St Alban's High School for Girls

Jane, ex-wife of Stephen Hawking, recently officially opened the facilities at St Albans High School for Girls in Townsend Avenue with their daughter, journalist and author Lucy Hawking.

After stepping inside an inflatable planetarium to see a digital 360 degree panaromic view of the night sky, she and Lucy toured the science laboratories to watch students work on experiments.

Jane told the Herts Advertiser: “It is mind-boggling, because the school is so different from all those years ago – I’m an ‘old girl’ and way back then, it was pretty rigid, and science was done on a much smaller scale.

“We didn’t have all these wonderful buildings. But, we did have a good education here, which I’m very grateful for.”

One of those quizzed by the Hawkings while carrying out an experiment was Year 9 pupil Louisa Bicknell, who said: “We were honoured to have Jane talk to us, as she is very inspiring.”

Jane described the new lab as ‘wonderful’, adding, “It looks like such fun, and there are so many more possibilities offered than in my day.”

She told Year 5 pupils that the Martian shelters they had constructed were “very impressive”.

The Hawkings were joined by the Very Rev Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans and a school governor, who said, “The laboratories are extremely impressive.”

While it is a state-of-the-art science facility now, the site was originally a “tired school hall”, according to a school spokeswoman.

She said: “The route from start to finish presented some interesting structural challenges including raising the roof, strengthening the foundations, and adding an extra floor.

“The end result is two spacious new multi-subject laboratories as well as tutorial rooms, science preparation rooms and an impressive new hall for lectures, assemblies, music and PE.

“During the course of the project, refurbishment of existing facilities, including laboratories, was also undertaken.”

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