Herts Ad decade in review: Sinkholes, the Odyssey, Brexit and more

PUBLISHED: 10:00 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 07:51 02 January 2020

Sky News aerial footage of the sinkhole in Fontmell Close, St Albans.

Sky News aerial footage of the sinkhole in Fontmell Close, St Albans.

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Before we see 2019 through and usher in the new decade, let's take a look at all the major stories the Herts Advertiser has covered over the past 10 years.

Campaigners from St Albans for Europe took part in the People's Vote March in London. Picture: Damian BoysCampaigners from St Albans for Europe took part in the People's Vote March in London. Picture: Damian Boys

The decade got off to a rocky start when the country was bombarded with heavy snowfall throughout the winters of 2009 to 2011, in what was coined the 'Big Freeze'. Rail services were severely limited, schools were closed and refuse services were brought to a standstill.

Then nature refused to let up when the Icelandic volcano 'Eyjafjallajökull' erupted in April, spreading volcanic ash all over Europe. It happened at a most inconvenient time as schools were still out for the Easter break, leading to many flights being grounded and many families and teachers left stranded abroad.

The Odyssey Cinema opened in London Road, St Albans. Picture: Kari LundgaardThe Odyssey Cinema opened in London Road, St Albans. Picture: Kari Lundgaard

In 2013 an exciting announcement was made that the district council had given the go-ahead for work to begin on restoring the Odyssey Cinema on London Road, which promptly opened in 2014.

Quite a fright was caused in London Colney on March 18, 2014 when bomb disposal experts were called in after three First World War bombs were discovered in the back garden of a house in Floral Drive. They were safely destroyed in a controlled explosion.

A volcano erupted in Iceland during the 2010s, with knock-on effects in the UK.A volcano erupted in Iceland during the 2010s, with knock-on effects in the UK.

The whole of St Albans experienced a tragic loss in 2015 when John 'Paddy' Delany, dubbed the Accordion Man of St Albans, passed away on March 31 at the age of 86.

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He had spent over 35 years playing his accordion to passersby on Upper Dagnall Street, and his passing was marked by hundreds of tributes on social media. In 2016 a plaque was installed on the spot where he would always play.

In October 2015 St Albans made national news when the ground opened up on Fontmell Close. Residents had to be evacuated and repairs cost the council about £600,000.

St Albans mourned the Accordion Man Paddy Delaney.St Albans mourned the Accordion Man Paddy Delaney.

It transpired later in the month that misgivings about building homes above a deep historic clay pit - as Fontmell Close and neighbouring Bridle Close were - had first been voiced over 40 years ago. A second, smaller, sinkhole opened up in November 2018 in Cedar Court.

The headlines of 2016 were dominated by the EU Referendum. Campaigners from both sides were out in force in the run-up to the final vote, but after 62.7 per cent of the St Albans electorate voting to remain, Eurosceptic MPs Anne Main and Peter Lilley faced calls to resign for failing to represent their constituents.

A bird's eye view of the sinkhole on Cedar Court. Picture: Sharon Minkin Conrich.A bird's eye view of the sinkhole on Cedar Court. Picture: Sharon Minkin Conrich.

In 2018 the St Albans Museum and Gallery opened in the Grade II listed Town Hall, following a two-year restoration project which cost £7.75 million. It features restored historic spaces such as the octagonal courtroom and prison cells, as well as newly-created galleries which host regularly changing exhibitions and events.

Now for something that is likely still fresh in everyone's minds: the 2019 General Election. For 14 years conservatives have held the St Albans seat, with Anne Main as MP for the entire duration. However this year they were finally dethroned by the Liberal Democrats, with Daisy Cooper as the new MP.

Buskers performed in memory of St Albans Accordion Man Paddy Delaney.Buskers performed in memory of St Albans Accordion Man Paddy Delaney.

And that about sums up the decade, all that's left to say now is for the Herts Advertiser to wish you all the best in the New Year and the new decade!

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