St Albans' architectural and archaeological society celebrates 175th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 13:09 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:46 14 January 2020
St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society, known as 'Arc & Arc', is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.
The celebrations were launched by the society's president Cllr Sandy Walkington, along with Mayor of St Albans Cllr Janet Smith, at Verulamium Museum on Friday, January 10.
Sandy said: "When we were founded in 1845, coaches clattered over the unpaved streets of St Albans, French Row housed brothels and beer houses, and the Abbey was falling down.
"Since then the Abbey has been saved. We stopped the clock tower being demolished and our 'clockateers' still help to staff it in the summer months.
"Thanks to us, archaeologists Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler excavated Verulamium and here we are in the museum. We continue to have remarkable lectures, conferences and seminars, and produce prize-winning publications."
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Over the summer there will be a large-scale exhibition at St Albans Museum + Gallery about the society, which will tell the story of the city and district in a series of objects.
Each object will have a connection to the society and show how it has made a national impact - including some objects which have never been displayed in public before. There will also be a recording booth at the museum allowing people to leave their own memories about their daily lives, to create a treasure trove for future historians.
Famous historian Professor Michael Wood will also give a gala lecture on July 28 at St Albans School. Sandy said: "Getting Michael Wood to give a gala lecture is a great coup and a tribute to the esteem in which this society is held.
"We hope there will be something for everyone in this year of celebration."
The society was known as the St Albans Architectural Society when it was founded, at the home of Archdeacon of St Albans Dr Charles Burney, but the name changed to include archaeology in 1850, and then again to include the whole of Herts in 1897.
Mayor Janet Smith said: "The partnership between the Arc & Arc and the council is so valuable.
"We know how special our city and district's history and archaeology are - my thanks to everyone at the society for doing so much to promote their understanding."