St Albans Museum + Gallery builders awarded Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Left to right: Deputy Lieutenant Lord Charles Cecil, Willmott Dixon Chief Executive Rick Willmott, L

Left to right: Deputy Lieutenant Lord Charles Cecil, Willmott Dixon Chief Executive Rick Willmott, Lord Lieutenant Robert Voss, Harry Pearce, Cllr Annie Brewster. - Credit: Archant

The building company behind the St Albans Museum + Gallery development have been honoured by the Queen.

Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss CBE presented the Queen’s Award for Enterprise to Willmott Dixon Ltd following their £7.75m refurbishment of St Albans town hall.

The Lord Lieutenant said: “It is an honour to present such a prestigious award to Willmott Dixon Ltd, only the sixth of its type to ever be presented on behalf of Her Majesty. The goodwill and pride is evident for the many employees with whom I have spoken today.”

The award was given to Willmott Dixon Ltd for several community projects the builders conducted during the 16-month Museum + Gallery build. Their ‘school to apprenticeship’ scheme was also cited.

18-year-old apprentice Harry Pearce, who worked on the project earlier this year, said: “It was a privilege to work on this special building and the experience I gained from the site was phenomenal.

“It was such an interesting job, particularly converting the prison cells in the basement into loos. I learnt that when you remove plaster from ceilings or walls in heritage buildings you do not know what you will find.”

The company’s chief executive, Rick Willmott, said of the St Albans project: “It was really gratifying to transform a somewhat dilapidated and under-used building and return it to its former glory and more.

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“This city centre project provided perfect opportunities for our workforce to engage with members of the public and to understand the positive impact it will make in St Albans for generations to come.”

St Albans council’s portfolio holder for culture and sport, Annie Brewster, who was at the ceremony after helping lead the project, said: “Willmott Dixon shared our vision and kept going the extra mile on this project, enthusing both their own workforce and visiting contractors, even personally sponsoring some of unbudgeted finishes in the Assembly Room.

“They were quick to understand the significance of this landmark building and invented many innovative ways to share it, including their weekly ‘ask the builder’ market stall. Many congratulations to Rick and his team on their very well deserved Queen’s Award.”