In pictures: The changing face of St Albans city centre

PUBLISHED: 11:37 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 18 October 2018

Ziggurat House as it used to look. Picture: Danny Loo

Ziggurat House as it used to look. Picture: Danny Loo


The last decade has seen a massive amount of change in central St Albans, with many empty sites being regenerated and countless office blocks being turned into flats.

The old Oaklands College building on St Peter's Road. Picture: Danny LooThe old Oaklands College building on St Peter's Road. Picture: Danny Loo

With the help of Google Street View, we took a step back in time and marvelled at how much has changed in just 10 years.

Before the Odyssey: The cinema as it looked in 2010. Picture: Krishan BhungarBefore the Odyssey: The cinema as it looked in 2010. Picture: Krishan Bhungar

The Odyssey and Gabriel Square, London Road

A blot on the London Road landscape for nearly two decades following the Odeon’s closure in 1995, local people battled tirelessly to stop the Art Deco cinema being turned into flats. Following a long campaign, James Hannaway - who restored the fortunes of The Rex cinema in Berkhamsted - stepped up and the Odyssey opened its doors in 2014.

Who remembers the Snow + Rock shop that used be across the road from the cinema? It was bulldozed to make way for the London Road entrance to Gabriel Square, and the three acre site of what was once Eversheds printworks is now home to 80 houses, duplexes and apartments.

The stretch of London Road is now so appealing it’s been compared to Shoreditch of all places by The Sunday Times. And while Telford Court residents have a very different view now to the one they had a decade ago, the Esso petrol station remains largely unchanged.

Ziggurat House, Grosvenor Road

Once a glass-clad icon of the St Albans skyline, planners were given the go ahead to replace the cladding on Grosvenor Road’s Ziggurat House back in 2015. Now the transformation from an office building to a residential development comprising 125 studio, one and two-bed apartments is almost complete. Amenities include lifts, concierge service and a private roof garden.

The former Oaklands College site, St Peter’s Road

The area between Hatfield Road, St Peter’s Road, Manor Road and Lemsford Road has also changed dramatically, with modern apartment blocks gradually replacing Oaklands College’s city centre buildings.

The college began selling its central sites and moving classes to its Smallford campus in the early 2000s. The blocks between Lemsford Road and Manor Road went first, and became Newsom Place, while these blocks on St Peter’s Road were the last to go.

The view of St Peter’s Road from Essex Street is almost unrecognisable now, though the flats on the other side of Hatfield Road offer some perspective.

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