St Albans Museum and Gallery

St Albans, UK. 2018

Completed in 1831, St Albans Town Hall is a distinguished Grade II* listed example of neo-Greek civic architecture by George Smith. Dating from the earliest days of local government, the building occupies a prominent position at the heart of this historic city. However, since the construction of a new civic centre in 1966 the town hall and courtroom had become redundant, remaining largely empty and underused for decades.

JMP led a multi-disciplinary team to secure a sustainable, viable future for the building as a community and cultural resource. The practice worked closely with Historic England, the Council’s Conservation Officer and the Heritage Lottery Fund to implement a design that transforms the building into a new museum and art gallery telling the story of one of England’s most important historic towns. Commissioned by the St Albans City and District Council, the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust and the University of Hertfordshire, the Museum and Gallery has significantly contributed to the rejuvenation of cultural life in the town.

The practice coordinated with heritage bodies to preserve the building’s historically important stuccoed elevations, assembly room and courtroom. New glazed wings at first-floor level allow visitors to fully circulate through the building for the first time, enjoying impressive views of the surrounding townscape and cathedral. After painstaking refurbishment and integration of modern services the assembly room is now a gallery showcasing the rich history of St Albans City, while the courtroom has been preserved as a creative educational resource and café. The basement including its Victorian cells is reconfigured as environmentally controlled space for touring exhibitions and contemporary art shows. A ground floor visitor information centre completes the transformation into a vibrant cultural destination.


'John McAslan + Partners’ imaginative transformation of the Town Hall will deliver an exciting new cultural destination for the City, further enhancing and representing St Albans rich heritage.'

Annie Brewster, Trustee, Museums & Galleries Trust

John McAslan + Partners. St Albans Museum and Gallery. Exterior.
John McAslan + Partners. St Albans Museum and Gallery. Assembly Room.
John McAslan + Partners. St Albans Museum and Gallery. Courtroom.
John McAslan + Partners. St Albans Museum and Gallery. Victorian Cells.