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Venues Listed in History

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Hill End Hospital - Heritage Lottery Project

Hill End Hospital - Heritage Lottery Project

The history of Hill End Hospital is being preserved through a grant of over £49,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. During 2009/10 the project entitled 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind?' will include live performance, artists working with schools and residents in the Highfield Park area, roadshows and a new website.

The stories of ex-patients and ex-staff will form the basis of a performance at Trestle Arts Base, which used to be the Hill End Hospital chapel. Artists including a writer, musician and photographer will also work with local schools and community groups to create pieces of artwork to be shown as part of a roadshow. This will include material from the archives at County Hall and the London Metropolitan Archive and will tour Hill End and two other hospital sites at Napsbury and Shenley. The object is to give those who now live on the sites a sense of the history behind their homes, road names and locality.

The website will be run by volunteers and include records of the project including excerpts from the Trestle performance, film, music, work by school children and local residents, people's stories and photos and other records gathered together into a community archive. This will be expanded through regular updates to be a living history record. The website will link to similar sites across the county as part of 'Hertsmemories', a much larger online resource also funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The final piece of the jigsaw is the conservation of archive material belonging to Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies. This will preserve the collection as a resource for future research.

The project will be managed by a partnership including St Albans City & District Council, St Albans Arts, Sport & Health (the development arm of Leisure Connection), Trestle Theatre Company, Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies and the County Arts Officer.

If you have any stories, pictures or other information that you would like to share with the project please contact Tricia Dibb on 01727 827667 (email: [email protected]) or Anna Crompton on 01727 850950 (email: [email protected]).

Photo (from left to right): Anna Crompton - Co-ordinator, Trestle Taking Part, Oliver Jones - Director, Trestle Taking Part, Catherine Davis - County Arts Officer, Jo Askham - Director, St Albans Festival, Amy Cooke - Image Librarian, St Albans Museums, Daphne Knott - Learning & Access Officer, HCC

For more information about Heritage Lottery Fund, please go to

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Museum of St Albans

Museum of St Albans

The Museum of St Albans is now closed (Sep 2015).  A new museum in the centre of St Albans will be opening in the future.  Please see St Albans Museums website for more info.

Founded as the Hertfordshire County Museum in 1898, the Museum of St Albans tells the story of St Albans from the departure of the Romans to the present day. Find out about Alban, Britain's first Christian martyr, the Abbey and the development of St Albans from a small market town into a bustling commuter city. The museum offers special exhibitions, events and activities for all ages.

Funded by St Albans City and District Council

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A brief history of the Odeon, with thanks to Cinema Treasures.

In 1927 St. Albans' first cinema (the Alpha, later called the Poly and still later, the Regent) burned down. The site was cleared and on 3 December 1931 the Capitol Cinema opened its doors. It had been designed by Percival Blow and J. Martin Hatfield, with internal decorations and design by Robert Cromie. It seated 1,168 in the stalls and 452 in the balcony. There was a 20 foot deep stage. Due to the slope of the land the cinema was entered at balcony level and patrons descended to the stalls. The Capitol Cinema was equipped with a Compton 2Manual/6Ranks theatre organ, a cafe and three dressing rooms.

In 1934 the cinema was enlarged, to the plans of Messrs Kemp and Tasker, to 1,728 seats. The Capitol was bought by General Cinema Finance and then passed to Odeon, who renamed the cinema in 1945.

One of the first batch of cinemas selected for tripling, the new three-screen complex opened in January 1973 with the two smaller screens (115 and 129 seats) tucked under the balcony and the circle still seating 452 as Screen 1. A fourth screen was added in 1988 in the front stalls area. All closed on 20th August 1995.

Find out more about the purchase and restoration of the former Odeon. 

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