St Albans Clock Tower opens to visitors on Easter weekend

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News release: 28 March 2017

The Mayor will be the first to climb 93 steps to the top of St Albans Clock Tower after opening it up for the new visitor season.

Getting ready to open the Clock Tower (left to right): Tim Boatswain, Chairman of St Albans Civic Society, Cllr Frances Leonard, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Jill Singer, Secretary of St Albans Civic Society and Caroline Howkins from St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society
Visitors will be able to follow her up the steps of the only surviving purpose-built medieval town belfry in the country on Friday 14 April from 10.30am.

They will be welcomed by volunteers from St Albans Civic Society and St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society. 

The volunteers are kindly giving up their time to open up the Grade I listed building in Market Place on Easter weekend. They will also open up the tower to visitors every weekend until the end of September. 

Over the spring and summer months more than 10,000 visitors are expected to come through the scheduled ancient monument’s door.

The Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Cllr Frances Leonard, visited the Clock Tower earlier this week ahead of her climb on Good Friday. 

She said: “St Albans Clock Tower is a unique building full of character and charm. Come and climb to the top on Easter weekend and see the wonderful views of St Albans. If you can’t visit the tower this Easter, then come along over the summer when local volunteers will be on hand to let you into this landmark building. They do a fantastic job opening up this lovely medieval building to thousands of visitors every weekend across the spring and summer months.”

St Albans Clock Tower is a beautiful and unique building dating from around 1405. Before hand-held watches became popular it housed a bell that was used to ring the hours of the market and the night-time curfew when people needed to return home. The tower also acted as a lookout station to help alert the townsfolk to fire or attack. Its bell was rung to sound the alarm just before the First Battle of St Albans in 1455. 

The Clock Tower has five internal floors. The ground floor was originally let as a shop with a home above and the second floor was reserved for the clock keeper and his family to live. On the third floor is a large Victorian clock that replaced an earlier mechanism when the tower was restored in 1866. 

St Albans Clock Tower is managed by St Albans Museums, St Albans City and District Council’s museum team.

More information about St Albans Clock Tower is available on St Albans Museums’ website.

St Albans Museums also manages Verulamium Museum and is overseeing the new museum and art gallery that is being created in the Town Hall in St Albans. 

Work is already underway on converting the Town Hall in St Peter’s Street into a spectacular £7.75m cultural centre. The project has attracted Heritage Lottery funding of £2.8m and the District Council is committed to providing more than £3.25m to the project. St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust is also leading a campaign to raise further funds, supported by the Council and the University of Hertfordshire.

For more details about the new Museum and Art Gallery project and how to donate, see: www.renaissancestalbans.org.uk.

The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Frances Leonard.

Contact for the Mayor’s office: 
Alison Orde, the Mayor’s Civic Officer 
Tel: 01727 819544 
Email: mayoralty@stalbans.gov.uk

Contact for the media:
Amanda Wilkinson, 
Senior Communications Officer 
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317 
E-mail: amanda.wilkinson@stalbans.gov.uk 
www.stalbans.gov.uk
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StAlbansCouncil 

Photos: 
Getting ready to open the Clock Tower (left to right): Tim Boatswain, Chairman of St Albans Civic Society, Cllr Frances Leonard, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Jill Singer, Secretary of St Albans Civic Society and Caroline Howkins from St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society

Getting ready to open the Clock Tower (left to right): Tim Boatswain, Chairman of St Albans Civic Society, Cllr Frances Leonard, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Jill Singer, Secretary of St Albans Civic Society and Caroline Howkins from St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society