The capital works phase of our development project, Alban, Britain’s First Saint, is almost ready to begin. A huge amount of work by volunteer logistics consultant John Robinson and his team and the Cathedral’s Ops Team has taken place over the past few months to empty the Cathedral’s Chapter House and divert services for its transformation into a new education centre, alongside the construction of the new Welcome Centre.
The Abbot’s Kitchen
The Abbot’s Kitchen was successfully moved to its new home at the end of March and is now located in a marquee overlooking the park, alongside the Cathedral. The café is already attracting lots of visitors and is a lovely place to grab a drink and a bite to eat, especially on a sunny day! Opening times remain the same; 10am-4.30pm Monday-Saturday and 12pm-4.30pm on a Sunday.
In addition to the relocation of the Abbot’s Kitchen, the Cathedral Library has recently moved to the Lawrance Room in the Deanery, with the move of the books expertly overseen by Adult Learning Officer, Caroline Godden. Over the course of 5 days the library’s generous volunteers spent a collective 115 hours helping with the move, with over 5000 books being meticulously cleaned, checked and moved across to their new home. Membership to the library is now free until the end of August 2018 and all are welcome to continue to make use of the library’s extensive collections. The Library is open 10am to 2.30pm on weekdays and on first and third Saturday of the month, 10am – 1pm.
The Information Desk
The Cathedral’s Information Desk has moved into the South Transept of the Cathedral, and is located next to the Cathedral Shop. This is to become a combined Cathedral and City Information point as well as a central part of the Cathedral’s welcome. St Albans City Council have funded the leaflet racks, signage and tablet for use by our great team of volunteers.
The Song School
The Song School has been carefully moved to and unpacked in a refreshed Deanery Flat, which is the new location for rehearsals by the Cathedral Choir, Abbey Girls Choir, Abbey Singers and any visiting choirs. It accommodates two dedicated rehearsal spaces, as well as an area for choir teas.
Parish groups will be sharing the marquee café space in the early evenings and Sunday mornings and also now have available the refreshed studio at the end of Sumpter Yard.
Last month also saw the implementation of the first Heritage Lottery Funded post. Helena O’Sullivan was appointed to the role of Marketing Executive after almost 2 years as Marketing Assistant.
The purpose of this new role is to
- Assist the team in developing and communicating with new audiences
- Ensure that the audience targets set out in the Heritage Lottery Funded Activity Plan are being met
- To undertake communications outreach, whilst establishing new communication channels within St Albans and surrounding areas.
Marketing is central to the project and the Marketing Department will continue to expand over the next few weeks with the appointment of a new Marketing Assistant. This will enable the team, headed up by Marketing Manager Hayley Lewis, to raise the profile of St Albans Cathedral on a national and international stage and to continually improve and promote the visitor experience.
With the Chapter House now completely empty, work is ready to begin on and the new Education space. Work on the Welcome Centre must await a second archaeological dig to further prepare the foundations of the location of the new building. Following a tendering exercise, the Cathedral’s project team have identified a preferred contractor for the works. Contract negotiations continue with the contractor expected to be on site before the end of May.
And so, the countdown begins! Click subscribe at the top of this blog post and keep an eye on our social media to keep up to speed with the latest developments.