St Albans

A city whose origins date back over 2000 years.


A Brief History of St Albans

in old postcards



During the Iron Age a significant settlement existed on the West banks of the River Ver. The Romans then built the walled city of Verulamium.

When the Romans left some people remained living in the ruins at "Kingsbury" but the centre of activity moved to a shrine to St Alban, where the Abbey now stands.


In 948 Abbot Ulsinus had three chapels built to welcome pilgrims and these, with the Abbey, are the basis of the four ancient parishes.



St Michael


St Peter


St Stephen


The town centre plan dates from the Saxon period with a central market place close to the Abbey  and three roads - passing by each chapel bringing travellers into the town centre.



Fishpool Street


St Peters Street


Holywell Hill

Over the years parts of the Market Place were built oveer. The Clock Tower at the South End of the Market Place was erected between 1403 and 1412, apparently as a belfry for the town.



The Abbey Gateway was built after the Peasant's Revolt and, apart from the Abbey itself,  is the only significant part of the vast monastery complex to survive from the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

St Albans always catered for travellers but business at the local inns greatly increased with the coming of the turnpikes. To ease congestion Verulam Road and London Road were built to speed traveller into the town centre.


Picture Needed


When the main London to Birmingham Railway was built most of the stage coached carrying people to the Midlands and the North ceased. St Albans did not get its own main line station until 1868.

When St Albans was connected to London by railway the town expanded fast, initially with bricks made locally. The City Museum is built from bricks made on Bernards Heath.



In 1877 the Abbey was upgraded to the status of a cathedral, a bishop was installed, and the Diocese of St Albans was created. Extensive restoration work was also carried out during Victorian times.

The expansion of the city in Victorian times meant that many fields became housing estates. In the area of Bernards Heath the expansion resulted in the creation of St Saviour's parish out of the ancient parish of Sandridge.



When the First World War broke out St Albans became the centre of a vast military training camp, initially for the 2nd London Division.

Of course the history of St Albans did not stop in 1914 but this site is mainly concerned with what happened 100 years or more ago.

  An Overview of the St Albans Pages

Some Recent St Albans Updates



Some views from a 1866 Railway Guidebook


Beer Prices in 1882



A post card of Fishpool Street


Impact of London to Birmingham Railway in 1837



St Albans - Historical & Picturesque (1893)


FISK the drapers, St Albans, 19th century



St Albans Abbey 200 years ago


Agricultural Workers of The Camp, St Albans



A medal awarded by Ryder & Co. (Seed merchants)


BOWMAN, South Mimms & St Albans Prison, Late 19th century



Britons Camp (First World War, 1915)


St Albans - A History



The Market Cross from Picturesque Rides and Walks (1817)

  Under Construction
  The following pages contain additional material  which has not yet been integrated into the new menu framework
  Books and Booklets on St Albans
  Extra Post Card Views
  Old Prints and Engravings
  Miscellaneous Material


October 2010   Page created