Award Winning Landscape Architects to Transform St Albans Cathedral Landscaping

St Albans Cathedral is proud to announce it is working with Johanna Gibbons and Neil Davidson of J & L Gibbons to develop a landscape scheme for the Cathedral precinct, which will provide welcoming and beautiful approaches to the Cathedral and more accessible areas for community use. Subject to successful fundraising, the project will enrich the visitor experience and complement the Heritage Lottery funded Alban, Britain’s First Saint project currently underway.

Sumpter Yard, the area off Holywell Hill at the East End of the Cathedral, has taken on an eclectic variety of roles over the decades, from vegetable patch to carpark. However, constant changes have had a detrimental effect on this entrance for visitors. Along with the brand new Welcome Centre, a beautifully landscaped entrance will enhance both the setting of the Cathedral within the city of St Albans and the transformational project opening in 2019 to raise the profile of St Alban.

In addition to a new Welcome Centre, Alban, Britain’s First Saint will deliver new learning spaces for adults, children and families, a compelling new presentation of the story of Alban throughout the Cathedral and an innovative plan of activities and events. Updated and accessible facilities also form a vital part of the project, to accommodate the many more visitors anticipated in the future.

Johanna Gibbons, Partner at J & L Gibbons said, "We are delighted to have the opportunity to prepare a landscape masterplan for St Albans Cathedral. This is a unique landscape and architectural heritage of great time depth and spiritual significance, much loved by the community.”

The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John said: “We are very much looking forward to working with Johanna and Neil and those at J & L Gibbons. At this exciting time in the Cathedral’s development, beautiful landscaping would not only provide a fitting welcome for visitors, but also space for the community to use and enjoy long into the future.”

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Notes for Editors

J & L Gibbons – Landscape Architecture

J & L Gibbons was established in 1986 and is a registered practice with the Landscape Institute. 

They are award winning studio engaged on a broad range of projects concerning heritage significance, green infrastructure, wellbeing and urban regeneration. Collaborative working is central to their design approach, crafting beautiful landscapes through a deliberative planning process, of research and engagement. 

In 2016 they established a social enterprise Landscape Learn, a new prototype for learning and engaging with the landscapes around us, sharing knowledge between disciplines and using the seasonality of nature to structure an approach for adaptive and immersive learning.

Alban, Britain’s First Saint - Heritage Lottery Funded Project

  • The development project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with match funding from over a thousand individuals and organisations.
  • The Cathedral is building a new welcome centre, and creating a new centre for schoolchildren, a new exhibition area, and a new adult study centre and library.
  • A new interpretation scheme will present the Cathedral’s stories and treasures for visitors, including illuminating the rare collection of medieval wall paintings and rebuilding the ruined medieval shrine of St Amphibalus.
  • The Welcome Centre is due to open in June 2019.

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