The Corn Exchange, 18 – 22 Market Place
“Hello! I’m the Corn Exchange, the cream building near the Boot. Although I was built for trading corn, you’ll never guess how many other things I’ve been used for.
Concerts, exhibitions, dinners, balls and dances – I’ve had them all, though no dancing was allowed after midnight once the neighbours complained!
It wasn’t all fun and frivolity. I was used for services by a Baptist Church for a while and for meetings of the temperance movement, which wanted to ban alcohol. I also hosted examinations for the St Albans British School – with the Mayor in charge!
There were protest meetings too – including one which helped get telegraph poles in St Peters Street taken away. Had you ever noticed there are none?
I played my part in the Great War of course. The Belgian Refugees Committee used me in the week and at the weekends I was a rest room for wives visiting soldier husbands. They’d have had to use the pubs for shelter otherwise, poor dears!
Well I’ve been shops for nearly 100 years now, but I still miss the dances. Those were the days!”
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