The Gables, 13 – 15 Market Place
“You’ll never believe I was once referred to as ‘An old tumble-down wreck of a building in Market Place.’ Cheek… indeed! I was still in my prime!
I was built in 1637, at the end of a row of fine shops in the market place. I’ve been a chemist, a shoe shop and a draper to name a few …and living accommodation too.
So why were such strongly worded letters in the Herts Advertiser suggesting that I should be demolished?
Well …. I was bought by Boots the chemist – they planned to replace me with a ‘First class modern building’ just like the other branches they own.
So ….. why do I still stand, in pride of place, in the centre of St Albans?
Well, that fine artist fellow, the one who illustrated Dicken’s books, Frederick Kitton, – he started a petition to save me, describing me as ‘one of the best known and picturesque spots in the city’. That made Boots reconsider! Mr Jesse Boot himself promised to keep me exactly as I was and ensured I stayed in good repair.
That was in 1899 and I’m proud to stand here today and tell my tale.”
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