Heritage Open Days – 2011 – England

Previously unseen manuscripts from the Cumbrian poet Wordsworth will go on show later this year as part of a national project.

Visitors to The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere will get a chance to see part of the Trust’s ‘hidden treasures,’ including original poetical manuscripts by William Wordsworth and  his sister Dorothy’s Grasmere Journals.

This event is part of a series of events around the country collectively called Heritage Open Days, organised by English Heritage.

The 200-year-old mill at Sarehole is one of only two surviving watermills in Birmingham.

The 200-year-old mill at Sarehole is one of only two surviving watermills in Birmingham.

From 8 – 11 September, the annual long weekend is the largest volunteer event in Britain and celebrates the quirky to the majestic, the grand to the minute and all that is unique about England’s heritage.

One million people are expected to take advantage of the four-day event, exploring more than 4,000 properties of every style, period and function, many of which are normally closed to the public or charge for admission.

Heritage Open Days is England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, taking place across 50 countries.

Other events in the UK are :

Full details of Heritage Open Days activities, in England, will be available from the Heritage Open Days website from mid-July.

Heritage Open Days 2011  – Highlights (England)

Military highlights:

·         Behind the scenes at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth where visitors will be able to see buildings, archives and collection stores not normally open to the public

·         Below HMS Victory’s Water Line – a unique chance to walk under 3,500 tonnes of ship in Portsmouth and view Victory’s keel at close range

·         Discover more about one of Britain’s most courageous women at the Violette Szabo GC Museum, in Herefordshire. This small but fascinating museum is dedicated to the daring Second World War female secret agent who was executed at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945

·         Visit the decontamination centre against chemical or biological attack, based at the Greenham Common air base.

·         Wander around and explore the Royal Air Force Holmpton Bunker, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.  Constructed between 1951 and 1954 the bunker was part of a programme to modernise the United Kingdom’s radar defences

North Lees Hall, Derbyshire © Vivat Trust

North Lees Hall, Derbyshire © Vivat Trust

Private home highlights:

·         Prysten House –  Having survived bombing raids which destroyed most of the city centre, Prysten is the second oldest private house in Plymouth, built in 1498. The house contains very fine, preserved historic interiors and houses the 28 foot long Plymouth tapestry depicting the history of the city

·         Bridge Street, in Essex, a unique 16th century house with exposed timbers will host a 17th century living history display by a group of re-enactors from the Essex Militia

·         Grade II Grey Cottage in Disley is now a bed and breakfast but the earliest part of the building is dated around 1680. Ownership is established back to 1840 and included a calico engraver, James Ralston, and the playwright and novelist Allan Monkhouse, Literary Editor of the Manchester Guardian

·         Parsonage House in Sheffield, built 1906, is also Grade II and designed by Edgar Wood. This family home has been restored to its original splendour by its present owner, the house is carefully placed on a sloped site, with rooms designed to follow the sun path and reveal magnificent views which span the surrounding Yorkshire countryside

Literary highlights:

·         Walk in Tolkien’s childhood footsteps and visit Sarehole Mill just outside Birmingham, his inspiration for ‘the great mill’ in The Hobbit and the bad-tempered miller Ted Sandyman in The Lord of the Rings

·         Chawton House, Hampshire; a Grade II* listed Elizabethan manor house, once owned by Jane Austen’s brother Edward and now a unique research library of English women’s writing from 1600-1830

·         King Edward VI School, Stratford upon Avon; will open the classroom where, in all probability, William Shakespeare was taught and the guildhall where he would have seen his first theatre performances.

Religious highlights:

·         Scotch Corner Chapel –  A small and secluded war memorial in North Yorkshire, built by local man and sculptor John Bunting. The Chapel houses a number of his works and was recently famed in the book The Plot authored by his daughter Madeleine Bunting; Also in North Yorkshire a rare medieval Leper chapel

Gothic Temple Stowe - built in 1741. © Landmark Trust

Gothic Temple Stowe - built in 1741. © Landmark Trust

·         Chapel of St Mary Magdalen containing a medieval pavement with Roman decoration, a window and stone altar will host the Old Codling Feast, an 18th century tradition with tasting of apples, cake, juices and ciders to identify

·         Sandham Memorial Chapel, a modest red-brick building housing an unexpected treasure – an outstanding series of large-scale paintings by acclaimed artist Stanley Spencer, inspired by his experiences as a World War I medical orderly and soldier

·         St Mary’s Abbey, West Malling, founded in 1090 by Bishop Gundulf of Rochester for Benedictine nuns. After its closure by Henry VIII in 1538 the property was owned by various families. Today it is the home of a community of Anglican Benedictine nuns. Visitors can see the wonderful Norman tower, medieval gatehouse and guest house and the Grade II* abbey church, built in 1966

·         Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple, Oldbury West Midlands, the largest Hindu Temple in Europe, covering 12.5 acres. The main temple, several satellite temples and other buildings for the use of the community will all be open to visitors

Transport highlights:

·         Vintage bus displays in Oxford and Colchester

·         A historic vehicle cavalcade including 40 vintage vehicles stopping at three Heritage Open Days sites in the Burnley area

·         The Humber car collection in Hull

·         A transport-themed Window-to-the-Past event taking over one of the largest shop units at Wakefield’s Riding Shopping Centre

Other highlights include;

·         Wickwar Town Hall with the oldest town hall clock in England

·         New Hall Art Collection, Cambridge housing works by famous female artists such as Paula Rego and Barbara Hepworth

·         A chance to see behind the scenes at the National Film & Television Archive in Hertfordshire

·         Club LS1 & Three Albion Place, home to the Leeds Club since 1849 whose Gents’ are the ‘oldest public toilets’ in the city

·         The H.S. Smokehouse, the last surviving and still working herring brick smokehouse in Great Yarmouth

·         The Cider Museum and King Offa Distillery in Herefordshire

·         The Grade II* Park Hill Estate in Sheffield

·         The largely unspoilt Winsford Cottage Hospital, an Arts and Crafts masterpiece by C. F. A. Voysey, which was closed by the NHS in 1998

·         Leeds’ Red Hall home to The Rugby Football League

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