England’s biggest festival of history and culture – Heritage Open Days – is set to return this September.
Established in 1994, the four-day event sees thousands of historic monuments and buildings – some often not open to the public – throw open their doors and invite the public to explore local treasures, for free.
While I cannot give coverage to all the events taking place this year, here’s a guide to some of the Heritage Open Day events taking place in Shrewsbury:
Lord Hill’s Column, St John’s Hill, Shrewsbury, SY1 1JJ
Here’s your chance to climb all 172 cantilevered spiral stairs of England’s tallest Doric column to a viewing platform offering panoramic views of Shrewsbury and the rolling hills of Shropshire.
Climbs take place half-hourly on Sunday 11th September, after an introduction to the life of General Rowland, Lord Hill. The column and statue of Lord Hill are in their bicentennial year, having been completed in 1816, one year after the Battle of Waterloo.
- Opening times: Sunday 11th September, noon to 4pm, every half hour.
- Pre-booking is required, call Richard Hayes on 01743 244668 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Shropshire Archives, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, SY1 2AQ
Step behind the scenes at Shropshire Archives including the stores where over five miles of records are housed in environmentally controlled conditions, and the conservation and reprographics sections.
A selection of their fantastic collections will also be on show.
- Note to Parents: The tour not suitable for children under 9 years old.
- Opening times: Thursday 8th September: Tour 2pm, Friday 9th September: Tour 2pm.
- Pre-booking required, call 0345 6789096 or email email@example.com
Shrewsbury Castle and Shropshire Regimental Museum, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, SY1 2AT
Learn more about the First World War and get the chance to handle some uniform and kit with a historical interpreter at the Shropshire Regimental Museum.
Take advantage of the only opportunity this year to see Laura’s Tower at Shrewsbury Castle, which gives a different perspective of the town.
- Open: on Sunday 11th September.
There is also a self-guided First World War trail between the museum and St Chad’s Church, highlighting notable locations with a connection to the Great War.
- Walks available: Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September.
Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, The Square, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 1LH
Explore six galleries in the Victorian Music Hall and 13th century Vaughan Mansion at the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and take in Roman, Medieval, Tudor and Stuart times, plus the Shropshire Gallery and exhibition spaces.
Collections on display include a beautiful Roman mirror and some fine Caughley and Coalport china.
- Opening times: Sunday 11th September: 10am to 5pm.
- Cafe: the Stop café serves lunches and teas and there’s also an outdoor courtyard.
- The Visitor Information Centre can provide details of other Heritage Open Day attractions nearby.
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings Spring Gardens, Ditherington, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 2SZ
Why not take a guided tour around the Flaxmill Maltings site, which has three Grade I listed buildings, including the world’s first, third and eighth iron-framed structures.
Tours will run at regular intervals and there will be interpretation and displays on the history, structure and uses of the buildings.
- Opening times: Saturday 10th September: 10am to 4pm, Sunday 11th September: 10am to 4pm.
- The new Visitor Centre will be open with music, an art exhibition, child-friendly activities and other entertainment on offer.
In addition to the above, you’ll also find other heritage events taking place in the town including:
- Guided walks by St Mary’s Church on Saturday 10th September at 2pm and the Visitor Information Centre on Sunday 11th September at 11.30am.
- A lecture on the archaeology of Shrewsbury town centre at Shrewsbury Unitarian Church, High Street, on Friday 9th September at 7pm.
- English country dance workshops by dance historian Mistress Love at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery on Sunday 11th September at 11am and 2pm. Pre-booking required.
For more informationon these and other events visit www.originalshrewsbury.co.uk.