After the organizers of the Heritage Open Days, the Civic Trust, went bankrupt, it looked like the very popular events may not take place this year. But with English Heritage now taking on the mantle, the event with 1 million visitors and 35,000 volunteers is guaranteed to take place again this September. The huge number of sites and people involved means this is the UK's largest voluntarily staffed cultural event. In the second week of September, more than 3,500 historic and unusual heritage sites will be open to the public for free, including free tours.
Some quotes from the organizers:
Steven Bee, Director of Planning and Development at English Heritage, said: “English Heritage can reassure all those who like to take part in Heritage Open Days that it will happen this and every year – and we look forward to an excellent weekend of events on the 10th-13th September. Heritage Open Days is an important cultural event and we are very grateful for the continued support of all the volunteers across England, on which the success of the event depends."
Katja Condy, Heritage Open Days Manager, said: "When the news of the Civic Trust's demise broke a month ago, the news came as a shock to thousands of volunteers across the country who were already gearing up for another celebration of their local heritage in September. It put a huge question mark over the future of the event. We are greatly relieved that the programme has found a new home and that we can now focus on making the 15th edition of Heritage Open Days another success."
"We have been working very closely with English Heritage for many years, and they proved a friend when we needed them most. The transfer of Heritage Open Days to English Heritage will build on this long-established partnership. We see it as a fantastic opportunity for both England’s largest grassroots heritage event and the Government’s lead body for the historic environment."
Buildings opening to the public this year will include the Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge, where the personal papers of Sir Winston Churchill and almost 600 politicians, civil servants, military leaders and scientists are kept. In Sheffield there wil be the chance to see the magnificent auditorium of the privately owned Lantern Theatre, one of only a few purpose-built Victorian theatres in the country and distinctively small with only 82 seats. In Bristol, people can see the oldest surviving heated lido in the country, dating from 1849. The recently re-opened grade II*-listed pool had been closed since 1990 but escaped demolition and has been restored.
This is great news for history buffs, tourists, and locals alike. England has so much to offer and getting these open days put on without any admissions charges is fantastic.
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