Heritage Open Days 2018

30 August 2018

Heritage Open Days will take place nationally across two weekends for the first time since it started 24 years ago. Heritage Open days celebrate architecture and heritage, revealing the stories about buildings, the people who have lived, used or worked in them. There are over 80 Heritage Open Days buildings and events to discover for free across west Cheshire, many of which are not normally open to the public.

This year the theme is Extraordinary Women with special events in Frodsham, Winsford, and Northwich.  There is the opportunity to explore and discover the whole west Cheshire area with Chester buildings open between 6 and 9 September and Ellesmere Port and Mid Cheshire buildings opening between the 13 to 16 September.

The programme has been organised by Chester Civic Trust and Cheshire West and Chester Council, in association with other local societies.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member Communities and Wellbeing said: “Heritage Open Days wouldn’t be possible without the help of the many building owners and local volunteers. The programme gets bigger every year and this year is no exception being spread over two weekends.

“As with previous years some of the tours get booked very quickly but there is a lot to choose from and most of the buildings don’t require booking. This is a Europe wide celebration of buildings and a chance to discover some of our hidden gems.”

The full program brochure is available online: historyandheritage.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk.  Printed brochures are available at visitor information centres, libraries and museums and many local community centres. The brochure explains when prior booking is essential.

Some of the highlights include: Booth Mansion, 30 Watergate Street - an early Georgian mansion concealing two 13th century town houses with elegant reception rooms and magnificent ballroom above row level.

Watergate House, 85 Watergate Street - a fine Grade II* listed building, designed as a town house by Thomas Harrison for Thomas Potts, Clerk of the Peace, in 1820and now used as professional offices (open Saturday 8 only).

Behind the scenes tour of Storyhouse - the 1936 Grade II Art Deco Odeon cinema closed in 2007 and was converted into a theatre, cinema, library, and restaurant complex. Storyhouse has won many architectural prizes including Best Refurbishment at the National Building Awards 2017. Booking essential please telephone: 01244 972088 (6 and 7 September).

Parkgate Heritage Trail guided walk - follows a route recalling Parkgate’s past as a port for travellers to Ireland, a sea-side resort and a fishing village. Booking essential please telephone: 01244 972088 (8 and 9 September 3pm to 4.30pm).

Gloverstone area walking tour - exploring the former landscape of the old castle outer bailey. Booking essential, please telephone: 01244 972088 (Thursday 6 September: 10.30am, Friday 7 September: 10.30am and 6pm, Saturday 8 September and Sunday 9 September: 2.30pm).

​​​​​​​Poulton research project - multi period site that has produced 10,000 years of finds, notably a large Iron Age settlement, Roman period landscape and medieval chapel foundations. Booking essential please telephone: 01244 972 088 (Saturday 15 September: 1.45pm - 3.30pm and Sunday 16 September: 1pm - 3pm).

National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port - originally the largest inland dock system in the UK, transferring raw materials to Birmingham and Manchester; and finished products around the world. Tours available please enquire at the museum when you visit (Thursday 13 to Sunday 16: 10am - 5pm).

The Plaza Cinema, Plaza Buildings, Northwich - Grade II listed neoclassical style 1928 cinema, which closed in the 1960’s, then became a bingo hall until finally closing in 2011. There will be an exhibition of the Mid Cheshire Line’s ‘Marvellous Days Out’ railway posters (15 and 16 September).

​​​​​​​Northwich Heritage Tour - a guided walking tour of the unique timber framed buildings of Northwich, including their history and stories about the town. Booking essential please telephone: 01606 288815 (Sunday 16 September 11am and 2pm).

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