Calderdale gems shown off by walks and displays

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Historic buildings across Calderdale opened their doors to the public to celebrate their proud past as part of Heritage Open Days.

The weekend event, held in conjunction with English Heritage, is aimed at encouraging interesting historical and cultural properties to open their doors for free.

The Halifax Minster offered a rare opportunity for visitors.

Ever since the Minster appeared on BBC 1’s ‘Songs of Praise’, it has received a deluge of enquiries from visitors wishing to view the ceiling.

To date, it has been unable to duplicate the special lighting that provided the illumination from the BBC during filming of the programme due to cost, but for the weekend their historic panels, which offer an insight into the building’s history were illuminated.

The Piece Hall offered two heritage walks where expert guides shared their knowledge of the Piece Hall’s fascinating history as well as tours around the Square Chapel Centre for the Arts about its secret history.

At Halifax Town Hall civic silver and regalia was on display as well as specially designed carved panel produced by the West Riding carvers for the Forget-Me-Not Children’s Hospice.

The Grade II listed Shibden Hall and Folk Museum showed off many of its period rooms and collection of carved, oak furniture and offered trails and activities to children.

Bankfield Museum, which includes the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Museum covering over 300 years of the regiment since 1702, showed exhibitions.

Brighouse Library and the Smith Art Gallery welcomed visitors and was the venue for the official opening of Brighouse Arts Festival.

A Brighouse Heritage walk was also held and showed the early industrial history of the town.

St John the Baptist Church at Coley took part in the weekend event and, as part of the celebration of 500 years of worship on the same site, a Servants’ Walk took place.

It followed in the footsteps of the forbearers, when they went to church for a service every Sunday at Halifax Minster.

Visitors to Gibson Mill, Hebden Bridge, learnt about the rich past of the Calder Valley.

The family-orientated visitor centre tells the history of the valley over the past 200 years and having no link to the national grid, the mill is unique in the UK.

Todmorden’s Hippodrome Theatre celebrated its centenary in style as part of Heritage Open Day.

Now owned by the Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, the building on Halifax Road invited visitors to take tours, find out more about the 2013/14 theatre programme and watch films about the theatre’s history.

At Lower Wyke Movarian Church, members displayed photographs and memorabilia and people could take a look around the building.

Other buildings that took part in the special event included Clay House, West Vale, Todmorden Town Hall, The Victoria Theatre, Halifax, The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Elland, St Peter’s Church, Sowerby, St Thomas the Apostle and St Thomas a Becket Church, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden Unitarian Church, Calderdale Industrial museum and Heptonstall Museum.