Celebrating ten years of opening doors

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Heritage Open Days, England’s largest grassroots heritage event, is celebrating a special landmark this year.

This year’s festival, which runs from September 11 to 14, marks the tenth anniversary and over the past decade towers and tunnels, factories and follies, chapels and synagogues, houses and halls all over the country have opened their doors to the public for free.

In Calderdale numerous historic buildings will be opening their doors. These include:

Halifax Heritage Festival: Runs until Sunday, in tandem with Heritage Open Days. Events include hidden gems tours of Halifax departing from the Town Hall, guided tours of Halifax Town Hall, open days at Shibden Hall the Victoria Theatre, Square Chapel, All Souls Church and other significant buildings in the town. Calderdale Industrial Museum will be open to visitors and there will be bell ringing at Halifax Minster. Architectural historian Colum Giles will give an illustrated talk at Halifax Town Hall on Friday, September 12 at 5.30pm. For further information tel 01422 360035 or visit @Hxheritagefest

Wainsgate Chapel, Hebden Bridge: open Saturday from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, with readings by actress Eileen o’Brien, organ music and teas, free.

Halifax Playhouse, King Cross Street: open Saturday, 10am to 4pm, guided tours, refreshments and a chance to go behind the scenes.

Hebden Bridge Picture House: Saturday, 10am to 1pm, tours at 10.30am, 11.20am and 12.10pm, short films and a sale of hundreds of film posters run by the Friends of Hebden Bridge Picture House, 10am to 12.30pm.

Todmorden Town Hall: a chance to view the grade one listed Town Hall, considered one of the finest municipal buildings in the country, open Sunday, noon to 3pm.

Todmorden Unitarian Church: open Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm, plus a chance to have your portrait taken using Victorian cameras and wet plates by John Brewer and Kate Horsley, tea and cakes.

Christ Church, Sowerby Bridge: open Saturday, 10am to 3pm, a chance to go behind the scaffolding and learn about the tower’s make-over, plus quizzes and activities for children and a photographic exhibition.

All Saints’ Church, Elland: open Sunday, noon to 4pm, view the grade two listed church’s hidden architectural treasures, free, light refreshments, parking available.

Mount Zion Methodist Chapel, Ogden: open Saturday, 2pm to 4pm, and Sunday, 10.30am to noon, 2pm to 4pm, have a look at the display of Methodist memorabilia including the Hird collection of ceramics, and explore the graveyard, refreshments.

Illingworth Gaol and Stocks: 121, Keighley Road, Illingworth will be open on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4pm to enable visitors to view the stocks dating from 1697 and interior of the 1823 Illingworth Gaol. There will also be the chance to learn about plans to restore the building and adjoining early Co-op.

Loyd Grossman, patron of Heritage Open Days, said: “2014 is a landmark year. Over the last two decades we’ve enabled millions of people to visit thousands of places that are normally closed to the public, helping to put local heritage at the forefront of community life. This summer we’re looking forward to our most spectacular festival ever – a unique national celebration of our hidden history.”

Visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk for full details.