Arts & Heritage News
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Rochdale is set to celebrate its fantastic history, architecture and cultural offer!
- 24 August 2017
The borough of Rochdale is once again getting ready to celebrate its fantastic architecture and heritage next month with the return of the popular national Heritage Open Days festival.
Now 23 years old, the event is billed as England’s largest voluntary cultural event which ‘opens the doors’ to various venues in the borough, many of which are normally either closed to the public or charge an entrance fee.
Running for four consecutive days, from Thursday 7 to Sunday 10 September, this is a once-a-year chance to enjoy events and activities which bring to life local history and culture. All free to explore, buildings of every age, style and function across the borough will be opening, along with fascinating guided walks, tours and talks.
The open days are co-ordinated nationally by the Heritage Open Days National Partnership with Link4Life’s Arts and Heritage Service organising locally, the event thrives upon the enthusiasm and expertise of local people as thousands of volunteers from all walks of life share their knowledge and memories.
Rochdale’s religious and historic buildings will open including the Grade I listed Town Hall and Touchstones Rochdale. Touchstones Rochdale has a collection of wonderful ancient Egyptian objects on display as part of their new exhibition, Ancient Egypt: Life along the River Nile. Join Egyptologist Dr Margaret Serpico for a FREE talk on Thursday 7 September from 6pm-7.30pm to find out more about the ancient Egyptians and the amazing objects that form part of the museum collection.
After the success of the previous years, Christ Church in Healey will open its doors once again. There will be an exhibition of historical documents, with original letters from founders Jacob Tweedle and Albert Royds. The church will also hold a Heritage Fair Day on Saturday 9 September with home bakes and craft stalls and a variety of children’s activities, fun and games for all ages! Music recitals are also on offer from Thursday to Sunday, 12noon-2pm. As the restoration of the six church bells is now complete, make sure you visit the bell tower and view the video footage of the restoration work.
For the first time in over 30 years the significant Hopwood Hall Estate, Middleton will have a few areas open for public viewing. The building is currently derelict and a new effort is being launched to save and preserve the estate led by Hopwood DePree, a descendant of the Hopwoods. With original timbers dating back to 1426, The Hall sits on a site founded by the Hopwoods in the 12th century. The Grade II* Listed structure is currently on Historic England’s “At Risk” list featuring extensive Jacobean carvings as well as historic fireplaces and evidence of areas constructed by Edgar Wood. The surrounding ancient woods are said to have been an inspiration for Lord Byron’s famous poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”. A must see!
It’s Middleton Golden Cluster Month throughout September with medieval buildings, St Leonard’s Parish Church and Long Street Methodist Church opening their doors free of charge from Friday to Sunday throughout various times of the day. Many of Heywood’s historic churches will also be open to local residents.
On the edge of the Pennines, Littleborough will be inviting visitors to explore Hare Hill House. This year ‘Hare Hill Heroes’ will be dressing the house as it would have been in the 1950s and 1960s when it served as the Town Hall for the former Littleborough Urban District Council. The Littleborough History Centre, located within the 1880 station building on Platform 2 at Littleborough Station, is also open during the weekend. Come and take a look at the restoration of original main waiting, including larger exhibits of the Littleborough Historical and Archaeological Society.
Speaking about this year’s Heritage Open Days festival, Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for Culture, Health and Wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council said:
“Have you ever walked or driven past one of our beautiful buildings and wondered what it was like inside? Well, now you can find out, on our Heritage Open Days. Treat yourself to some quality time discovering your heritage, check out your surroundings, you are guaranteed to find something to delight and surprise you. If you work it carefully you can visit ALL the sites over the four days! What will you discover this year? ”
Darren Grice, Head of Culture, Health and Participation for Link4Life added:
“The Borough of Rochdale boasts a rich and varied heritage and the Heritage Open Day weekend gives everyone the chance to experience and enjoy all that is on offer. From opportunities to take part in fun activities, to seeing behind the doors of buildings that otherwise would not be open to the public, the weekend offers free fun for all the family. An army of volunteers and professionals care for and make our heritage accessible year round so it’s a great opportunity to meet them and share their passion for our past!”
Full details of this year’s Heritage Open Days programme, and how to pre-book onto the free sessions, is available online at link4life.org/hods. Copies of the brochure produced by Link4Life can also be picked up from the Visitor Information Centre at Touchstones Rochdale and at local libraries and leisure centres