Treasure your Treasures

From the 8th of September through to the 11th, Heritage Open Days is celebrating your local treasures by holding thousands of free events across the country.

© Andrew Heptinstall - A volunteer shares some treasure with a visitor to South Shields's VLB Watch House

Heritage Open Days is your chance to share and celebrate your local treasures. Whether a local building or the volunteers who keep the building standing, a green space or a special object, this is the time to treasure it all. Here are just some of the treasures you can discover this September:

Treasured Places

Heritage Open Days unlocks the everyday places we live, work, worship, spend time and have fun in, but may never take the time to treasure. The tours of St Mary’s Parish Church, Portchester are the perfect opportunity to take in the grandeur of a modern day place of worship, with a rich history dating back to 1128. While the oldest working engine shed, Tanfield Railway, Gateshead, is a great place to experience the English inventive spirit. Or venture on a trail through The Secret Forest, Coleford, and appreciate the country’s untamed wilderness.

Treasured Pastimes

Our traditions and pastimes, passed down through the generations, are some of our greatest treasures. The Stonemasons' Guild, Norwich, is a beautiful building dedicated to preserving the long tradition of stone masonry. Learn about this tradition and meet the modern day apprentices at this year’s ‘Sustaining Intangible Heritage’ event. For a quite different English tradition, but nevertheless a well-practiced one, visit Darwin Brewery Open Day, Sunderland, where a tutored beer tasting will be on offer. Learn about beer styles, craft brewing and flavour profiling with a focus on historical ales of the region. Or, find one of our Challenge 500 Bell Towers. This year Heritage Open Days is working in partnership with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers to open up bell towers across the country for the festival. There will be events up and down the nation where you can learn all about the long and unique history of English bell ringing.

Treasured People

Without the people who take action and work to keep our treasures alive, free festivals like Heritage Open Days simply could not happen. Take for instance Wortley Top Forge, Barnsley, Britain's last water powered heavy iron forge, restored and managed by volunteers, who will be on hand this September to give tours and speak about their work. Or visit the Majestic Theatre in Retford and be inspired by how the 1927 Grade II listed 652 seat theatre has been restored back to working order by a hardworking team of volunteers. Perhaps take a trip to Ramsey Rural Museum, a community project opened in 1983, managed and run by volunteers, who work to retain the history of rural life. Indeed, all of our events this September give you the opportunity to meet people who are enthusiastic about their local heritage and thank them for their efforts to preserve our treasures.

Treasured Collections and Items

The small, often sentimental, treasures people keep throughout their life provide some of the best insights we can have into the past. Collections up and down the country are home to such items, meaningful to people past and present. The event ‘More than a Century of Style in Norwich’ held at The City Bookshop will display a stunning collection of shawls, antique costumes, needlework tools and sewing machines, explaing the items' personal history and connection to Norwich. While the Wind Energy Museum and Broads Photographic Exhibition, Great Yarmouth, gives you the opportunity to experience Britain's only collection of historical wind-pumps, and think about sustainable energy sources for the future. ‘Bringing Back the Banner' Burradon Banner Restoration Project this year focuses on one important item, the restored 1954 pit banner. The banner has been recently restored and returns as the focal point of recounting the area’s social and cultural history.

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