HODs Headlines 2019

2019 marked 25 years of our extraordinary 'people powered' festival, and what a year it was! A full 10 days stretch saw a record 5,794 events take place across England organised by thousands of local people in bright sunshine.

© Chris Lacey - In 2019 Heritage Open Days celebrated 25 years of people power

Visitor from Leicester

The year in numbers

  • 5,794 events
  • 2,159 organisers
  • 53,000 volunteers
  • 2.4 million visitors
  • £20 million added to local economies

Organiser from Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire

Making a difference

  • 91% of visitors feel increased pride in their local area
  • 84% of visitors feel that HODs events help bring different people together
  • 24% had not visited a heritage site in the last 12 months
  • 86% feel inspired to visit other heritage sites in future
  • 86% of volunteers are more likely to volunteer with other heritage sites/organisations

Clitheroe shone in the sunshine this year as a hub of HODs activity

Festival snapshots

In Clitheroe, Lancashire people came out of the coffee shops on a bright Saturday morning to watch the 'amazing' and 'very moving' re-enactment of the 1919 Peace Procession. This marked the start of an extraordinary day across the town, with the library hosting an exhibition and talk as well as very popular tours of their old gaol cells. Local shops displayed 'fallen soldier' sihouettes as part of an activity trail, while the castle was a hub of activity where you could meet an evacuee to hear first hand the effect of WWII on children and a chance to paint a peace pebble for a new permanent artwork.

Images courtesy of Chris Lacey

HODs offered a rare chance to see the stunning High Park Reservoir, built in 1853 to provide Liverpool's drinking water / © Maddy Pennock

High Park Reservoir in Liverpool had their highest number of visitors yet with donation boxes filling to four times their normal amount!

HODs headlines

Hitting the headlines

National and regional media coverage included features in the Guardian, Evening Standard and Time Out Magazine. As well as mentions on ITV's This Morning and BBC Arts. 

Whilst the 10 days of the festival saw 2.3 million page views to the website and 660,000 organic social media impressions.

Tours for the Museum of Sex Objects in London were oversubscribed after featuring in several spreads. Whilst icons, Chatterley Whitfield and Blackpool Tower needed no extra coverage to fill their places - Chatterley's tours were all booked up in 3 mins, whilst the Tower had 2 reserve lists after filling the places in 15 mins!

Celebrating 25 years of People Power

The silver anniversary of our wonderful locally driven festival inspired this year's theme of 'People Power'.

Hundreds of people explored stories of past changemakers whilst considering how to make their own dreams a reality / © Jonathan Cherry

  • Over 460 People Power events were held over the festival, celebrating local stories of people and communities who have made a difference throughout history.
  • In collaboration with the Craftivist Collective, this year's Unsung Stories commission encouraged us all to 'Dare to Dream' with online toolkits, training events and 25 craftivism workshops held over the festival itself. 
  • A 'Power' theme inspired hundreds of entries for this year's photography competition. Won by Ana Peiro for her dramatic image of the propeller rig within the Q121 wind tunnel building at the Farnborough RAE.
  • Bunting came out early (along with some impressive cakes!) as glasses were raised to toast the festival, particularly its incredible volunteers, at a series of anniversary celebrations. 150 people came to the national party in the stunning 2 Temple Place, while many more attended events in the regions.

YUM! Not just beautifully decorated with local icons, this lemon cake from the Sheffield anniversary launch was also one of the tastiest!

A big thank you

Many thanks to all who participated - for visiting, sending in feedback, helping out on the day and planning behind the scenes. All of you who have shared your stories and highlighted the everyday wonder and value of the heritage that surrounds us - you have made this festival the extraordinary jewel it is. 

Here's to another 25 years!

HODs will be back next year - save the dates: 11-20 September!

Find out more

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