Museums and libraries open their historic doors on Heritage Open Days

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Some of Lancashire County Council's historic buildings will open their doors on Saturday 8 September and Sunday 9 September to celebrate an annual heritage event encouraging people to find out more about their local history.

The Heritage Open Days are an opportunity for people to find out about local history and explore their heritage, architecture and culture by getting involved in a number of activities.

There will be free admission to the venues over the weekend, with specially arranged events.

Activities include a free guided tour of Lancaster Castle. Built in 1093 by Roger de Poitou, it is today owned by Her Majesty The Queen, who is also the Duke of Lancaster. A tour of the main courtyard, Chapel Yard, The Shire Hall, the Crown Court, the Drop Room, the Grand Jury Room, Hadrian's Tower, the old Cells and the A wing will be available. There's no need to book on the tours, but places will be allocated to those who arrive first.

There will also be free entry to the Grade I listed Gawthorpe Hall at Padiham, near Burnley. Visitors will be able to access parts of the 'Downton of the North' that aren't usually open to the public, including the library and Victorian kitchen. People will be able to use the spiral staircase to pass from the stately family rooms to the Victorian kitchen and meet the housekeeper. The historic Victorian room, portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, textiles from Gawthorpe Textiles Collection and a look at the servants' side of the hall can also be enjoyed.

Other events for visitors to enjoy include free entry to Lancaster Maritime Museum. The museum is located in the Port of Lancaster Custom House and warehouse buildings, dating from the second half of the 18th century. The buildings developed around this time as a result of the success of overseas trade.

Tours of Lancashire Archives in Preston will give people the chance to take a look behind the scenes at the nine miles of treasured documents, records, archives and photographs. There will be a chance to watch conservation demonstrations and to visit a strongroom.

Visitors will also get the chance to listen to a talk about the life and work of Preston suffragette, Edith Rigby. An exhibition of photographs, banners and personal papers belonging to suffrage campaigners from Lancashire who helped women to gain the vote 100 years ago will also be on display.

Queen Street Mill, in Burnley, will be celebrating 100 years since its steam engine was named 'Peace', in honour of the end of World War One. Visitors will be able to watch Peace power the mill and hear the noise of the looms in the weaving shed.

People will be able to visit Rossendale's Helmshore Mills Textile Museum for free and to see the working historic machines in action. Walking tours of Helmshore village will also be available.

Clitheroe Library will also be welcoming visitors. People will have a chance to learn about the history of the library, including the 1820s Moot Hall and 1600s dungeons. Architectural plans will be on display to show how the building has changed over the last century. Visitors will also be able to learn more about Clitheroe's clock which dates to 1905 and was given to the library in memory of two brothers from a prominent local family who drowned at sea.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to take part in Heritage Open Days, either by visiting an attraction, or taking part in an event.

"There's certainly a good choice available, to suit all ages and tastes."

Entry will be free on each day at most of the venues taking part which include:

• Gawthorpe Hall, Burnley
• Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Rossendale
• Lancashire Archives, Bow Lane, Preston
• Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, Burnley
• Lancashire Conservation Studios, Preston
• Lancaster Castle
• Lancaster Maritime Museum
• Clitheroe Library

To find out about opening times or for more information about the special events at each of the venues for the Heritage Open Days, visit and


Tagged as: Leisure and Culture Libraries and Archives

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