Organiser: English Heritage
Location: Various, North West
Over 4,000 places across the country are opening their doors for free as part of Heritage Open Days which takes place between 10th and 13th September 2009. Open Days offers something for everyone and this year for the first time is being run by English Heritage who stepped in to rescue it when the previous organisers, the Civic Trust went into administration earlier this year. Around one million people are expected to visit thousands of properties of every style, period and function that will be opening their doors for free – and with 90 per cent of the population living within 30 minutes of a Heritage Open Days event; more and more people are celebrating their local areas. Each day Oddfellows on Lower Bridge Street, Chester offers visits to an unusual venue built in 1676 (then as Bridge House) which marked a radical departure from the half-timbered tradition characterised by the Bear and Billet (built only 12 years earlier). Renovated and refurbished in 2008, the building is now a stylish and somewhat unusual bar, tea room, restaurant, members club and boutique hotel with rear extension and spectacular walled garden. In Macclesfield the Silk Museum at the Old School of Art offers free Friday and Saturday admission to the exhibition Dye, Print, Stitch: the Textiles of Thomas and Elizabeth Wardle. The exhibition reveals the background and accomplishments of one the foremost dye and print pioneer of the Victorian era and of his wife the founder of the arts and crafts Leek Embroidery school. Rich in exhibits from the arts and crafts period including loans from all over the country. Booking is required for Sunday’s tours of Warrington Town Hall on Sankey Street which is the former private residence of the Patten family and the town’s premier historic building. The Grade I listed property was built in 1750 and designed by James Gibbs. It was described by Pevsner as ‘the finest house of its date in South Lancashire’.