Patron, Loyd Grossman says ‘Treasure Your Treasures’ in Stoke Thursday 8 – Sunday 11 September
Patron, Loyd Grossman has launched, what he calls, ‘the world’s greatest heritage festival’, rousing visitors to get out and about and ‘treasure your treasures’ at 5000 free events taking place across England during Heritage Open Days between Thursday 8 and Sunday 11 September.
‘Treasure Your Treasures’ is the theme for this year’s annual four-day festival, which calls on communities to champion their local heritage and show their support for cultural and historic assets on their doorsteps. Visitors are encouraged to capture themselves on camera with the objects, people or places that they treasure and to share their stories online via social media using the hashtag #TreasureYourTreasures. Specially made Heritage Open Days frames will be positioned in each region at some of the free events for people to put themselves in the picture together with or in front of their treasures.
The ‘treasures’ theme comes following the results of a straw poll by Heritage Open Days, which showed that 95% of Heritage Open Days organisers had fears about the future of places like museums, galleries, archives, theatres, parks and historic sites in their own communities, which may be facing financial uncertainty. 225 local organisers responded to the survey about their treasures and their level of concern about the effects of funding cuts. They felt overwhelmingly that Heritage Open Days had an important role to play in supporting the future of their local treasures.
Loyd Grossman said the 5,000 free events held during the festival provided the ideal platform to stand up and shout about local treasures. He encouraged people to engage with heritage as visitors and volunteers, and to get behind campaigns to retain access to places like museums, archives, libraries, galleries, theatres, parks and historic sites.
In the last 22 years, Heritage Open Days has grown from 701 events to over 4800 in 2015 with some 3.4 million visitors enjoying free-to-access events and activities over four days in September. Over 40,000 volunteers help to run the festival making it the biggest grassroots celebration of culture and heritage in the UK. It is coordinated centrally by the National Trust with funding from Players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The festival provides an opportunity to showcase buildings and hidden histories in communities. The database for this year’s festival is now live at www.heritageopendays.org.uk.
A selection of highlights in Stoke:
‘Behind the Scenes at the Lord Mayor’s Parlour,’ City of Stoke-on-Trent Civic Centre
Visit the Lord Mayors Parlour and see behind the scenes in the historic council chambers. Children can take part in our treasure hunt and have their photo taken in the Lord Mayor’s chair and hat!
Brindley’s Mill, Leek
Brindley’s Mill is a working water-powered corn mill dating back to 1752, attributed to James Brindley the canal pioneer. The mill contains a small museum about James Brindley’s life and times. Corn grinding demonstrations and guided tours. On Sunday 11th there will also be live folk music in the mill’s riverside garden, and refreshments will be available.
Chatterley Whitfield Colliery Tour, Stoke-on-Trent
The Chatterley Whitfield Colliery site is acknowledged to be the most comprehensive surviving example of a deep mine site in England, with a range of surviving structures and buildings unequalled in any other former or surviving coalfield site in Britain. Not usually open to the public, this free guided tour by the Friends of Chatterley Whitfield will allow you to appreciate the splendid array of buildings on site, which makes Chatterley Whitfield so unique.
Stoke Minster, Stoke-on-Trent
This year Stoke Minster are promoting interest in the history and heritage of bells and bell ringing and there will be displays and information on the art of ringing, and the chance to have ‘hands on’ experience on the fine ring of 10 bells. You can still see the WWI stained glass window that was restored in 2014. Display boards giving an insight into the Heritage of the Minster. Ceramic memorials to the great local potters including a Flaxman sculpture of Josiah Wedgwood. Wedgwood and Spode are buried in the Minster grounds. The uniquely interesting Minton & Hollins memorial wall tiles and the beautiful floor tiles in the chancel are well worth a look. There will be an organ recital at 12.00 on the magnificent Binn’s/Walker organ, and a display of fine tapestries and guided tours around the Minster and its grounds.