Wakefield’s hidden heritage will once again be open for the public to view over four days in September as part of the annual national Heritage Open Days weekend, which this year runs from Thursday 6th September to Sunday 9th September. Property owners will be inviting people to come inside and explore historic buildings, including some that are not usually open to view. In addition, Wakefield Civic Society will again be offering guided walks and, for the first time, showing a collection of photographs from its archives to show
how Wakefield city centre has changed over the years.
Heritage Open Days is the annual event which is designed to encourage people too explore their local heritage and to take a peek inside some of the country’s fascinating older buildings. Over four days every September, properties open their doors free of charge to members of the public and invite them to come inside and have a look around.
This year, Wakefield Civic Society will be leading tours of Wakefield County Hall and Town Hall on Friday morning, 7th September and the Town Hall only on Saturday morning, 8th September, as well as leading walking tours of the city centre on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Kevin Trickett, president of the Society said “We’ve been offering guided walks around the city centre for a number of years and people, whether they live locally or come from further afield, are always fascinated by what they learn. Heritage Open days is a once-a-year opportunity to see inside some of the city’s buildings and to hear something of the history of the city that isn’t available at other times of the year. The tours of the Town Hall and County Hall have proved very popular since we added them to the programme.”
In this Diamond Jubilee year, the Society has also dug into its archives to put together a collection of photographs that show how much Wakefield city centre has changed over the last 60 years or so. The “Changing Face of Wakefield” exhibition will be on display on Thursday and Friday afternoon’s 6th & 7th September from 2 to 5 pm at the Society’s offices at Wakefield Media Centre, 19 King Street.
In addition to events organised by the Society, members of the public will be able to see
inside a number of historic churches: St Helen’s at Sandal, St Peter’s at Kirkthorpe, St John’s Church, and the Chantry Chapel, Westgate Chapel and the Cathedral. For those feeling very fit, the Cathedral will be offering tours up the tower on Saturday.
In addition, on the Saturday, there will be castle top tours at Sandal Castle and tours of the screens building at the National Coal Mining Museum at Caphouse Colliery. Clarke Hall on Aberford Road will be open on Saturday and, for those with a literary interest, the Gissing Museum on Westgate will also be opening its doors on both Saturday and Sunday.
Kevin Trickett added that Heritage Open Days are a really enjoyable way to learn more about Wakefield and its history but he urged people to look at the national Heritage Open Days website – www.heritageopendays.org.uk to ensure that they have the latest information. “There could be late changes and additions made and the website should give details. More importantly, it will provide details of which events need to be booked in advance and how to go about it”.