Heritage Open Days celebrates its 25th birthday
By David Wood
Where: Various venues
When: September 13-22
Scores of places of interest in Gloucestershire will soon be throwing open their doors to the publc as part of this year's Heritage Open Days event.
Heritage Open Days is England's largest annual festival of history and culture with a dynamic programme of over 5,000 events, including over 200 in Gloucestershire.
Every September, doors are opened at some of the country's best-known attractions, including country houses, museum archives and gardens, to theatres, wildlife reserves and distilleries and even a solar farm, as well as private and community spaces, thanks to support from the National Trust and players of People's Postcode Lottery.
This year marks the festival's 25th anniversary and Punchline offers you a selection of just a few of the places that will be open in Gloucestershire.
Discover the fishing history of Awre Church
St Andrew's Church, Awre, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, GL14 1EW
See the graves of the drowned fishermen who sailed the Trow Sailing ships on the Severn under a 1,000-year-old yew tree outside this 13th century church. Also see inside a magnificent wooden chest carved from a single trunk of an Elm tree and thought to be used for laying out bodies recovered from the river.
Opening Times: Saturday, September 14, and Saturday, September 21, 11am-3pm. No booking required. Organised by Coleford Area MCTI Partnership
A Tour of Sandford Parks Lido
Sandford Parks Lido, Keynsham Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 7PU
Join us for a guided tour of the Lido, where you will learn all about its history and discover how it has become the site it is today. Includes a tour of the Plant Room, where there is usually no public access. Nationally recognised as the most complete example of a 1930s lido, Sandford Parks Lido retains most of its features including the impressive fountain and the original operational plant room engineering.
You will be able to explore the facility between 12pm-2pm and see some areas not normally accessible by the public. Please note that normal entrance prices apply for using the facility for swimming.
Opening Times: Friday, September 20, Saturday, September 21, Sunday, September 22, tours at 2pm
Pre-booking preferred. To guarantee a place on the tour, please call 01242 524430. However, feel free to turn up on the day and you will be able to join a tour if there are spaces.
Booking opens: September 16, 9amMax 12 people per tour/session. Tour takes approx. 30 minutes
Synagogue Lane, St James Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 3PU
Cheltenham Synagogue is a listed Grade 2* Regency building. It has been home to a small, traditional, Orthodox community since it was consecrated in 1839. There will be brief talks and members will be on hand to answer questions.
The Synagogue contains the oldest Ashkenazi furniture (1761) in the UK. There are two unique prayer plaques from the 18th Century, one in Hebrew and the other, a prayer for the Royal Family, in English.
Jessica Shapiro will give a talk "Small Communities in the South West" at 6pm on Thursday, September 19. Pre-book for this please (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01242 242724 with contact details).
Simple displays and activity sheets will be available for our young visitors.
Opening times: Sunday, September 15, 11am-4pm, Thursday, September 19, 6pm-7pm
Cinderford Memorabilia Day
Cinderford Town Council, St. Annals House, Belle Vue Centre, 6 Belle Vue Road, Cinderford, Gloucestershire, GL14 2AB
An opportunity to discover Cinderford's social and industrial history. Discover the wonderful mining heritage of Cinderford and the Forest of Dean along with the development of Cinderford. A great opportunity to delve into photographs and artefacts detailing Cinderford's social and industrial history. The old town clock, newspaper archives and exhibits from East Dean Grammar School will also be on display.
Opening time: Saturday, September 14, 10am-4pm. No booking required
Cirencester Pubs Past and Present
Meet outside the Parish Church, Market Place, Cirencester, Gloucestershire
A guided walk (approx two hours) around Cirencester showing where public houses ply their trade (or did!).The walk will take visitors on a tour of the town with brief stops outside public houses past and present. Over 50 such premises will be visited and a description of the history will be given by the guide-as a result of extensive research by local historians.
Opening time: Sunday, September 15, 11amNo booking required. The walk will be about two miles in length and probably not suitable for people with mobility issues.
Max 20 people per tour/session. Walk will take about two hours Contact for the day: John Tiffney 01285 652483. Organised by Cirencester Civic Society
Comfy Pew, Gloucester
11 College Street, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL1 2NE
The Comfy Pew is in a Grade II* listed row of timber-framed buildings which date back to the 15th century though with later alterations, situated next to the main entrance gates to Gloucester Cathedral. It is now a friendly, family-run licensed restaurant.
Opening times: Friday, September 13, to Monday, September 16, 10am-4pm daily. Contact for the day: Paul Drinkwater 07947 847588
For a comprehensive list of all the places that are open in Gloucestershire and beyond, visit the Heritage Open Days website.
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