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[10 JUN 00] HERITAGE OPEN DAYS NEWS
CWN Sponsors Heritage Open Days

CWN is sponsoring this year's Heritage Open Days event, which will see many historic buildings around Coventry open to the public.

The aim of the annual national event, on 16 and 17 September, is to give people the chance to see buildings not normally open to the public and find out more about their history, their uses and the characters that lived in them.

One of the new features open this year is the Lord Mayor's Parlour.

This year's Lord Mayor Sheila Collins will be on hand in full regalia during the weekend to greet visitors.

Organisers Coventry and Warwickshire Promotions decided to try and expand the amount of venues after the weekend was a huge success last year.

More information about the buildings will become available during the summer.

CWN Editor Chris Studman said:

"The heritage of this city is very important to both the people who live here and tourists who visit.

"Coventry might have a reputation as a concrete city, but there are many interesting buildings with centuries of history.

"CWN is delighted to be a part of this weekend and to help give people the chance to explore these buildings."

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BUILDINGS OPEN THIS YEAR:

DRAPERS HALL

Open Sat 11-5, Sun 11-5 / Full disabled access

Grade II* classical style Drapers Company headquarters built 1831-2 by Rickman and Hutchinson. Gentleman's club for the guild, Ballroom, Billiard, Reading and Dining rooms open.

Classical string quartet, The Clarendon Quartet from the University of Warwick will be playing music from the time in the Ballroom, 2-4.30pm both days.

Local history societies will be in the Billiard Room promoting themselves and their work, including, Coventry Watch Makers, George Eliot Fellowship, CWN, Coventry Photographic society and CADAS.

ST MARY'S HALL

Open Sat 11-5, Sun 11-5 / Partial disabled access

Grade I 14-15th century fine example of a medieval guildhall. Mary Queen of Scots imprisoned here. Court scene in Adam Bede by George Eliot set in Great Hall.

Tudor music from Richard York in the courtyard and a chance for children to play the instruments Sat 11-5.

The Freemen's Guildroom in the undercroft will be open with members of the guild on hand to explain more about freemen and the guild.

BLUE COAT SCHOOL

Open Sat 11-5, Sun 11-5 / Partial disabled access

Grade II* chateau-style girl's charity school, built 1856-57, architect John Murray. Incorporates fabric from 13-14th Century Benedictine priory, Coventry's first cathedral. First opening since restoration.

SWANSWELL GATE

Open Sat 11-5, Sun 11-5 / No disabled access

One of two surviving town wall gates. Mid 15th century Grade I listed building / ancient monument. Converted in 1820's into a dwelling and workshop, restored 1931-2.

1 hr tours of the town wall by Joe Davies will start from the gate 11am and 2pm both days. Admission by free ticket from the Tourist Information Centre.

CHEYLESMORE MANOR REGISTER OFFICE

Open Sun 11-5 / Full disabled access

Oldest building in Britain to be used as a register office. Parts of the gatehouse date back to 1250. Famous inhabitants include the Black Prince and Queen Isabella.

Queen Isabella (local tour guide Barbara Bickerton), will be in residence to welcome people to her one-time home.

Medieval music from Richard York in the courtyard and a chance for children to play the instruments Sun 11-5.

KIRBY HOUSE

Open Sat 11-5, Sun 11-5 / No disabled access

Grade II* early Georgian town house. Saved from demolition and extensively restored 1981-2. Currently used as solicitors offices. Highlights include a splendid wooden staircase and carved wood panelling.

THE VARSITY

Open Sat 11-5, Sun 11-5 / No disabled access

Grade II* Georgian town house. Built for prominent silk ribbon manufacturer. Oddfellows branch headquarters for a century from 1881. Recently restored / converted into a pub.

THE COUNCIL HOUSE

Open Sat 11-5, Sun 11-5 / Full disabled access

Grade II early Tudor style building with rich heraldic decoration built 1913-17. Opened by future George VI. Lord Mayor's suites, Council Chamber and Ante-chamber viewable.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Sheila Collins will be in residence to meet visitors Sat 11.30-1.30, Sun 2-4.

COVENTRY CATHEDRAL RUINS

Sat 11-5, Sun 11-5. / No disabled access

Bishop Haigh Memorial Chapel in late 13th century porch, oldest part of church. Late 14th - early 15th century 295 ft high steeple, free access - fantastic city views.

ST MARY MAGDALENE CHURCH + RISEN CHRIST HALL, WYKEN

Open Sat 2-5, Sun 11-5 / Disabled access for Risen Christ only

The oldest building in Coventry. Early 12th century, St Mary Magdalene church boasts a Norman font and a medieval wall painting of St Christopher.

Church volunteers will be providing a tea room in Risen Christ hall, next to church.

HERBERT ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM

Open Sat 10-5.30, Sun 11-5 / Full disabled access

Last chance to see 'Go To It!' exhibition which marks the 60th anniversary of the Blitz and the contribution of the Home Front. Also special events to be arranged.

MUSEUM OF BRITISH ROAD TRANSPORT

Open Sat 10-5, Sun 10-5 / Full disabled access

Largest collection of British built cars, cycles and motorcycles in the world. Proactive events on Sunday. Will provide a bus to tour the Heritage Trail.

 

In addition to the buildings on view the Midlands Vehicle Preservation Trust will be displaying a number of vintage and classic cars along Priory Row.

Coventry Guild of Tour Guides will be in costume and on hand to tour to buildings and answer questions.

Leaflets will be available in September from Coventry Tourist Information Centre Bayley Lane tel 024 7683 2303.
   

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CWN / Heritage / Heritage Open Days / 10 Jun 00

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