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Coventry Characters Come Out For Heritage

What do Queen Isabella, Coventry's Lord Mayor and a strolling Medieval minstrel have in common?

The answer is - they're all playing a part in this year's Heritage Open Days, which is sponsored by CWN.

The weekend on 16 and 17 September, promises to be the biggest yet for the event in Coventry as several buildings are being opened to the public for the first time.

This year sees 12 properties open to the public free of charge as part of the national Civic Trust initiative to open buildings that are not normally open or are charged for on a free basis for a weekend.

They include the oldest building in the city - St Mary Magdalene with Risen Christ Church, Wyken.

Other buildings that can be seen for the first time this year are:

Cheylesmore Manor Register Office; Swanswell Gate, which is one of the city's two remaining city gates; Kirby House and the Varsity, which are both Georgian town houses; the Lord Mayor's suites in the Council House; the Bishop Haigh Memorial chapel in the cathedral ruins.

‘Queen Isabella' will be out on show during the weekend, played by local tour guide Barbara Bickerton in her one-time home, Cheylesmore Manor.

There will be music from various periods by Richard York, one of the country's leading Medieval musicians.

Coventry Council HouseAnd members of the public will be able to see what life is like for Coventry's Lord Mayor, Cllr Sheila Collins, who will be welcoming guests to the Lord Mayor's suites.

One building which is back by popular demand is Drapers Hall, which was used as a gentleman's club for the Drapers Guild.

It was last opened for an open day in 1996, and was voted the building most people wanted to see in a survey last year.

St Marys GuildhallOther popular favourites open again this year are St Mary's Hall, which is one of the finest preserved medieval guildhalls in the country, Blue Coat School, which has recently been restored, the Council Chamber and ante-chamber in the Council House, and the cathedral tower.

The city's two main museums are also involved in the weekend with special events.

Herbert Art GalleryThe Herbert Art Gallery will be putting on live entertainment and tours of its Godiva paintings and extensive stores.

The Museum of British Road Transport will be putting on special events and providing an old Daimler bus to tour the heritage route.

Heritage Open Days co-ordinator Hilary Hopker said:

"Heritage Open Days is a great opportunity to get a real feel for the history of Coventry through the buildings and people of its past.

“This year's programme is the most extensive yet and reflects the interest of local people in their city."

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CWN / Heritage / Heritage Open Days / 11 Aug 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM