Heritage Open Days to continue this weekend

Two male soldiers sitting on a bonnet of a jeep, wearing uniform leather jackets, trousers, boots and caps. Black and White old photo.

Published Monday, 10 September 2018

HISTORY ENTHUSIASTS are set for a second weekend discovering more about the heritage of the borough as the Heritage Open Days festival continues from this Thursday (13 September).

Hundreds of people enjoyed visiting buildings not generally seen by the general public last weekend, as they took part in a whole host of guided walking tours and exhibitions throughout the borough.

This year’s festival is celebrating the Universal Suffrage Act centenary by honouring Extraordinary Women with many events and exhibitions telling the stories of both well-known and less celebrated women.  

One such person was Hinckley native Dr Myra Merrick who was recognised for her contributions to medicine in the ‘New World’ of 1800s America with a new blue plaque that was unveiled on Eden Court, Hinckley by the Mayor of the Borough, Jan Kirby as part of the festival last weekend. Myra Merrick was a pioneer woman doctor, specialising in women and children’s health as well as being an educator of female medical students and a business woman.

Events taking place this weekend include:  

  • Hansom Cab in Atkins Gallery, Lower Bond St, Hinckley Thursday and Friday 13 to 14 September 2018 daily 10am to 4pm, free entry. The Hansom Cab has been successfully restored and is taking pride of place in Atkins Gallery at Atkins Building.

The historic cab was returned by its restorer, Adrian Lander of Rushmere Farm Carriages, who has been looking after the cab for three years and spent eight months restoring it to its original condition. The Hansom Cab, dubbed the “gondola of London” by Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, was developed, tested and patented in Hinckley by Joseph Hansom in 1834. It went on to become one of the most popular forms of transport during the 1800’s.

  • Hinckley and District Museum - Hinckley & District Museum on Lower Bond Street will be open Friday to Sunday 14, 15 and 16 September. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm Fridays and Saturdays and 2pm to 5pm Sundays. Free entry during the Heritage weekend. These thatched timber box framed cottages dating from the 1680s have a framework knitter`s room setting with 1740 stocking frame, and Extraordinary Women displays including The Calculating Countess: Ada Lovelace (1815 to 1852), an early pioneer of computer programing. Other displays include an exhibition about the Romans, with a full-sized model of a Roman chariot and locally-found artefacts, pieces on Richard III and the battle of Bosworth and a look back at early social housing in Hinckley and surrounding areas. 
  • Exhibitions and events in Hinckley, Market Place – there will be a pop up exhibition by Hinckley and District Museum on Saturday 15 September on Extraordinary Women linked to the borough.  Hinckley and District Past and Present group will also be displaying old photographs of the town. Pick up a free copy of the Hinckley Town Centre History Trail courtesy of Hinckley BID in Association with Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council. Meanwhile, youngsters can take part in the Hinckley District Past and Present Children’s Town Centre Heritage Trail Hunt and have the chance to win one of eight £25 voucher prizes from Hinckley BID. 
  • Castle Point, 1D New Buildings, Hinckley Saturday 15 September at 10.30am. A brass plaque is to be unveiled by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Peter Wallace at Castle Point to commemorate the United States 82nd Airborne Division who were billeted in Hinckley during World War II, including at the old Palladium cinema on New Buildings where Castle Point now stands. From here the troops prepared for both D-Day on 6 June 1944 and Operation Market Garden on 17 September 1944, and during their time in the town many bonds of friendship and kinship were forged. Captain Paul Donnelly of the 376th Parachute Field Artillery said; "Coming to Hinckley after the ravages of war in Italy was like going to heaven and not having to die to get there.”
  • Barton in the Beans – Barton Baptist Chapel (Main Street), Saturday 15 September. Guided tours of this Grade II listed chapel are available and the chapel museum will be open from 10am to 3pm. The original chapel, founded in 1745, was closely associated with Samuel Deacon (1746 to 1816), the famous clockmaker of the village. It was rebuilt in 1841 in the Greek revival style and it retains many original fittings. 

Greg Drozdz, local historian and Vice Chairman of Hinckley & District Museum said: “There is a strong record in Hinckley of staging events to mark the nationwide Heritage Open Days and this year the events have gone up a gear with events over two week-ends. From plaques, to walks and events in the market place, the town comes alive with a celebration of our rich heritage. The collaboration of key organisations such as the Council, the Atkins Building, the Museum, the Great Meeting Chapel, the BID and local historians has produced an exciting programme for all ages eager to explore, discover and enjoy the area's past.”


Executive Member for culture at the Borough Council, Councillor Maureen Cook said: “I am very pleased that the timetable for this event has been extended this year. Hinckley and Bosworth has so much history and culture to offer and the festival provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to explore our local Heritage sites.  I would urge you to make the time to visit some if not all of the partaking sites throughout the Borough.”

A heritage booklet is available to view or download, which contains all the dates and locations of Heritage Open Days events.