Heritage open days 2019

Heritage open days poster

Published Friday, 09 August 2019

FAMILIES AND HISTORY ENTHUSIASTS will be able to attend a series of Heritage Open Days in Hinckley and throughout the borough this September.

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of culture and history that takes place over two consecutive weekends starting Thursday 12 September until Sunday 15 September and continuing Friday 20 September until Sunday 22 September.

The scheme aims to open up access and insight to buildings not generally seen by the general public and includes a wide range of guided walking tours and exhibitions, events and activities that will appeal to families and history enthusiasts alike.

The theme of this year’s Heritage Open Days is ‘People Power’; Then, Now, Always, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre and highlights the ways in which local communities have created positive change through the power of people.

During the festival, a blue plaque will be unveiled in Baines Lane, Hinckley to commemorate John Sketchley who was a champion of the cause of the framework knitters in Hinckley when they were suffering social distress. The unveiling will take place at 11am on Saturday 14 September and everyone is welcome to attend.

Greg Drozdz, local historian and Vice Chairman of Hinckley & District Museum said:

The Heritage Open days are one of the best opportunities we have to explore, discover and celebrate our local heritage. With places open to go and see and knowledgeable guides at the venues, what better way to immerse yourself in all that is so colourful from our past and is just on our doorstep. Everyone should be encouraged to take part in Heritage Open Days.

Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, Tourism and Town Centres at the Borough Council, Councillor Keith Nichols said:

I am very pleased to see this event return for two weekends this year. Hinckley and Bosworth has so much history and culture to offer and the festival provides an interesting insight to the history of our older buildings and the opportunity to have a really good look around many of them, while exploring our borough at the same time.

Events include 

The Atkins Heritage Tour: Saturday 14 September
Starting at 10:30am at Hinckley and District Museum in Lower Bond Street. This free heritage event begins with a guided tour around the 17th century framework knitters' cottages with museum curator Phillip Lindley highlighting the connection between the cottages and the Atkins family.

The tour then moves to the Atkins Building, former hosiery factory built by the Atkins family and now home to the Hansom Cab. Business Centre Principal Officer Rebecca Wilbur will be guiding visitors around what is reputed to have been one of the world’s largest hosiery factories and focusing on the family's industrial past as well as showing visitors the newly restored Hansom Cab which is on display in the Atkins Gallery.

The final part of the tour will take place in the Great Meeting Chapel with Hugh Beavin, who will explore the reasons why the Atkins family chose the chapel as their place of worship. The tour will end at around 12.45pm.

Refreshments are available during the day. The Atkins Building offers full wheelchair access and there is partial wheelchair access available at the other two sites. Booking is essential. To book a place email info@atkinsbuilding.co.uk or call 01455 247070

Other opportunities to explore and learn more about historic buildings and sites in the area include

St James’s Church, Sutton Cheney: Thursday 12 September to Sunday 15 September and Friday 20 September to Sunday 22 September, open 9am until dusk. 
Grade II listed 13th Century church with fine box pews and a memorial to King Richard III, who is said to have heard his last Mass here before the Battle of Bosworth.

St Peter’s Church, Higham on the Hill: Thursday 12 September to Sunday 15 September and Friday 20 September to Sunday 22 September, open during daylight hours. 
Grade II listed church with several stained glass windows and a Norman tower. Includes memorials to the Fisher family, including former parish Rector Geoffrey Fisher who became Archbishop of Canterbury and crowned Queen Elizabeth in 1953.

St Peter’s Church, Witherley: Friday 13 September to Sunday 20 September, 10am until 4pm. 
Grade I listed early C14 church. Features include remnants of beautiful medieval stained glass windows. Refreshments and church tours will be available on Wednesday 18 September from 10:30am to 12 noon.

St Margaret’s Church, Stoke Golding: Saturday 14 September 10am to 5pm and  Sunday 15 September, 1pm until 5pm.
There will be a display featuring three people connected with Stoke Golding who by their actions enabled people to have more power over their own lives. Visitors will be able to walk around this Grade 1 Listed 800 year old church.

Hansom Cab in the Atkins Gallery: Thursday 12 to Friday 13 September and Thursday 19 to Friday 20 September, 9am to 4:30pm
As well as taking part in the Atkins Heritage Tour, the newly restored Hansom Cab takes pride of place in the Atkins Gallery in the Atkins building. The historic cab was returned by its restorer, Adrian Lander, who spent eight months restoring the cab to its original condition. Joseph Hansom developed, tested and patented the Hansom cab in Hinckley in 1834 before it went on to become one of the most popular forms of transport during the 1800s.

Hinckley and District Museum: Friday 13 to Sunday 15 September and Friday 20 to Sunday 22 September
As well as taking part in the Atkins Heritage Tour, Hinckley & District Museum will be open during Heritage Open Days with their usual admission fee waived. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm Fridays and Saturdays and 2pm to 5pm Sundays.

St Mary’s Church, Hinckley Tower Tours: Friday 13 to Saturday 14 September and Friday 20 to Saturday 21 September
St Mary’s Church is offering visitors aged 16 and over the chance to climb the church tower and see the clock and carillon. You must be able to climb 50 steep steps. Places are strictly limited and pre-booking is essential. To apply for a slot contact Geoff Fuller on 07890 327286

The Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Baines Lane, Hinckley: Saturday 14 September
The other partner in the Atkins Heritage Tour will also be open for visitors from 10am to 4pm. The first non-conformist building in the town, the Chapel dates from 1722.

Castle Street, Hinckley: Saturdays 14 and 21 September
There will be a pop up exhibition on People Power linked to the borough by Hinckley District Past and Present, a children’s history trail with prizes for participants and a period re-enactor in full 1800s regalia. Visitors can also take part in the Hinckley BID’s child friendly Hinckley History Trail by simply picking up a free copy of the trail map.

Desford, St Martin’s Church: Saturday 14 September
Grade II* listed C13 church with many interesting and historic features open from 10am to 6pm. Includes a Century of Stories display. Refreshments are available.

Barton in the Beans Baptist Church: Saturday 21 September
Grade II listed chapel. The original chapel, founded in 1745, was closely associated with Samuel Deacon (1746-1816), the famous clockmaker of the village. The chapel museum will be open from 10:30am until 4pm.

And for those who love motor heritage, Hinckley BID are holding their 9th annual Motor Show throughout Hinckley town centre on Sunday 15 September from 10:30am to 4pm which is free to attend. Last year’s event attracted more than 800 vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

All events are free to attend, booking required only where stated.

Find out more on our website and download the heritage booklet which contains all the dates and locations of Heritage Open Days events.