Heritage Open Days

Published Friday, 11 September 2020

FAMILIES AND HISTORY ENTHUSIASTS will be able to take part in a series of special activities that have been organised to mark Heritage Open Days in Hinckley and the wider borough this September. 

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of culture and history that takes place from Friday 11 to Sunday 20 September. 

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

However, in order to offer a Covid-secure experience for heritage enthusiasts this year, the Heritage Open Days (HODs) programme will comprise a mix of in-person and digital activities; communities will be able to celebrate the stories of the places and spaces that are important to them while staying safe and adhering to current social distancing measures.

The Borough Council will be offering visitors the chance to watch birds of prey in action as part of a falconry display, as well as a fletching display, where you will get to see real arrows being made, both displays to take place on Sunday 20 September in Argents Mead from 10am. No booking is necessary for this Covid-secure free outdoor event as Event Stewards will ensure social distancing is observed. Those attending are asked to sit or stand with members of their household or bubble up to a maximum of six people and only to attend if feeling well. Hand sanitising stations will also be available and a requirement to complete Track and Trace information. Further guidelines will be displayed on posters in the Mead.

There will also be an online exhibition (atkinsbuilding.co.uk) courtesy of the Atkins Building as well as the opportunity to visit some historic local churches in person.

Meanwhile, Greg Drozdz of Hinckley & District Museum and Paul Gardner of Hinckley District Past & Present, who both share a lifelong interest in the heritage of the town, have collaborated on a 19 minute film called ‘Welcome to Historic Hinckley’ which brings to life the early origins of the town through to the present day.  

Greg Drozdz, local historian and Trustee of Hinckley & District Museum, who writes and narrates the film explained:

The film tells the story of how the first settlers came to Hinks Lea before progressing to the story of Hinckley Castle and church before featuring local town personalities such as Joseph Hansom of Hansom Cab fame, pioneering Doctor Robert Chessher and Brewer William Bass. Then those that lived close to town like Ada Lovelace from Kirby Mallory and George Fox from Fenny Drayton. Eventually the film moves into present day Hinckley and the changes that have taken place in more recent times.

The film (hdpp.co.uk) is available online for free.

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 this year and excited by the potential of the digital experiences and I’m looking forward to watching the film that Greg and Paul have worked so hard to produce. Hinckley and Bosworth has so much history and culture to offer and the digital access will allow so many more people to learn more about our heritage and history regardless of where they are in the country.

Other activities include:  

  • The Atkins Building online exhibition
    • Then and Now - An online photographic exhibition of The Atkins Building’s transformation, documenting the journey from Victorian hosiery factory to the mixed use creative and business centre it is today
    • The focus of the exhibition will be its transformation from derelict industrial site to the modern mixed use it has today
    • The exhibition (atkinsbuilding.co.uk) can be viewed online
  • St Margaret’s Church, Stoke Golding – open daily 
    • Come and find out how this beautiful church has contributed to the life of Stoke Golding over the centuries. Marvel at the tell tale signs which past centuries have left on this iconic medieval building so enabling us to tell this story. Visitors will be able to walk around this Grade I Listed 800 year old church and spacious churchyard. No booking is required 
  • Desford, St Martin’s Church – Saturday 12 September
    • Grade II star listed thirteenth century church with many interesting and historic features open from 10am to 6pm.  A database of all gravestones in the church and churchyard is being compiled. A lift is available for wheelchair and pushchair users. No booking is required