Welcome to the Heritage Open Days blog from Norwich HEART. Here you will find exclusive information and advice on booking, events and all the other activity going on in and around Norwich over the Heritage Open Days 2012 weekend.
Who do you think you are? Have you ever been tempted to look into your ancestry? During Heritage Open Days the Norfolk Family History Society are showcasing the great work they do on a day-to-day basis to help the public build their family trees. The Society is run by a dedicated team of volunteers, and each visitor is guaranteed a warm welcome and friendly advice.
The Society is based in Kirby Hall on St. Giles Street. The building houses a wealth of well organised records and plenty of space to sit down and make sense of the contents. There are also computer systems, which are easy to use and help you find a tiny piece of information to help trigger an enthralling ancestry project.
The volunteers are on hand to show you the ropes and share their experiences. Pop in during the Heritage Open Days (Thursday to Sunday 10:00-16:00). More information on the Norfolk Family History Society can be found on their website (http://www.norfolkfhs.org.uk).
There are still a lot of tickets available for the St Peter Mancroft: Ringing Chamber event. High up in the belfry a team off ringers from the Church's guild are eager to pass on their passion for their unique pastime. The talk and demonstration provides a fascinating insight into the mountains of effort that are required to create the sounds that are all so familiarly heard on Sunday mornings.
The St Peter Mancroft Church has a proud claim to fame within bell ringing quarters; the first peal took place within the Tower walls in 1715. This accolade is commemorated amongst others by the inscribed boards that adorn the inners walls. The difficulty of achieving a peal, a five-thousand strong change-ringing pattern of chimes, is put into perspective by the puzzlingly difficult patterns that are explained with outstanding passion.
If, like myself, you do not know your trebles from your tenors you will leave the chamber feeling enriched with knowledge. The opportunity is there, for those who are up to the challenge, of chiming one of the bells. Once the hour has passed and you have left the chamber you will probably always remember the power created by the intricate ringing mechanism. Some people may become instant experts; can these people please explain to me what a Cambridge Maximus is?
Tickets for this are still available, and there are numerous demonstrations taking place every day, so please check with the Tourist Information Centre in The Forum. Remember to keep following @NorwichHEART on Twitter for the latest and please use hashtag #NorwichHODs to send us your pictures and stories.
The Heritage Open Days are upon us again. As I type there are events underway throughout Norfolk, with visitors soaking in our rich heritage. For those who have been lucky enough to secure tickets the doors will soon be opening behind the modern facades at shops such as Jarrolds, John Lewis and Fat Face. Further afield Gorleston Pavilion prepares to grant backstage access to the Heritage seeking public. These are just a few of the ticketed events taking place this morning across the county.
If you don't have any tickets please do not fret. There are still tickets available; we will be bringing you information regarding ticket availability shortly via our social media outlets. Free tickets can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre in The Forum, which today is also the venue housing the HODs at The Forum event. This is your first stop for finding out more about the weekend's activities and local heritage organisations.
The possession of tickets is not everything, and there are still plenty of drop in activities for those who remain empty handed. Details for all the drop in events can be found in the HOD brochure, a PDF version of which can be found on our website. Alternatively you should hopefully come across some brochure wielding volunteers should you walk around Norwich City Centre at any point during the next few days.
There are numerous events scheduled within the confines of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist today and tomorrow. Opening at 10:30 there will be opportunity all day to take in the Pictures in Glass exhibition, illuminating events from the Bible with descriptions and explanations. Hidden Places tours take place at 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 and give the public the opportunity to visit areas of the Cathedral that are not usually accessible to the public. If you are feeling particularly energetic you can also join one of the Tower Tours (12:00, 13:00, 14:00 and 15:00) to reach the upper climbs of the Cathedral. Lunchtime Organ recitals can be enjoyed from 13:00, essential if you are in need of a rest after climbing all those steps to the top of the tower.
For a relaxing afternoon in the sunshine may we suggest a trip to the Bishop's Garden? Bishop's Garden is located in Bishopsgate, just off Palace Plain near the Law Courts and the Adam and Eve pub. The garden has belonged to the Bishops of Norwich for over 900 years, and is not normally open to the public. Having used the Adam and Eve pub as a reference point to help you locate Bishop's Garden this is a good place to mention that you can visit the Adam and Eve to see a short exhibition about the history of the pub and surrounding area. Surely that's a good enough excuse to grab a bite to eat and enjoy an afternoon tipple?
Throughout Thursday and Friday visitors can also drop in to Aviva's UK Head office. Surrey House, one of the Norwich 12, is a grand Edwardian office building containing a magnificent Marble Hall. If like the Aviva employees you are not able to attend daytime events then let me point you in the direction some late starting events. Thursday's events will be brought to a close with an evening of music and poetry presented by St Julian's Church at Jurnet's Bar, Wensum Lodge (19:00). On Friday evening visitors to St Lawrence's Church can enjoy an evening of traditional Norfolk tunes and country dance. The Rig-A-Jig-Jig Evening of Music and Dance begins at 19:30.
On the eve of Heritage Open Days, the Norwich HEART team are busy with final preparations for the weekend ahead. Excitement is brewing for what promises to be a fantastic four days. The Guildhall will soon be filled with enthusiastic volunteers, coming together to play their part in helping the weekend run smoothly. You can look out for us over the course of the weekend, wearing a noticeable shade of pink.
As a recent History graduate, heritage is second nature to me and the fascination always exists in the stories that are hidden within the walls of seemingly anonymous buildings. I remember being presented with a deliberately provocative essay title in my first year of University; 'Heritage is just bad history. Discuss.' Writing a two thousand word defence of the Heritage industry is a novel way to recognise how fortunate we are to have an industry that focuses on ensuring the importance of our links to the past are never underestimated. Getting involved with Heritage Open Days allows me to learn far more about the offerings on my own doorstep.
I have caught up with some of my fellow volunteers to share our views of life in Norfolk. In anticipation of the long weekend ahead, we have been discussing our experiences of heritage.
Like myself, Marion Ridgely is a first time Heritage Open Days volunteer. Having recently suffered from health problems, Marion enjoys seizing the opportunities she has to explore Norfolk's scenery. Even on a rainy day it seems Marion's philosophy is that the great outdoors can still be enjoyed as long as you remember the right gear. Having just checked the weather forecast it looks as though Marion can leave the raincoat at home this weekend - although I should point out that I take no portion of responsibility should this situation change, lest I remind you my degree is in history, not meteorology.
Originally from Penzance, Nikki Twyning first became aware of Norwich's Heritage Open Days two or three years ago and has been enthralled by the activities she has participated in since then including last year's behind-the-scenes talk at the Archive Centre. Nikki has volunteered this year as she hopes to help the Open Days go "from strength to strength for all the people of Norwich".
Catherine Bullen, a full time photographer who studied in Cambridge, will be providing us with fantastic images from some of Saturday's events. Catherine is looking forward to seeing people enjoying the heritage on offer across the day. Her earliest heritage memories are of accompanying her father to postcard fairs where he collected old postcards of Downham Market. There is a fascination in seeing how the town has changed over the years.
So tickets at the ready, not long to go now. If you don't have any tickets yet, or feel you need more, then these are available right up until 3pm on Sunday at the Forum TIC. Please remember that even if you do not get your hands on any tickets there are still plenty of drop-in events to attend throughout the weekend. Keep an eye on this blog and the Twitter and Facebook feeds for all the updates and information you need to make your weekend of heritage enjoyment complete.
There's less than a week to go until Heritage Open Days are upon us. Demand has unfortunately outnumbered the limits we have to place on the tours of the Great Hospital, Curat House and Carrow Abbey. However, there are still plenty of tickets available across a variety of activities and locations.
As a comedy fanatic, one of my favourite Norwich locations is the Norwich Playhouse. I have been to comedy gigs in numerous locations across the country, but for me there is nowhere quite like the Playhouse. Comedians seem to agree with the venue attracting some of the best talent our shores have to offer. At a recent gig I remember Tim Vine expressing his love for the building with its fantastic exposed brickwork. If you would like to learn more about the history and architecture of the 300 seat capacity theatre then book now for the short tours taking place on Thursday 6th & Friday 7th September.
Boardman House is an example of a fine 19th Century building, designed by the eminent Norwich architect Edward Boardman. Tours are still available on Friday 7th September. Staying within the City's walls, whether you consider yourself a campanologist or not, the opportunity to learn the art of bell ringing does not come along all that often. The St Peter Mancroft bell ringing chamber is opening up for demonstrations across the whole weekend.
Further afield there are also still tickets available for Houseboat Heather in Hoveton (Thursday-Sunday), Francis Cupiss (Thursday & Friday) in Diss and for Heritage Walks in Dereham (Saturday only).
From Monday 3rd September tickets will be available in person only from the Tourist Information Centre in The Forum. Any returned tickets will also be available from there. Throughout the weekend ticket and event information will also be provided via our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
After weeks of stormy weather, summer has finally arrived as scorching temperatures reached Norfolk last weekend. Everyone has their favourite place to spend a sunny afternoon, and our county is blessed with a great variety of options. While many may have flocked to busy thrills of Great Yarmouth, there are hundreds of unique thrills that you may be yet to experience. Personally, I enjoyed a stroll along the seafront in Gorleston, before retiring to a chilled beverage in the picturesque confines of The Ferry Inn at Stokesby. Long may summer last!
Fingers crossed then that come the second weekend of September we are still enjoying the glorious sunshine, although I wouldn't stockpile the sun lotion (just in case). Even if the sun doesn't shine there will be plenty to enjoy over the Heritage Open Day weekend. But just for a minute let's allow ourselves to consider the best activities for a sun-filled HOD weekend.
What better way to start your weekend than with a Saturday morning stroll around Thetford, led by local historian David Osborne? Meeting at the Charles Burrell museum at 10:30am you will be taken on a Guided Walk of Thetford's Industrial Trail. Once you are suitably in need of refreshments and a break there is then the option to take a breather in the stunning surroundings of the King's House Gardens. Open from noon until 16:00 you are invited to a celebration of Anglo-Sikh heritage, including the opportunity to partake in Bhangra dancing.
The coast awaits on Sunday with a trip to Great Yarmouth, but there is no need to spend the whole day on the beach. There is entertainment on hand to brighten up your day without the need to spend any of those well earned 2p coins. Refer to page 38 of your HODs brochure, available online, for details of all the events being staged in and around Great Yarmouth.
So while we cannot promise sunshine, we can promise a unique insight into the hidden wonders of Norfolk.
With the Olympics sadly over, all eyes now look towards the beginning of September, and your golden opportunity to experience some of the best treasures Norfolk has to offer, as booking opens for the Heritage Open Days. If you haven't already got your hands on a copy of this year's brochure you can download a PDF version here. Every event offers unique cultural insight, and we would highly recommend all 216 of them. However, here are five events we have handpicked to highlight:
1) New this year!
This building originally formed part of the outer cloister of the monastic complex around Norwich Cathedral, including the infirmerer's camera.
Tours on Saturday 1100 & 1300
2) New this year!
This bookshop specialises in rare/out of print/used East Anglian books. Tour of the building and a talk about the different businesses that have traded from it.
Tours on Thursday and Friday at 1100 and Saturday at 1400
3) New this year!
Learn about the rise and decline of the textile industries in Norwich and Ghent from Strangers' Hall curator Cathy Tate and guest speaker Ann Van Nieuwenhuyse from the Museum of Industrial Archaeology and Textiles in Ghent.
Lecture on Thursday at 1800
Medieval parish church in central Norwich. One of the most famous towers in the history of ringing. First peal ever rung there in 1715. Ringing demonstration. Opportunity to chime a bell.
Bookings available for Thursday at 1130, 1330, 1430 & 1900. Friday at 1030, 1130, 1330 & 1430. Saturday at 1030, 1130, 1330, 1430 & 1800. Sunday at 1130.
We are a 300 seat theatre open for shows all year round, and one of East Anglia's most modern performance venues. During the Heritage Open Days we offer 30-40 minute backstage tours.
Tours on Thursday & Friday at 1130 & 1330
Remember that some events can be extremely popular, and may be restricted to limited attendance figures. It is essential that you book early to avoid disappointment. Booking has never been easier, as you can now book via email. For more information on this please visit http://www.heritagecity.org/hods.
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