Dudley digitally throws open its doors for Heritage Open Day
Nine key heritage buildings in Dudley town centre will be virtually throwing open their doors to the public as part of Heritage Open Day from Friday 11 September.
There will also be a series of online tours and walks in Brierley Hill from Saturday 12 to Sunday 20 September.
The events are a celebration of the country’s architecture and culture, where venues not usually open to the public allow access.
This year, due to Covid 19, several of Dudley town’s key buildings will be taking part using digital technology. Nine short films will enable online visitors to discover the hidden treasures lying within.
Within the civic quadrant, virtual visitors will view the council chamber where important decisions are made, visit the Town Hall including the rarely seen Hans Feibusch Mural and drop in on the largely unchanged Coroner’s Court, which retains its original fittings and furnishings. People can also look behind the portcullis doors of the old police buildings, access the Memorial Tower and former Brooke Robinson Museum.
Further afield within Dudley, visitors will also be able to see Brierley Hill Civic Hall, Grade II listed Crown Public House, step back in time to get a taste of past policing at the Old Police Station and then have a rare behind the scenes peek into well-known places of worship, including the ancient ‘Top’ and ‘Bottom’ churches and Dudley’s Catholic Church.
A historical tour of Brierley Hill, inviting people to make their own sketches, can be downloaded from the free izi.travel@NT app. Starting at the library, the tour takes in many of the historical buildings including the water fountain, the market, St Mary’s Catholic Church, Marsh Park, the war memorial, St Michael’s Church, the former technical school and library and the Civic Hall. People can post their sketches at #BrierleyHillSketch
Two Brierley Hill walks have been produced by botanical expert Pamela Smith stating in Marsh Park, telling the story of 30 plants. The walks each take about an hour at an easy pace.
In Brierley Hill, people can take part in a nature photography competition using #BrierleyHillHOD and listen to music from Brierley Hill’s historic buildings and share their pictures using #BrierleyHillDawn.
There will be an online tour featuring the historic treasures held at Brierley Hill library including a fine collection of artefacts, old images and maps illuminating the town’s history. There are also a number of online virtual tours of places of worship in Brierley Hill with St John’s Brockmoor, Brierley Hill Mosque, St Mary’s Catholic Church and Brierley Hill Methodist Church all being available.
Cllr Ian Kettle, cabinet member for planning and economic development said:
This year has been a challenge, due to Covid 19, but rather than cancelling the event we used it as an opportunity.
Dudley borough has a very proud heritage and many historically important buildings, and it is important we capture the information while possible and this year’s filming has certainly allowed us to do this. This is a real treat for anyone interested in our rich architectural heritage.
These buildings and spaces usually have the disruption of people, but the pandemic enabled us to film while empty. We have got up close and personal with the fabric of the buildings, showcasing little gems not usually easily recognisable, such as the Dorothy Round message etched into the windows at the Council House.
Dudley’s films and accompanying leaflets, are available to view online at www.dudleyheritageopendays.org.uk for the duration of the celebration from 11 September.
St Edmunds Church will be open on 19 September and will be ensuring that social distancing guidelines are followed by visitors.
For more information on Brierley Hill activities and tours people can visit brierleyhill.net.
Heritage Open Days is a scheme that encourages owners of historically important buildings to open them free of charge to the public. For more details go to www.heritageopendays.org.uk . It is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Dudley Townscape Heritage programme.