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Heritage Open Days returning to borough

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Some of Dudley borough’s most interesting and historical buildings will be offering events and online tours from next weekend, as part of the national Heritage Open Day events.

Dudley Council is working with partners to showcase buildings across the borough that might not typically be open to the public from 9 to 18 September, with this year’s theme ‘Astounding Inventions’ being widely promoted.

Twelve key heritage buildings in Dudley town will offer virtual tours including Former St Edmund’s School (now Dudley Mosque), Priory House, the former Dudley School of Art and Free Library, Dudley Town Hall, Coroner’s Court, Old Police Buildings, Memorial Tower and the former Brooke Robinson Museum, Crown Public House, Old Police Station and three churches.

The tours can be viewed at www.dudleyheritageopendays.org.uk from September 10. Downloadable leaflets about the history of the buildings are included, which have been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Dudley Townscape Heritage Programme.

In-person tours will also be available at several buildings in the town too. The Coroner’s Court will be open where there will be a display about the Growing up in Dudley project.

There will be an event at Top Church on Saturday 10 from 11am to 3pm, where people can learn about the Harper and Bean families who built Bean Cars. Also on the same date, Bottom Church is set to offer guided tours from 11am to 2pm and St James’ Church, located at Eve Hill, is opening its doors from 10am to 3pm.

In the centre of town, the former Crown Public House, on Wolverhampton Street, and Priory House, on Priory Road, will be open on Saturday 10 September between 10am to 4pm.

At the top of the town the former Co-op, Provision House, will be hosting behind the scenes tours and talks to mark the 150th anniversary of the Dudley Co-operative Society, culminating in a birthday cake cutting at 3pm. Dudley Zoo and Castle is also taking part on Thursday 15 and Friday 16.

A number of other activities and events are taking place in Brierley Hill, Stourbridge and Halesowen. People can find full details at www.heritageopendays.org.uk where all participants register the building/event.

Other borough buildings opening their doors include the Church of St Augustine of Hippo in Holly Hall, St John’s Church in Brockmoor. In Brierley Hill the three churches of St Mary’s, St Michael’s and Albion Street will be open along with the events being hosted at Brierley Hill Market. St Peter’s Church in Cradley will be open hosting a Teddy Bear parachute jump, and in Stourbridge, the Quaker meeting house, Stourbridge Glass Museum and St Peter’s Church in Pedmore will be open.

There will be self-guided trails available of the key architectural sites in the town centres which can be also downloaded on-line at www.discoverdudley.org.uk/walking-trails

Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

Dudley Council is working with our partners and community groups to encourage the organisation of Heritage Open Day events in the borough.
As well as the virtual tours of some of the borough’s most fascinating and historic buildings, we are also pleased to be able to see more in-person events being arranged this year.
In addition, we will be celebrating some of the history behind our much-loved local businesses across social media and their links to the Astounding Inventions theme.

Heritage Open Days is a scheme that encourages owners of historically important buildings to open them free of charge to the public. It is supported by the National Trust and the People’s Postcode Lottery and promotes the historic environment of the borough.

For more information about the Dudley Townscape Heritage Scheme visit: https://www.dudley.gov.uk/residents/planning/historic-environment/historic-buildings-and-structures/heritage-led-regeneration/dudley-townscape-heritage-programme/

For more information about Growing up in Dudley visit www.facebook.com/DudleyPeoplesArchive, the Facebook group ‘Growing Up in Dudley’ and on Instagram look for @dudley_peoples_archive

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