Free entry to Tamworth Castle, a guided walk taking in sites of significance in the First World War, wartime stories of Tamworth families and a look at Saxon life are just some of the events at this year’s Heritage Open Day.
The hugely-popular heritage Open Day takes place on Sunday September 14 this year, and sees a large number of Tamworth buildings throwing open their doors to welcome visitors, as well as a whole host of events to honour Tamworth’s rich history and heritage.
Entry to Tamworth Castle will be free for the day, giving visitors the chance to see some of the new displays and improvements, as well as items from the world-famous Staffordshire Hoard. Look out for the Saxon warriors in and around the Castle and grounds.
Visitors to St Editha’s Church will be able to climb the rare double spiral staircase and take part in guided tours of the building. Outside in St Editha’s Square, the Reliant Motor Club will be showing off their display of Reliant vehicles – and members will be only too happy to talk and answer questions about Del Boy’s favourite mode of transport.
A new addition to the programme this year, which is expected to generate a lot of interest, is the guided walking tour which explores the part that Tamworth and its people played in the First World War.
The one-hour tour is led by a registered Green Badge Guide and starts from Tamworth Tourist Information Centre at 2pm. Tickets are free, but booking is essential as demand is expected to be high. Tickets are available from the TIC by calling 01827 709581 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tamworth Ancestral Rescue Club, which helps local people to discover the part their ancestors played in the Great War, will be mounting a display in Tamworth’s historic Town Hall, which will be open from 11am to 4pm.
The Town Hall will also host exhibitions on the Friends of Tamworth Castle, Second World War hero Colin Grazier and the real Enigma heroes, Samuel Parkes VC and the Tamworth Heritage Trust. Music will be supplied by vintage tribute vocal group The Jays, who will be performing under the Town Hall at 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm.
The Mayor’s Parlour in the Town Hall will also be open for viewing when the Mayor, Cllr Richard Kingstone, or Deputy Mayor, Cllr Maureen Gant, is in the building.
Other events taking place throughout the day include:
- Town Crier and a Peeler walking about the town
- Tamworth Masonic Rooms in Lichfield Street open for guided tours from 9.45am to 4pm
- Thomas Guy Almshouses open from 10am to 2pm, with history presentations, tombola, bric-a-brac, home-made jam and cake stall
- Free entry to Middleton Hall between 11am and 4pm. Contact 01827 283095 for more details
- Heritage bus tours, picking up from Corporation Street and taking visitors to Middleton Hall. Ticket only, must be booked in advance from TIC on 01827 709581 or email email@example.com
- St Leonard’s Church in Wigginton open from 1pm to 5pm. Family Communion at 10.30am, all visitors welcome
- Spital Chapel of St James in Wigginton Road open between 11am and 4pm
There is also a free Tamworth Heritage app which can be downloaded at the iTunes store. The app guides visitors around all Tamworth’s fascinating buildings and other interesting features at the touch of a button.
Tamworth Borough Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Rob Pritchard, said: “Heritage Open Day is a fantastic opportunity to explore everything that is great about Tamworth’s history.
“There is something for everyone to enjoy and I would encourage people of all ages to come along and learn more about Tamworth’s fascinating history. I will be visiting the Spital Chapel of St James off Wigginton Road for the first time. It’s a hidden gem dating back to 1274, which many people have never seen.
“There is so much to see, hear or visit – what will you see for the first time?”