Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open days is an opportunity to visit and celebrate England's architecture or culture with free admission or access to places normally closed to the public. This is for four days in September. I learned about it from a home educators online group. I have to say that the website makes it easy to find things in your area. You can sort by town or by postal code. There were 57 events in our town and I am sure a number more in the surrounding area.

I selected places to visit based on location and what looked interested.

Endcliffe Hall one of the largest private residences here was just a few miles away. We have driven past it numerous times but didn't know it. We thought it would be an opportunity to learn a bit of local history.

Endcliffe Hall was built by John Brown who later became Sir John Brown. He was know as the Father of the South Yorkshire Iron Trade.

The tour began on the outside and we noticed how on the right side of the house it was very decorated and the left side was plain. No, he didn't run out of money, the left side was the kitchen and other staff areas and just didn't need to be as fancy.

The house was built in 1863 to 1865. It has been through some changes but the fireplaces are the original.

We went inside and saw about three rooms. In 1914 the house was sold to the Territorial Army and has been a TA Centre since then. The walls were filled with paintings from the army.

This gives just a view of how big the entry way was.

You know how good tour guides make even the most boring places exciting as they weave a story and interact with the group. (I am remembering the tour of a mine we did here and how exciting the tour guide made the boat ride down a narrow passage in the dark.) Well, we had a tour guide that gave us the facts. I felt we missed a bit of what we could have learned but we did learn a bit of local history.

The other place that I selected for Heritage Open Days was the Cathedral where they said it was 1000 years of local history in one day.

Here is the cathedral as we walked up the alley toward it.

There was a displace from the Homefires burning. This "soldier" was telling and pointing to where the bombs had landed during WWII. The city was sacrificed in order to keep the steel factories just a mile or two away safe.  My husband loves WWII history and so this was fascinating to him.

J had an opportunity to hold a medieval shield. It was heavy.

As we entered the cathedral we were greeted by a gentleman from the Tudor time. He had a code for the children to solve. They were to help the Earl of Shrewsbury to foil a treacherous plat against Queen Elizabeth. (I wonder if that is a part of true history from this area; I guess I have some research to do.)

It was such a lovely building inside.

There were a number of hands-on things that the kids could do. Miss K made a plaster something and also had a chance to play the handbells.

Here she is all dress like a Victorian child. She would have loved to have worn that the rest of the day.

I am not sure what J did that landed him in the stocks. Really what he did was open the stocks and stick his head in there. He was a bit big and so he couldn't really put his head up.

I was impressed with the hands-on activity. Miss K rolled a beeswax candle.

This was a much better experience and we did enjoy our time there. I am glad that we explored and learned a bit about the local history.

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