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Hidden cultural treasures and historic venues are being opened up to visitors for a series of free events to honour Stoke-on-Trent’s heritage.

Published: Thursday, 18th August 2022

Between 9-18 September, residents and visitors will have the unique chance to access events and properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. And building on last

Hidden cultural treasures and historic venues are being opened up to visitors for a series of free events to honour Stoke-on-Trent’s heritage.

Between 9-18 September, residents and visitors will have the unique chance to access events and properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. And building on last year's successful debut, there will also be online and self-guided events too.

Since 1994, Heritage Open Days has been England's contribution to the European Heritage Days and has since grown into the country's largest community heritage festival. Across the city, there will be the usual chance to discover fantastic architecture and enjoy a wide range of events and activities that bring local history and culture to life. The city's brilliant museums will be taking part and we will be focusing on our unique industrial heritage with a range of events that feature Stoke-on-Trent’s iconic bottle ovens.

There will be outdoor events too, with plenty of guided walks and tours, and chance to find out more about our canals and green spaces.

As part of this year’s programme, residents can discover Wedgwood’s ingenious innovations on their themed tour through the V&A Wedgwood Collection, taking people through Josiah Wedgwood’s experiments in the 18th century all the way to the current factory in Barlaston.

On 9 September, Gladstone Pottery Museum will be open to the public free of charge. Visitors can experience what conditions were like for the men, women, and children who worked at the centre of the world’s pottery industry. See the Tile Gallery featuring one of the best decorative tile collections in the country and ‘Flushed with Pride’ a remarkable gallery dedicated to the history of the toilet.

On 11 September, the Potteries Heritage Society will be exploring the work of millwright and canal engineer, James Brindley, who set the blueprint for the canals of the eighteenth century and the emerging industrial revolution. People can discover how the dimensions of the narrow canals and narrowboats were forged in The Potteries. Also on Sunday, the Regent Theatre will offer residents the chance to look behind the scenes of a working theatre! Activities include backstage tours, technical demonstrations and workshops.

On Thursday 15 September, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery will be hosting a Battle of Britain Day, which will include talks and tours of the stunning Spitfire Gallery. The Museum will also have afternoon tours on Saturday 17 September. Join Curator, Joseph Perry, for a tour of the Spitfire Gallery.

On both weekends of the festival, Chatterley Whitfield Colliery is hosting open weekends (booking essential).

There will also be events at Stoke Minster, the wonderful Bethesda Chapel, and Ceramic City Stories. Families can also take to the roads, paths and canals as part of guided tours championing the area’s history.

For these events and more, visitors can search the online directory at www.heritageopendays.org.uk or go to www.stoke.gov.uk/heritageopendays.

Councillor Dean Richardson, the city council’s heritage champion, said: “This is such an amazing opportunity to take part in activities that bring local history and culture to life. Our city has some truly inspirational venues that tell the story of Stoke-on-Trent’s rich heritage and of course the astounding inventions that we are famous for.

 “Heritage Open Days bring these often-hidden treasures to life for people who might never have experienced them. For example, visitors can get a unique chance to visit Chatterley Whitfield Colliery, which closed in 1977 and became a museum.”

 “We’re delighted that so many venues are taking part and embracing new ideas to enable residents to discover our hidden gems.   I’d especially like to say a big thank you to The Heritage Network for organising such a fantastic range of events and Potteries Heritage Society for their support.”

 

Danny Callaghan, chair of the Stoke-on-Trent Heritage Network, said: “Since launching the network in early 2018, we have been encouraging heritage and cultural venues across the city to participate in Heritage Open Days, and I know that people won’t be disappointed with the fantastic range of events celebrating this years’ festival.  I’m delighted that so many places are opening their doors and sharing their wonderful venues, and would like to thank everyone who makes this possible - including members of our organising committee and the venue staff and volunteers. I would encourage residents to embrace the opportunities to visit some of our iconic buildings – and learn how our astounding inventions have shaped not just the city, but the country.”

Andy Perkin, secretary of the Stoke-on-Trent Heritage Network, added: “Our brilliant network members have been meeting regularly to build an exciting and diverse programme of events to span the full 10-day festival. I’m pleased to say that we have a wide range of physical events for people to enjoy and explore – from beautiful places of worship, to historic potteries and our stunning museums.
And at a time when residents are concerned about the cost of living crisis, I’m so pleased to confirm that all events are free. We are supported by an amazing bunch of dedicated and extremely knowledgeable people who love sharing their expertise, inspiring others and celebrating our wonderful city, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors to our venues.”

**this year’s festival will launch on Thursday 25 August at Stoke Minster. At 12:00, visitors will be able to find out about all of the upcoming events in Stoke-on-Trent.**

For these events and more, visitors can search the online directory at www.potteries.org.uk/heritageopendays;  at www.heritageopendays.org.uk or go to www.stoke.gov.uk/heritageopendays.

This year the Heritage Open Days festival takes place between 9-18 September

This year’s theme is perfect for Stoke-on-Trent’s rich industrial history: 'Astounding Inventions'

 

The exciting programme is below:

Themes: A=Astounding Inventions; B=Bottle Ovens.       P=Pre-booking required     O=Online Event

 

Fri 9 Sep

Secret Museum  Window Display

1000-1500  A

Secret Museum Virtual Open Doors

1100   P

Gladstone Pottery Museum

1000-1700  B

Guided tour of the V&A Wedgwood Collection

1430  A  P

Oliver Lodge:

Scientist & Spiritualist

1400   A

 

 

Sat 10 Sep

Secret Museum Window Display

1000-1300  A

 

 

Stoke Minster

1000-1400

 

Middleport Pottery: Duchess in Steam

1100-1500  A  B

 In With The New - Kidsgrove Innovations

1100  A

 

Chatterley Whitfield

1000-1600  A  P

Secret Museum Open Doors

1100  A

 

Bethesda Chapel

1200-1400

recital at 1445

Shirleys Mill in Steam

1030-1630  B

Potteries Tile Trail Love Letters Walk

1400  P

 

St Mark's Church Shelton

1100-1500

Sun 11 Sep 

Exploring James Brindley's Narrow Canals

1000  A  B  P

Middleport Pottery:      Duchess in Steam

1100-1500 A  B

Chatterley Whitfield

1000-1600  A  P

 Historic          Longton Walk

1400  B  P

 

Regent Theatre Open Day

1000-1600  P

Shirleys Mill in Steam

1030-1630  B

Ford Green Hall

1100-1500  A

Mon 12 Sep

 

Phoenix Works

1100-1630  B 

 

 

 

 

Tue 13 Sep 

 

 In With The New - Kidsgrove Innovations

1100  A

 

Exploring Charles Lynam's Stoke

1400  P

 

 

 

Wed 14 Sep 

 

 

 150 Years in the Making at Moorcroft

1030-1630  A  B  P

A Century of Innovation in the Ceramic Industry

1400  A  B 

 

Bedson, Brindley & Watt

1900  A

Thu 15 Sep

Secret Museum Window Display

1000-1500  A

 

150 Years in the Making at Moorcroft

1030-1630  A  B  P

Battle of Britain Day

Talk 1400, tours 1500 & 1600  A  P

 Bedson, Brindley & Watt

1430  A

Exploring Josiah Spode's Stoke
1630  A  B  P

Fri 16 Sep

Secret Museum Window Display

1000-1500  A

Secret Museum Virtual Open Doors

1100  O  P 

150 Years in the Making at Moorcroft

1030-1630  A  B  P

Salt, Pepper & Vinegar Bottle Ovens

1300-1700  B

Guided tour of the V&A Wedgwood Collection

1430  A  P

R J Mitchell - The Man Behind the Spitfire

1915  A

Sat 17 Sep

Secret Museum Window Display

1000-1300

 

Trentham Through Time

1000-1600

Dudson Museum 150th Aniversary 

1100-1500  A  B

 

Chatterley Whitfield

1000-1600  A  P

Secret Museum

Open Doors

1100  A  P

 

Heritage Photo Walk, Longton

1100  P

 

Our Lady of the Angels & St Peter in Chains

1200-1700

Exploring Arnold Machin's Stoke

1400  P

 

Spitfire

- Afternoon Tours

1400 & 1500   A   P

Bethesda Chapel

1200-1500

 

Trentham's War

1100-1600

 

Medical Mysteries & Scientific Wonders

1100, 1330 & 1500  A  P

 

Unitarian Meeting House

1030-1530

 

St Margaret's Draycott: Ancient Tombs & Dragons

1000-1600

Sun 18 Sep

Chatterley Whitfield 

1000-1600  A  P

Our Lady of the Angels & St Peter in Chains

1200-1700

Ford Green Hall

1100-1500  A

Hanley Park

1100-1300