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Published on July 25th, 2018 | by Perrin


Heritage Open Days

This year’s Heritage Open Days takes place for the first time over two weeks from 6th – 9th and 13th – 16th September, in and around Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area.

There are approximately 40 events participating, giving visitors an ideal opportunity to visit some unique local buildings, to hear some fascinating talks by knowledgeable speakers on the social and architectural history of the area, as well as going on a series of interesting guided walks. Several of the events also have activities for children.

There are many new events for this year, as well as those that have participated in past years. Bell ringing at St. Peter’s Church in Tunbridge Wells should prove to be popular. There may be an opportunity for visitors to try the art for themselves, and with a limited number of spaces, booking is essential.

Salomon’s museum will be open with guided tours of the building. The home of the famous Salomons family, numbering amongst them the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London, and a pioneer in the field of electricity, the telephone, photography, and the motor car, this is a wonderful attraction.

The archivist of Salomons museum, Dr Chris Jones, will also be giving a talk at The Royal Wells Inn on the early residents of Calverley Terrace and Parade (which were located on the site of the present library, museum, Town Hall and Assembly Hall). These original buildings were designed by the architect, Decimus Burton, as part of the Calverley New Town development in the early 1800s and formed an important part of the town at the time.

Decimus Burton is represented again at Mabledon, his childhood home, which will be open, and the Trinity Arts Theatre, another of his church designs. Decimus Burton is gaining recognition as one of the countries leading architects of the nineteenth century, and a national Decimus Burton Society is currently being set up, so undoubtedly, his buildings and work will attract plenty of attention.

As in previous years, there are many churches that will be opening their doors and hosting exhibitions. For those interested in stained glass, St. Mary’s in Speldhurst has windows by William Morris and Edward Burne Jones, while All Saints in Tudeley is the only church in the world to have all its 12 windows designed by the famous Russian artist, Marc Chagall. Amongst the other places of worship are several ancient churches, and the Masjid-Al-Noor Mosque in Camden Rd, which proved to be very popular last year.

Children will undoubtedly find the Trinity Arts Theatre fascinating, with the opportunity to see behind the scenes and try on costumes. The beautiful Cranbrook Museum and the unique Cranbrook Union Mill will also provide them with plenty to see and do. There is also a self guided tour based on the Civic Society’s recent publication “The Writing on the Wall”, which describes the lives of some of the famous and more colourful residents of the town. Activity packs for children can be obtained through the society’s website ( www.tunbridgeheritageopendays.org ). Although the houses themselves are not open, it is an ideal opportunity to see where these famous people lived.

The Masonic Temple will be opening its doors to a fascinating aspect of one of the town’s prominent institutions, whilst in the town, there will be an “Inspiring Women Walking Trail” to celebrate the year of extraordinary women.

These are just a few of the events. To find out more and to book tours, visit the website www.tunbridgewellsheritageopendays.org .

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