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Chance for a free look at our hidden history
HERITAGE lovers can see some of the region’s hidden history for nothing this week.
Venues all over the North- East and North Yorkshire will open their doors from Thursday to Sunday during the national Heritage Open Days scheme.
Many of the attractions taking part will offer visitors a look behind the scenes, with access to areas usually closed to the public.
In County Durham, people can visit the new home of the George Elmy lifeboat at Seaham , explore Harehope Quarry, in Weardale , which provided the Frosterley marble used in Durham Cathedral, or take a hard hat tour of Grade II-listed Lartington Hall, near Barnard Castle , which is undergoing restoration.
The strong rooms at Durham County Record Office, the Mayor’s Chamber at Durham Town Hall and Durham University’s colleges will all be open.
High House Chapel, in Ireshopeburn, Weardale, which was at the centre of an extraordinary rise of Methodism in the North Pennines during the 18th Century, will take part in the event, alongside the adjoining Weardale Museum.
Grade I-listed 13th Century St Mary’s Church, in Gainford, near Darlington, will offer tower and belfry visits during an open weekend.
There will be a guided tour of Westbrook Villas, in Darlington, built for middle-class Victorians who were pivotal in the development of railways, education and art in the town.
Darlington Civic Theatre and Darlington library, in Crown Street, will also give visitors a look behind the scenes.
In North Yorkshire, Linton Falls hydro-electric power station, near Grassington, will stage tours on Thursday and Friday, while Starbeck Baths, in Harrogate , will also be taking part in the scheme.
In Middlesbrough, highlights will include a guided walk around the town conservation area on Friday and, on Saturday, there will be a magical history bus tour and a chance to climb the Transporter Bridge.
Ros Evans, Durham County Council’s heritage outreach and learning officer, said: “Each year, Heritage Open Days gets bigger and better.
“Once again, there really is something for all ages and interests, so we would encourage everyone to get out and about and make the most of this fantastic event.”
Community groups and volunteers will run many of the sessions and offer guided tours at some venues.
Anyone interested is advised to check with individual venues or visit the website heritageopendays.org.uk for details, because dates, times and booking arrangements vary.
Small charges may apply to some activities.