Halesworth gets set for first heritage open days

The former Halesworth social club building will be open to the public.

The former Halesworth social club building will be open to the public. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Fifteen buildings in Halesworth will be open to the public this weekend as the town takes part in the Heritage Open Days festival for the first time.

The Cut, Halesworth.

The Cut, Halesworth. - Credit: Archant © 2010

This year marks the 21st year that Heritage Open Days have allowed people to see and visit thousands of places across the country that are usually closed to the public.

And Halesworth will be joining in England’s most popular heritage festival with 15 buildings open including the Grade II listed Magnolia House, Black Dog Antiques (formally Halesworth Social Club) and tours of St Mary’s Church.

Under an initiative by the Halesworth and Blyth Valley Partnership, the open days will take place tomorrow and Sunday, with the theme of Maltings and Breweries - as these figure largely in the history of the town.

The police station on Norwich Road will provide guided tours of the old custody block which is now redundant. There will also be an exhibition on the murder of Police Constable Ebenezer Tye in the town in 1862. His murderer, John ducker, was the last man to be publicly hanged in Suffolk.

And visitors will be able to tour The Old Rectory, which dates from the 15th century, and its extensive garden with lake.

Michael Imison, who is on the Halesworth and Blyth Valley Partnership committee, said: “These open days mean people can see places they are familiar with but never have a chance to see. We’re looking forward to it and it should be fun.”

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The event is already proving popular with all of the original free tickets snapped up for some of the events where numbers are limited.

Fortunately some generous owners have agreed to take extra visitors, and people will have one last chance to gain admission to properties such as the Old Rectory and Magnolia House when the extra tickets are offered to personal applicants at The Cut box office at 10am on the days of admission. Numbers are very limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. People with tickets who are now unable to attend are urged to return them to The Cut.

The majority of events such as the Black Dog, Black Eagle and the Police Station, however, do not require tickets and everyone is welcome.

And another new item added to the line-up will see Ellen McAteer - newly appointed director of the Poetry Trust and the internationally famous Aldeburgh Poetry Festival - at home in the Trust’s offices in The Cut on both days.

Programmes for the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in November will be available, and a special feature of the programme will be the launch of a new edition of local Suffolk poet R F Langley’s Complete Poems, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, which gives an authoritative overview of the work.

For more information visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/town/Halesworth