Halesworth joins popular heritage festival for first time

Renovation work has started on the former Halesworth social club building.

Renovation work has started on the former Halesworth social club building. - Credit: Nick Butcher

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.

The Friends of St Marys church, Halesworth are looking to rasie £400,000 overt the next three years

The Friends of St Marys church, Halesworth are looking to rasie £400,000 overt the next three years to carry out a regeneration programme at the church. Interior of the church - Credit: Nick Butcher

And for the first time Halesworth has joined 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 on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13 with the theme of Maltings and Breweries - as these figure largely in the history of the town.

'We had the idea when representatives from Felixstowe showed us their programme,' said Michael Imison, who is on the Halesworth and Blyth Valley Partnership committee.

'They've taken part it in for a few years and they said it would bring people to the town.'


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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. It was the Halesworth rectory for many years in addition to a billet for visiting land girls during the Second World War.

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Mr Imison added: '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.'

The official launch of the programme was held at The Cut arts centre on Wednesday night and was attended by owners of the properties open to the public and a number of district and town councillors.

All open day events are free and most do not require booking, however The Cut is providing a free booking service for those which do.

Halesworth Area Community Transport will be providing a free shuttle service from the train station and calling at a number of locations around the town.

Programmes are available from Halesworth Library, pubs in the town and at The Cut.

More information on the buildings can be found at www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/town/Halesworth

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