VISITORS descending on Stratford-upon-Avon for the Heritage Open Days can learn about brewing and feasting thanks to an exhibition at the town hall this weekend.
This year's theme at the Georgian building in Sheep Street, links brewing and food as the event is taking place at the same time as the Stratford Food Festival.
There will be displays of memorabilia and documents relating to Flowers Brewery and the Flower family, as well as information about the history of Stratford Canners and NC Joseph.
The Stratford Society will also be holding an exhibition in the town hall entitled ‘Wining and Dining along the Historic Spine’ showing around a dozen buildings which have been, are still, or have changed into eating or drinking establishments between Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Holy Trinity Church.
The town hall, which is the working home of Stratford Town Council will also show an exhibition of beadle costumes, civil ceremony wedding tableaux and a civic dinner display, including items of china which belonged to the former borough council and which was used for civic banquets held in the ballroom.
The mayor, Cllr Diane Walden, and town councillors will be on hand to guide and answer questions. The town hall will be open Friday and Saturday 10am until 5pm and Sunday 11am until 4pm.
The 16th century Harvard House, which is managed by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, is opening on Saturday and Sunday 10am until 4pm, after recently undergoing a brushing down to remove dirt and debris, which could cause deterioration.
Minor routine work at the Grade I listed black and white timber-framed building, in High Street, took place ahead of opening to the public this weekend. The Elizabethan town house has connections to John Harvard, founder of Harvard University and over the last three years has only occasionally been open to the public.
Visitors can catch a rare glimpse of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s collections at the Shakespeare Centre with an archives tour and reading room display.
The archives in Henley Street will open for tours today (Thursday) at 2.30pm and tomorrow (Friday) at 10.30am.
There will also be tours on Saturday and Sunday at 10am, 11am and 2.30pm. An additional tour will be available at 1pm during the weekend only and visitors need to pre-book by calling 01789 204016. Ask for the library and archives department.
The former primitive Methodist Chapel, consecrated in 1866, which is now the Masonic Hall, will open Saturday 10am until 4pm and Sunday 10am until 3pm.
The building in Great William Street is the meeting place for various masonic orders, who conduct their ceremonies in the upstairs temple. Refreshments will be available in the dining room.
The Guild Chapel, in Chapel Lane, began soon after the formation of the Guild of the Holy Cross in 1269.
Visitors can view early examples of wall paintings, including a Doom over the chancel arch and embroidery panels depicting the legend of the Holy Cross. T
he Friends of the Guild Chapel Association was formed in 1954 to help raise funds for the building and members will be on hand to answer questions. The chapel will open on Saturday between 2pm and 3pm, following a wedding ceremony.
On Saturday and Sunday between 12 noon and 2pm, King Edward VI School will open to the public. Visitors can see ‘Big School’, which became the town’s schoolroom in 1553, and the nearby council chamber, where the Borough Corporation held regular meetings from 1553.
The newly opened Lower Guildhall can also be viewed, where evidence of the medieval Guild of the Holy Cross, including faint traces of its emblem painted onto the plaster, can be seen.
There is no disabled access to big school or the council chamber. A short history of the buildings will be available free of charge.
St Andrew’s Church, in Church Lane, Shottery, will be holding an exhibition called ‘Around the world with St Andrew’s.
There will be displays from the countries which the church has links with, including Nigeria, China, Nepal and Tibet, as well as games for children and afternoon tea. The church will open from 2.30pm on Saturday and visitors have been invited to attend the service at 10.30am on Sunday.
Five buildings will be opening in Alcester as part of the event. The Grade I listed 17th century Alcester War Memorial Town Hall, in Henley Street, will open on Sunday between 10am and 4.30pm.
Displays will be on view from the local masonic lodges, Alcester Court Leet and the Royal British Legion, as well as information about Alcester’s heritage and history.
Entry is free and guided tours will be taking place. St Nicholas Church, in High Street, with a 14th century tower, Georgian nave and Victorian chancel will be open on Sunday from 8am until dusk.
The Grade II* listed church will be open from 10am until 5pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, as well as 12 noon until 5pm on Sunday.
Grade II listed 15th century Church House, in Butter Street, will be open from 12.30pm until 5pm. It is an original Tudor dwelling used as a church hall and there will be guided tours of its original features.
The Alcester Roman Museum at Globe House, Priory Road, will also be open to the public on Sunday between 12 noon and 4pm. There will be the chance to dress as a Roman, play games, handle and sort artefacts, as well as a trail for children and families.
In addition, Karyl Rees, a volunteer at Alcester Heritage Network, will be launching her book about the town’s 19th century National Schools. She will be signing copies of the book, published by Brewin Books at £8.95, at Alcester Town Hall on Heritage Open Day on Sunday.
Nearby Coughton Court will be open Friday between 11am and 5pm. Home to the Throckmorton family for 600 years, there will be a chance for visitors to explore the house, artefacts and the grounds with a family adventure pack.
The Grade II* listed 17th century Ettington Quaker Meeting House, in Halford Road, will be open on Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 4pm. Historical documents will be on display, along with information about Quaker history in the area.
Visitors can see ‘time-capsule’ workshops where the Chedham’s family worked for more than 150 years during a volunteer-led guided tour of Chedham’s Yard, in Church Walk, Wellesbourne, on Saturday between 10am and 3pm.
All visits need to be pre-booked by either e-mailing inquiries@ chedhamsyard.org.uk or visiting www. chedhamsyard.org.uk/booking before 10am on Saturday.
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