The her­itage here on your doorstep

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - CATHEDRAL VIEW -

It’s the time of year when many peo­ple are go­ing on hol­i­day. The kids are off school and many peo­ple take the op­por­tu­nity to have the fam­ily get­away here in the UK or abroad. Whilst they’re away, peo­ple will al­ways take the op­por­tu­nity whilst vis­it­ing some­where new to ex­plore the lo­cal cul­tural sites – the lo­cal mu­seum, cas­tle or cathe­dral.

Some­times, we miss what’s on our doorstep. I speak to many peo­ple who live lo­cally, but have never vis­ited the cathe­dral or mu­seum. It’s easy to make a point of vis­it­ing his­toric at­trac­tions whilst we’re away from home, but of­ten de­fer vis­it­ing ones nearby as they’re al­ways there. So, if you’re look­ing for some in­spi­ra­tion as to where to go this sum­mer and have a few hours to spare, why not visit the cathe­dral or one of the many other his­toric trea­sures in the Peter­bor­ough area?

If that wasn’t enough in­cen­tive to find out more about Peter­bor­ough’s past, then there’s cer­tainly rea­son to do so dur­ing the an­nual Her­itage Open Days, Septem­ber 7-10. This is a na­tional event where both ex­ist­ing his­toric at­trac­tions and build­ings which are not nor­mally pub­licly ac­ces­si­ble open their doors to ex­plore. This year’s event sees 30 dif­fer­ent build­ings, sites and spa­ces across Peter­bor­ough opened up – more than ever be­fore. These in­clude be­hind the scenes tours at fa­mil­iar build­ings such as the mu­seum or the Key Theatre, to tours around his­toric build­ings that aren’t nor­mally open, such as the Cus­toms House, Fen­wick Skrimshire’s House and the old RAF West­wood Of­fi­cer’s Mess. More mod­ern pub­lic build­ings, such as the Town Hall, Thomas Dea­con Academy and the En­ergy Re­cov­ery Centre on Fen­gate are also of­fer­ing tours, whilst many parish churches are of­fer­ing spe­cial tours and ex­hi­bi­tions.

Peter­bor­ough Cathe­dral is also open­ing up build­ings around the precincts that are not nor­mally open to view. Amongst these ex­tra­or­di­nary spa­ces is the Cathe­dral Li­brary, above the Gothic porch at the Cathe­dral’s West Front, which last year de­lighted vis­i­tors who climbed the spi­ral stair­case to marvel at its book lined walls and me­dieval ceiling. One child com­mented that it looked as if she should ex­pect to find Harry Pot­ter study­ing in there!

There is also rare ac­cess to the 15th cen­tury Ta­ble Hall, once part of the abbey’s In­fir­mary, and Al­moner’s Hall, from which char­ity was dis­trib­uted to the me­dieval res­i­dents of Peter­bor­ough. The stun­ning 13th cen­tury Knights’ Cham­ber, which is within the Cathe­dral’s Vis­i­tor Centre, will also be open to view over the week­end, with me­dieval re-en­ac­tors on hand to ex­plain about life in the me­dieval pe­riod. Tours of the precincts will show off some of the se­cret sto­ries of the cathe­dral’s past, plus you can go on a cathe­dral tour or sur­vey the heights from the top of the tower.

So why not look at Peter­bor­ough anew and take the chance to dis­cover your lo­cal his­tory - you can find out more about lo­cal events at www.her­ita­geopen­days.org.uk

Stuart Orme is op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor at Peter­bor­ough Cathe­dral

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