Opinion: ‘Take a look behind city’s history’

Toby Wood, of Peterborough Civic Society, writes...

Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 11:42 am
Peterborough Cathedral will be hosting heritage events.
Peterborough Cathedral will be hosting heritage events.

Mr and Mrs Smith are from Stoke-on-Trent.

They own a caravan and come to Ferry Meadows camp site once or twice a year.

One particular drizzly Thursday afternoon, instead of walking round Ferry Meadows again, they decide to go into Peterborough city centre to look around.

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They are impressed by the Guildhall and especially the cathedral, but, since it’s mid-September, they would like to do a little more in and around the city.

They realise that this particular week features Heritage Open Days and they decide to stay in the city a little longer to explore further.

This year, Heritage Open Days run from September 10–19 and once again many venues will be open for people to explore.

Of course you don’t have to be a visitor to the city, you can be a long-term resident who, for whatever reason, hasn’t been to one of the city’s many attractions,

Established in 1994, this celebration of our national culture has grown into the country’s largest community festival and we are fortunate to be in one of the most important areas, historically speaking, in the country.

Our local history and heritage link back to 5000BC and visitors are being welcomed to varying events.

Some may require booking, some have guided tours, others are more casual.

However, all contain fascinating local insights and organisers are looking forward to welcoming visitors of all ages.

Although on a smaller scale than previous years, there are still many local venues being manned by volunteers, who will be opening the doors to the public to showcase local gems.

In addition to the usual ‘big hitters’, such as the cathedral (with candlelit tours to music), there’s a chance to look at Railworld Wildlife Haven, or take in a final tour of the ‘Back of the Shop’ at D’Arcy Jewellers before they close for good.

Not all the events are in Peterborough, as many are in surrounding villages.

You can visit Richard III’s birthplace and the scene of some of Britain’s bloodiest history, for instance.

Alternatively, visit some rural parish churches, all of whom have something of historic or artistic interest to share.

Peterborough Civic Society has long been associated with co-ordinating this event locally and despite the hiatus last year, they have been collating local information on this national celebration of all things heritage in September.

We hope you will not only enjoy at least one of these events, but perhaps make a return visit or see others further afield.

As the dates and times of opening vary considerably from place to place, and due to the previous uncertainty of initially being unable to guarantee the event going ahead prior to the Covid restrictions being lifted, we were unable to produce leaflets or brochures for distribution.

However, there is a wealth of information on the Heritage Open Days website, not just about events in our area, but also nationally.