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English Heritage rescues Heritage Open Days

English Heritage previously helped the Civic Trust to fund and operate Heritage Open Days, but concern had been raised over the event’s future since the Civic Trust in England announced that it had gone into administration.

Steven Bee, Director of Planning and Development at English Heritage, said: “English Heritage can reassure all those who like to take part in Heritage Open Days that it will happen this and every year – and we look forward to an excellent weekend of events on the 10th-13th September.  Heritage Open Days is an important cultural event and we are very grateful for the continued support of all the volunteers across England, on which the success of the event depends.

Katja Condy, Heritage Open Days Manager, said: "When the news of the Civic Trust’s demise broke a month ago, the news came as a shock to thousands of volunteers across the country who were already gearing up for another celebration of their local heritage in September. It put a huge question mark over the future of the event. We are greatly relieved that the programme has found a new home and that we can now focus on making the 15th edition of Heritage Open Days another success.

"We have been working very closely with English Heritage for many years, and they proved a friend when we needed them most. The transfer of Heritage Open Days to English Heritage will build on this long-established partnership. We see it as a fantastic opportunity for both England’s largest grassroots heritage event and the Government’s lead body for the historic environment."

Buildings opening to the public this year will include the Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge, where the personal papers of Sir Winston Churchill and almost 600 politicians, civil servants, military leaders and scientists are kept. In Sheffield there wil be the chance to see the magnificent auditorium of the privately owned Lantern Theatre, one of only a few purpose-built Victorian theatres in the country and distinctively small with only 82 seats. In Bristol, people can see the oldest surviving heated lido in the country, dating from 1849.  The recently re-opened grade II*-listed pool had been closed since 1990 but escaped demolition and has been restored.

 No information is yet available about the future of the Civic Trust’s other responsibilities. Steven Bee continued: "We were saddened to hear the news about the Civic Trust. They had played a key role as a single voice for the many passionate trusts and societies across England, a role we hope to see continue in some form.  We welcome that partners across the sector are equally committed to supporting that local commitment to the built environment."

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