Bradford district celebrates Heritage Open Days

Article dated Friday Sep 8, 2023 at 10:33 AM

Buildings across the Bradford district are preparing to throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, culture and history, welcoming visitors as part of the national Heritage Open Days festival between 8 and 17 September.

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture with over 5000 events taking place across the country.

In the Bradford district there are over 20 activities and events that people can take part in all for free during the festival.

Bradford City Hall is celebrating its 150th birthday with an Open Weekend and as part of the Heritage Open Days festival, Bradford Council will be throwing open the doors of City Hall on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September and encouraging people to come and learn about its rich history and see some of the areas used as filming locations. There will also be a pop-up café, a shop and a display of Jowett cars. Also, self-guided walking tours of the city centre including access to the Cathedral (Saturday) and St George’s Hall (Sunday).

Other activities in the Bradford district are:

  • Saturday 9 September 10am-4pm at Bradford Industrial Museum - take a virtual tour of the Victorian horse cabmen’s shelter. Handle objects from the period and discover what it would have been like to experience the shelter in use. 
  • Saturday 9 September 12pm-3pm at Bradford Cathedral. Explore the beautiful early stained glass of Morris & Co. as well as stunning stained glass by other Victorian designers, and a talk from Helen Elletson of the William Morris Society.
  • Saturday 9 September 11am-2pm Teddy Day at Cliffe Castle. On National Teddy Bear Day author Richard O’Neill and Illustrator Michelle Russell will deliver a wonderful workshop for children. Listen to the story of Rag and Bone bear, and then have a go at drawing your own.
  • Saturday 9 September 10am-4pm at Keighley Library. A celebration of Keighley's local artists, arts and crafts with talks about local artists and a live painting demonstration. There will also be children's storytime and crafts, as well a host of local groups and societies.
  • Saturday 9 September 11am-4pm visit Ilkley Manor House to explore the town’s prehistoric past. Create Bronze Age cup and ring markings and sculpt Stone Age jewellery. Take the Neolithic quiz and tour the Roman fort with expert John Cockshott.
  • Sunday 10 September 10am-4pm St George’s Hall will host free self-guided tours, family activities, volunteers in costume playing historical characters and birthday cake presentation.
  • Sunday 10 September 10am-12pm - Bingley Walkers Are Welcome and Bingley Little Theatre will be hosting a short one and a half mile walk with members of the theatre dressed in costume. Following the walk there’ll be light refreshments, a talk and a tour of the building.
  • Sunday 10 September 10am-4pm - Discover East Riddlesden Hall visit the house, gardens and play area.
  • Wednesday 13 September 11am-1pm – Visit Bradford Industrial Museum and meet our volunteer industrial heritage gardeners in the museum gardens and take your spring daffodil bulb home with you. You can also have a look around the beautiful Mill Manager's home. Collect your limited-edition Heritage Day bookmark in the print gallery and visit the weavers/spinners upstairs in the mill.
  • Wednesday 13 September 10am-3pm – Visitors to Dobson Locks, Apperley Bridge Blacksmith’s Forge are invited to meet the blacksmith, who will be carrying out practical heritage demonstrations in the original canal-side forge.
  • Thursday 14 September 2pm – Join the West Ilkley Heritage Walk.
  • Thursday 14 September 10.30am-12.30pm – Visit Bolling Hall food focused short talks looking at objects from the collections of Bradford District Museums and Galleries and the Photographic Archive. Guest speakers will tell us more about the Bradford Curry Festival and charity work. The talks will be rounded off with refreshments so you can sample some of the food that Bradford has to offer. Booking essential.
  • Friday 15 September 11am-1pm – Bolling Hall Heritage Day - Meet volunteer heritage gardeners in the museum gardens and take a spring daffodil bulb home in its decorated pot. Take a tour of one of the oldest buildings in Bradford. Museum Library volunteers will be on hand with storytelling sessions for children.
  • Saturday 16 September & Sunday, 17 September 11am-4pm. Ingrow Station Explore the story of locomotives in the Engine Shed and the carriages in Carriage Works. Visit the Learning Coach to colour in pictures and enter a prize draw. Free gift for all entrants.
  • Sunday 17 September 2pm – A guide in costume will lead a walk through Manningham.
  • Friday 8 to Saturday 16 September - Family Quiz to open your eyes to Burley-in-Wharfedale's history and secrets.

Churches taking part in Heritage Open Days in the Bradford district include:

  • St Mary's Wyke - Saturday - 9 September 10am - 4pm
  • Bradford Unitarians Saturday - 9 and Sunday, 10 September 10.30am - 4pm
  • St Margaret’s Church, Ilkley - Saturday - 16 September 9am - 1pm
  • Ilkley All Saints Church - Saturday, 16 September 10am - 4pm
  • Denholme Shared Church - Saturday 16 September 10am-4pm
  • Bingley United Reformed Church - Saturday, 16 and Sunday, 17 September 10am - 4pm

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “The Heritage Open Days festival is a great way for people discover more about the history of some of the district’s most fascinating old buildings.”

For information about all the events and activities for Heritage Open Days visit:

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