Heritage Open Days Proving a Hit

11th September 2018 / News archive

Chippenham’s packed programme of events for Heritage Open Days has got off to a flying start, with many coming to sample some of the town’s historic delights on Saturday 8th September.

With much of the programme still to come from Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th September there’s still plenty of opportunity to enjoy many of the free events and activities.

On Saturday 8th September Chippenham Museum welcomed Georgian reenactors to divulge the lesser known details of Georgian dressing. Museum Curator Melissa Barnett said “We were thrilled to welcome so many to enjoy the event and also our exhibition about Georgian Chippenham. The greatest surprise was welcoming a flash-mob of costumed Georgian enthusiasts who remained in character throughout their time with us.”

Elsewhere in the town that day volunteers from the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust held an open afternoon at Pewsham Locks to share their work and future plans for the site. In the afternoon St Nicholas Church, the only Georgian Church in Wiltshire, opened its doors with the opportunity to view the church’s war graves, records and crypt.

Cllr Teresa Hutton, Chair of the Amenities, Culture and Leisure committee at Chippenham Town Council said of the event; “Heritage Open Days is a brilliant annual national event which encourages people to visit sites of historical and cultural importance. Our museum takes part each year by working with a number of organisations to create a programme of wonderful activities to take part in.”

The programme continues on Thursday 13th September with a trail celebrating shops from Chippenham’s past starting at the museum and an exhibition in the Yelde Hall, both of which are free and open until Saturday 15th September.

The exhibition, titled ‘The Women Who Made Me’, celebrates the contribution Chippenham’s women have made to the town with family hands-on activities to reflect some of the stories. Historian and Curator of the exhibition Lucy Whitfield explains “Visitors can try the sort of gruel served at Chippenham Union Workhouse and have a go at weaving as we aim to produce the first piece of cloth community woven in Chippenham since the Waterford Mill factory burnt down in 1915.”

On Saturday 15th September a number of historic buildings will be open to explore in the town centre. Step inside the Old Baptist Chapel and Masonic Centre, learn about Chippenham’s Nestlé factory and even climb St Andrew’s tower to try ringing a bell. In the afternoon join Marc Allum, Antiques Roadshow Specialist and a Trustee of Chippenham Borough Lands Charity, for tours of the Jubilee Building.

All events are free to enjoy with the full programme available from Chippenham Museum or on the Heritage Open Days website. Call the museum on 01249 705020 for further details.