Unlocking heritage

The main stained glass windiow behind the altar in St Mary's Church.'113646c.
The main stained glass windiow behind the altar in St Mary's Church.'113646c.

THE DOORS have opened to some of Scarborough’s hidden gems as this year’s Heritage Open Days got under way.

The scheme will see a total of 18 buildings in the town open their doors as they host free tours in a bid to raise public awareness of Scarborough’s heritage.

Heritage Open Days.'St Mary's Church.'Barbara Foster (left) leads visitors on a tour of the church.'113646a. Pic Kevin Allen. '08/09/11.

Heritage Open Days.'St Mary's Church.'Barbara Foster (left) leads visitors on a tour of the church.'113646a. Pic Kevin Allen. '08/09/11.

Yesterday saw dozens of people take part in the first of the Open Days, with the Rotunda, Scarborough Art Gallery, St Andrew’s and St Mary’s Churches, the Maritime Heritage Centre, and Westborough Methodist Church among those to open their doors.

The tour around St Mary’s Church attracted around 30 people, including Scarborough residents Malcolm MacDonald, Fran Shimmin and Jacqui Sellers. They said: “The Heritage Open Days are a very good idea. Sometimes when you live on the doorstep you don’t always learn about what is around you.

“Even when you visit a church you don’t actually get to know that much about it.

“Heritage is a very important part of any town and we are enjoying learning about Scarborough’s.”

Heritage Open Days was established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, in which 49 countries now participate.

Most buildings are near the seafront, including the Futurist Theatre, the Harbour Bar’s ice-cream factory, the Rotunda Museum, the Maritime Heritage Centre, and the Spa Theatre and Grand Hall. The others in town feature the Masonic Hall, Scarborough Art Gallery, Woodend, and North Bay Railway, among others.

Several events are also taking place further afield.

The Heritage Open Days continue today, tomorrow and Sunday.

Booking is required for some venues (see list below); call (01723) 384503.