diamond geezer

 Saturday, September 13, 2014

Next weekend is London Open House, when all London-based readers of this blog should, unless they have a damned good excuse, be out exploring the architectural secrets of the capital. But the rest of the country plays the same game this weekend, under the Heritage Open Days umbrella. And some bits of London choose to join in, either because they don't believe they are part of London or because they're too mean to pay the subscription. So here's a list of Heritage Open Days events you can take part in inside the capital either today or tomorrow. And if you're too late to make plans, there's no excuse for not planning ahead to next weekend already.

Red House (Sat 11-4): The National Trust are opening up William Morris's Arts & Crafts home for free today. And their new cafe's open.

St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance (Sat 10-1) (Sun 12-4): A simple chapel, with 17 stained glass windows, on the edge of Biggin Hill airfield.
High Street Heritage Trail (Sat 11 & 3) (Sun 11 & 3): Two walking tours daily along Chislehurst High Street.

[Harrow's one of the boroughs that's defected en bloc with its own Heritage Open Days programme]

Pinner House (Sat 10-4): It's now an old people's home, but this early Georgian house was once the home of the vicar of Harrow.
West House, Pinner (Sat 11-4): This old house in Pinner Memorial Park is being transformed, at last, into a museum to cartoonist extraordinare Heath Robinson. Tours will be given. Meanwhile, coincidentally but brilliantly, the annual Pinner Village Show is taking place in the park outside.
St George's Church, Headstone (Sat 10-5): Late Gothic revival/Arts & Crafts interior. Organ recital at noon, piano recital at 3.30.
Zoroastrian Centre for Europe (Sat 11-5): Grade II* listed Art Deco interior, formerly the Grosvenor Cinema, near Rayners Lane station. Architectural tours on the hour.
Headstone Manor (Sat 11-4) (Sun 11-4): Moated manor house, parts of which date back to 1310. Four tours daily, two of them aimed at families. I thought the tour was really interesting.
St Lawrence’s Church, Little Stanmore (Sat 2-5) (Sun 2-5): Grade 1 listed continental baroque church, 300 years old next year.
Harrow School (Sun 1-5, 2-5): Take a tour of the best preserved 17th century schoolroom in the country, or look round the famous Old Speech Room Gallery. While you're waiting, look round the Museum of Harrow Life.
St Mary's Church, Harrow (Sun 2-6): Medieval church on Harrow Hill, alongside Harrow School if you want to pop in as an add-on.

Battle of Britain Bunker (Sat 10-5) (Sun 10-5): Deep under RAF Uxbridge the Battle of Britain was plotted. Who'd not want to take a look into the command room, and associated museum, 76 steps down. I really enjoyed my trip.

Kensington & Chelsea
Museum of Brands (Sun 11-5): How much do we love the Museum of Brands? Indeed it feels wrong to suggest you might visit and not pay. But if cornflake packets, tins of soup and chocolate bars are your thing, make haste to Notting Hill.

[Kingston loves to believe it's still in Surrey, hence there's a full programme of 40 Heritage Open Days events this weekend and nothing next. Here are a few highlights]

County Hall - Heritage Day (Sat 10-4.30): That's the official seat of administration for Surrey, which is in London. Take a guided tours and see the Grand Hall, Council Chamber and former courts and cells.
The Guildhall (Sat 10-12): See inside various rooms, including the Council Chamber, and meet the Deputy Mayor in the Mayor's Parlour.
John Lewis Kingston Riverside (Sat 10-4) (Sun 10-4): Probably the only department store with the foundations of a medieval bridge perfectly preserved in its basement.
Kingston Crematorium (Sat 10-1): Hourly tours behind the scenes of the crematorium. "Your questions answered".
New Malden Library Tour (Sat 11 & 3.30): Let the librarian lead you on a tour of this hybrid Art Deco/WW2 styled building.
Coombe Conduit (Sat 12-4) (Sun 12-4): A Tudor conduit house built to supply water to Hampton Court Palace. Small, subterranean, suburban and fascinating.

Memorial Community Church (Sat 1-5): For those who've always wanted to explore a Plaistow belfry, and play the bells themselves.

Carshalton Water Tower (Sun 1-5): It's not on the official list, but the gem I told you about yesterday is open tomorrow.

Cabbies Shelters (Sat 7-6): Normally the interior of these roadside huts is solely for black cab license holders. But today, and next Saturday (and on some other as yet unconfirmed dates before mid-October), three of them are opening up in conjunction with a special art project. On Northumberland Avenue (7-6) Kathy Prendergast is presenting a map of The Knowledge, at Temple (10-4) take away a cup of tea in a limited edition paper cup, and in St John's Wood (7-4) just have a look inside. There's also a learning guide for kids, and a website with more information.

Meanwhile, just outside London: Kent, Surrey, Berks, Bucks, Herts, Essex

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