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By Dawn Collinson
The open days happen every September, supported by thousands of volunteers, giving people the chance to discover more about local landmarks and the stories behind them. Liverpool is packed with architectural gems, some really well known and some hidden. Now’s the chance to discover them.
Here are 16 fantastic Liverpool heritage sites you can visit free in September …
All Hallows Allerton has a unique collection of 14 windows designed by Edward Byrne-Jones & William Morris which can be viewed. You can also find out more about the Bibby family, particularly Fanny Bibby, daughter of Jesse Hartley who designed the Albert Dock. Sept 16 & 17, 10.30am-4pm.
The 18th century Town Hall will be open to the public, showing beautiful features including three of the finest Georgian chandeliers in Europe weighing over a ton each and the famous front balcony overlooking Castle Street were The Beatles, The Queen and Reds and Blues have all stood. Sept 12, 1pm-5pm.
Take a look behind the stunning Art Deco exterior of George’s Dock Building, one of six ventilation stations for the Queensway tunnel and the most ornate because it was built to be the Head Office for the Mersey Tunnels. There’ll be artefacts on display and free mini-tours. Sept 10 & 11, book for tours on the day.
All Saints Childwall is the oldest Parish Church in Liverpool, mentioned in the Domesday Book and dating back almost 1,000 years. Visit the church, tower and churchyard and watch a video highlighting interesting features including medieval stonework and Commonwealth war graves. Sept 17, 10am-4pm, and Sept 18, 2pm-4pm.
On Prescot Street just off London Road, the Grade II Bridewell was a police station in the early 20th century. It still has original tiles, concrete staircases and prison cells as well as current artists’ studios and you’ll get to explore parts not usually open to the public. Sept 10 & 11 and 17 & 18 – book for tours.
Go inside the Tudor manor house with Victorian interiors and original William Morris wallpaper, take a tour or just wander, and explore the gardens, woodland and maze. The house open between 11am and 12.30pm for guided tours only then it will fully open at 12.30pm. Sept 15, 10.30am-5pm, no booking needed.
Take the Inside and Out tour and find out more about the materials used in building the City Museum and Library in William Brown Street, its decorative features and the repairs and changes which were made to rectify WWII bomb damage. Sept 14, 15 & 16, 2pm. Booking needed.
Visitors can enjoy the 186-year-old church with its unique Della Robbia pottery on the walls, churchyard with war graves and the grave of a crew member of the Titanic, as well as the original school room now refurbished and renamed The Ken Dodd Happiness Hall. Sept 16, 1.30pm-3pm, Sept 17, 10am-4pm & Sept 18, 1pm-5pm.
Friends of Williamson Tunnels is opening up the chambers under merchant Joseph Williamson’s house on Mason Street revealing the Banqueting Hall and Wine Bins quarried out of local sandstone in the early 1800s. An hour-long guided tour goes deep below street level. Sept 10 & 11, and Sept 17 & 18. Booking needed.
The Grade II listed church, 99-step church tower, churchyard and Old Grammar school will open for guided and self-guided tours. There’s a Saxon cross thought to date to the 700s and font used for over a thousand years as well as fabulous modern stained glass windows designed by Edward Carter Preston. Sept 10 & 11.
Ever wondered what the Blue Coat School looks like inside? The Grade II listed building will be open for guided tours as part of the Heritage Open Days. Sept 17 & 18, 11am-4pm, no need to book.
Find out more about one of Liverpool’s most iconic churches, known for its striking appearance. Built between 1813 and 1815, this Grade I listed building is one of the three churches in the city built by John Cragg, who used cast iron made at his Mersey Iron Foundry. Sept 10, 10am-4pm & Sept 11, 12-4pm.
This is one of the city’s most outstanding hidden gems, on Church Alley off Church Street. Founded in 1797, The Athenaeum has been a hub for social, cultural and business meetings for more than 200 years. Visitors can take a guided tour, learn its past and see its library with 60,000 rare and valuable books and documents. Sept 18, 10.30am-4.30pm.
Anyone who knows their Beatles history will know all about the significance of St Peter’s, where Lennon first met McCartney at a church fete. See the spot where that happened in July 1957 and view the beautiful historic stained glass windows, as well as the final resting places of Eleanor Rigby and football legend Bob Paisley. Sept 17, 10am-3pm.
Before the police station opened on the High Street, there was only one place boozy villagers were heading in the late 1700s and that was the Wavertree Lock-Up on Childwall Road/Lake Road. This is one of only a few surviving lock-ups in Liverpool, saved from demolition and now a listed building. Sept 18, 12-4pm.
Liverpool has strong ties to the Nordic community, and you can learn more about them at the Gustav Adolf Scandinavian Church on Park Lane, between the city centre and Baltic Triangle. Explore the Grade II listed building and sample Scandinavian cakes and coffee! Sept 16 & 17, 11am-4pm.
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