Heritage Open Days were established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days and, since then, have grown into the country’s largest heritage celebration. The event is held nation-wide every September and Halesworth participates on a bi-annual basis.
The town’s first year of involvement was in 2015 and proved hugely successful, boosting the visitor economy and highlighting Halesworth’s heritage. The last event was over the weekend of 9th/10th September 2017. The NEXT one will be September 2019. Details will be published here or found on www.heritageopendays.co.uk. It’s a very exciting and rewarding opportunity to see places and inside buildings not otherwise open to the public and to join specially arranged walks and talks. Also see posts on the Facebook page.
Previously well-received venues have been private historic dwellings. However other types of buildings included the Police Station and the Church. One such venue which proved particulalry popular was the offices of old-established solicitors, Cross Ram & Co. It’s probable that the firm dates back to the 17th Century and, unusually, has practised from the same site throughout although the present handsome building at 18 The Thoroughfare was actually purpose-built in 1810 to create, as was then common, offices on the ground floor and living accommodation above. The building was at least twice its present size back then. The gardens originally stretched right down to the river and included the present town park.
The tour explained more of the building’s history and there were many intriguing historical artefacts and documents on show, items that would not normally be seen by the public.