Heritage Open Days 2019

We’re proud to be part of Coventry’s Heritage Open Days, where you can visit loads of amazing places in the city.

Historic Coventry Trust will be opening two extraordinary historic buildings on 21st/22nd September, and showcasing a rare survival of historic townscape from 13th to 22nd September 2019.

As part of Heritage Open Days we’ll show visitors Drapers’ Hall and Swanswell Gate, and you’ll be able to explore The Burges, Hales Street and Palmer Lane where you can see remains of the medieval Pilgrim’s route to the city and the city’s forgotten river.

Drapers’ Hall is Coventry’s finest Regency building. It was built in 1832 as social rooms for the Coventry Drapers’ Company, who moved out in 1960, when the hall was converted into a magistrates’ court. Unused for years, this will be a rare opportunity to view the intact magnificent Regency/ early Victorian interiors before the building is converted into a music education and performance venue in 2021. Prior to the construction of a rear extension, an archaeological investigation of the site has been undertaken by Museum of London Archaeology. This is a significant site, the location of the important medieval Great Drapery of Coventry, the most important cloth market in late medieval England outside London. Tours of the building will allow visitors to view the stunning Regency ground floor ballroom, card room and reading rooms, as well as the kitchens and storage areas on the lower ground floor. Also the recently excavated archaeological site to the rear of the building will be visible, and visitors will also be able to view plans for the future use of the hall as a music education and performance venue in 2021. Tours will be conducted at 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September 2019, and will be limited to 10 people per tour. These need to be pre-booked. To do this, sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drapers-hall-heritage-open-days-2019-registration-65396373313

Swanswell Gate is one of two surviving city gates, and is a Grade I listed building, situated adjacent to the best surviving remains of the medieval city wall. The sandstone-built building was converted to a dwelling during the Victorian period and was made into the building we see today with embattlements in the 1930’s by Sir Alfred Herbert. Historic Coventry Trust will bring this building back into use as unique visitor accommodation. Both floors will be available to view, before the forthcoming renovation work starts. Swanswell Gate will be open between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September 2019. Booking is not required for Swanswell Gate, but there will be a limit of 6 visitors in the building at any one time. 

Discover The Burges. This area of Coventry is a rare survival of historic townscape in the heart of the city centre. Comprising the Burges, the medieval pilgrim route on Palmer Lane, and Hales Street, the area has survived all the many changes to the rest of the City Centre. The buildings date from the late medieval period to the 19th century and the fascinating history of this area often hides behind later facades. Historic Coventry Trust are working closely with with Coventry City Council and Coventry BID to transform the area. On the first weekend visit the Coventry Society in the Old Grammar School on Hales Street to learn about the history and regeneration plans for the Burges. On each weekend, join a guided tour of the Burges at 12 noon. And throughout Heritage Open Days pick up a leaflet and learn about the area and its businesses. Please note that this event consists of three things:

  • Stall/exhibition at Old Grammar School on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th between 12 noon and 4pm.
  • Guided tours at noon each weekend (gathering at/outside the Old Grammar School.
  • Self-guided tours throughout Heritage Open Days (pick up a leaflet at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museums, or from businesses on the Burges & Hales Street – look out for the posters).
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