Heritage Open Days: Research & Discover

Why not take the opportunity to learn something new during Heritage Open Days, taking place this weekend? From Thursday 10th September to Sunday 13th September, the extensive range of talks and workshops will help you learn something new about the fascinating county we live in, or maybe even uncover some hidden gems from your own family history…

HEART volunteer Basha has put together her pick of the best learning and research opportunities in this year’s festival programme. Book your late availability tickets for pre-book events in person at The Guildhall, Norwich, or pop along to some of the exciting drop-in events.


Aylsham Heritage Centre, Broadland

See how we care for archaeological finds at this demonstration with pieces of Roman pottery and building materials, all of which were found locally. Visitors can handle the artefacts and watch this delicate work as it is being undertaken. For children, there is the chance to make their very own Roman centurion model, or mosaic tile.

Thurs, Fri, Sat: 10.30 – 15.30. Drop-in.

Aylsham Heritage Centre, Heritage Open Days

Aylsham Heritage Centre


Harleston: The Hidden Commemoration in the Waveney Valley 1914 – 1919, South Norfolk

Find out how you can help out with this Heritage Lottery Fund project to research the impact of the Great War on the Waveney Valley. Anyone can take part; you don’t need knowledge or experience, just enthusiasm and curiosity!

Fri: 10.00 – 16.00. Drop-in.


The Pennoyer Centre: Talks, South Norfolk

If you’re looking for something outside of Norwich, try the ‘Pulham Pigs, Illustrated Talk’ at Pulham St Mary. This little rural village was home to giant airships from 1916, vital in the defence against U-boats. From parachute experiments to mass air travel, these airships played a vital part in wartime history and beyond. On top of this, there is ‘Pennoyer’s Talk’; the links to the man who gave his name to the talk provide an even richer history.

Thurs: ‘Pulham Pigs’ 11.00. Fri: ‘Pennoyer’s Talk’ 14.00. Pre-book directly via www.pennoyers.org.uk.


St Stephen’s Church: Lecture, Norwich

Professor Sandy Heslop of the UEA will be discussing the significance of the art and architecture of St Stephen’s Church from medieval times right up to the present. The turbulent history of this church spans 800 years, and boasts an amazing medieval east window as well as wall monuments from the 1600s and 1700s.

Fri: 15.00. Drop-in.


They Are Not Dead: A Norwich Parish in the First World War, Norwich

Talk by local author Stuart McLaren on his book St Augustine’s in the Great War, followed by a tour of the war memorials in St Augustine’s Church, Norwich.

Sat: 14.00. Pre-book from Norwich HEART at The Guildhall.


The Guildhall, Norwich, Heritage Open Days

The Guildhall, Norwich

The Guildhall: Norwich 12 Talk, Norwich

From castles to cathedrals, halls to houses, the Norwich 12 are a fantastic range of heritage buildings which span the length of Norwich’s history. Join Frank Meeres, from the Norwich Record Office, for a talk on these iconic buildings, and their place in our city’s story.

Thurs: 18.00. Pre-book from Norwich HEART at The Guildhall.


St John Maddermarket, Norwich

This church is pulling out all the stops with a huge variety of activities all available for you to drop in on the Heritage Open Days! Dress up as a mayor as part of the Family Heritage Activities, and even make your own proclamation with feather quills. At the Bizarre Brass workshop you experience the variety of materials and techniques in St John’s collection, creating your own individual brass. If you still want to learn more, there are talks on both the rood screen (some panels of which are now held in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London), and the World War I Roll of Honour.

Thurs: Family Heritage Activities 10.00 – 14.00, WWI Roll of Honour Talk 14.00 – 15.00Fri: Family Heritage Activities 12.00 – 16.00, Rood Screen Talk 11.00 – 12.00Sat: Family Heritage Activities 10.00 – 16.00, Bizarre Brass workshop 10.00 – 15.00Sun: Family Heritage Activities 10.00 – 16.00. All drop-in events.

St Johns Maddermarket Church, Norwich Heritage Open Days

St Johns Maddermarket Church, Norwich


Norfolk Heritage Centre: An Introduction, Norwich

Looking for tips on how to start your own family history? Come and speak to our staff for their tips on how to get going, and to see what’s here for both students and researchers. On top of this, there will be cycling memorabilia on display to celebrate the Tour of Britain passing through Norwich during the HODs weekend.

Sun: 11.30 – 15.00. Drop-in.


Norwich Heritage Centre: Time Detectives – The County’s Convicts, Norwich

Take a look into a darker side of Norwich’s past with historical records that tell the stories of some of the men and women convicted of crimes in the 1700s and 1800s. Bring a friend as you’ll be working in pairs with facsimiles of real documents, as well as access to internet resources to uncover the story of ‘your’ individual. Staff are on hand to explain the records and how we might interpret them. Allow up to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Thurs: 10.30. Pre-book from Norwich HEART at The Guildhall.

Norfolk Heritage Centre Heritage Open Days

20 Guinea Reward notice – (C) Norfolk County Council


Old Meeting House Congregational Church: Talk, Norwich

Meet Dr Joel Halcomb from the UEA, who is here to deliver a talk on ‘The Foundation of Old Meeting Congregational Church’. He’ll be exploring the chapel’s connections to the Netherlands, colonial America, and to Oliver Cromwell himself. If you’re a local parishioner or just curious about the origins of this fascinating example of 17th century architecture, drop in to hear all about its place in the history of Norwich.

Sat: 19.30 – 20.30. Drop-in.


Norwich Record Office: Opening 17th Century Letters – Workshop, Norwich

Texts, emails, tweets: today world-wide communication happens at just the touch of a button. But back in the 17th century, the latest boom in global messages was the simple letter. In this hands-on workshop, UEA experts will be leading visitors through handling sessions with letters from the Norwich Record Office’s magnificent collection to discover the hidden histories within them. With more and more people choosing to send their messages online, the question we’ll be asking is: what has our culture lost? Allow up to 3 hours.

Fri: 10.00. Pre-book from Norwich HEART at The Guildhall.


The Salvation Army Norwich Citadel: Cathy Le Feuvre Lectures, Norwich

Former presenter of BBC Look East Cathy Le Feuvre is presenting two talks. The first – ‘William and Catherine’ – tells the love story of the founders of The Salvation Army through their letters. The second is ‘The Armstrong Girl – A Girl for Sale: the Battle Against the Victorian Sex Trade’, which discusses the campaign of 1885 to raise the age of consent in Britain in which The Salvation Army played a major role.

Sat: ‘William and Catherine’ 11.30, ‘The Armstrong Girl’ 14.30. Drop-in.

Norwich Salvation Army Citadel Heritage Open Days

Norwich Salvation Army Citadel


Norwich Record Office: Stories of Lynn, Norwich

Work alongside our collection care team, responsible for conserving the archives of King’s Lynn Borough from the past 800 years. This includes various charters, William Asshebourne’s book, and the Red Register. Allow up to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Thurs: 17.15. Pre-book from Norwich HEART at The Guildhall.