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Ancient York tower opens for first time in living memory as part of free history weekend | YorkMix

Ancient York tower opens for first time in living memory as part of free history weekend

Your chance to see inside Fishergate Corner Tower… Photograph © Google Street View
9 Sep 2015 @ 3.43 pm
| Entertainment, History

Here’s a chance you don’t get every day. Or even every half millennium…

Fishergate Corner Tower is opening to the public this weekend, for the first time in living memory. And it might even be for the first time in its 670-year history.

The corner tower is said to date from around 1345, and has a single room boasting a Civil War era fireplace.

This opportunity comes courtesy of the Friends Of York Walls, the same good people who opened up its neighbour, the Fishergate Postern Tower.

Both towers – and much more besides – are opening up as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days.

It’s our chance to explore local history entirely for free. So, what’s on? We’re glad you asked…

Hidden history

You too could strike this pose at the observatory. Photograph: Bootham School
You too could strike this pose at the observatory. Photograph: Bootham School

Bootham School Observatory

45 Bootham, York YO30 7BU

Sat Sep 12 & Sun Sep 13 @ 12.45pm

Booking? Required. Contact Jenny Orwin 01904 623261

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Bootham School was always ahead of the game in teaching science. It opened its first observatory 160 years ago, and the present one dates from 1902.

Two towers of Fishergate

Fishergate Poster Tower is on Piccadilly, opposite Wetherspoons/Travelodge. Access to the Fishergate Corner Tower will be via Fishergate Postern

Sat Sep 12 & Sun Sep 13 @ 10am-4pm

Booking? Not required

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Two towers for the price of one – and the price is free! It is definitely your first chance to see inside the Fishergate Corner Tower, as well as a rare chance to tour the Fishergate Postern Tower, all courtesy of the Friends of York Walls. A chance to see something few have seen these past 600 years.

The Red Tower

Foss Islands Road, York YO10 9UJ

Sat Sep 12 10am-5pm

Booking? Not required

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The people behind plans to turn this 15th century brick tower into a community café, TIM York, invite you in to see the history and enjoy a cuppa and some cake.

Amazing church stories

Stone me, how do they do that? Time to find out… Photograph: Duncan Lomax / Ravage Productions
Stone me, how do they do that? Time to find out… Photograph: Duncan Lomax / Ravage Productions

York Minster stoneyard

4 Deangate, York YO1 7JB

Fri Sep 11 @ 9.30am-3pm

Booking? Preferred: contact Lisa Power, 01904 557200

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See hidden corners of York Minster and learn about the ancient craft skills used to preserve the 800-year-old cathedral when its stoneyard opens its doors for the festival. And you can explore a hidden corner of the Minster – the Mason’s Loft – where the Master Mason would draw out full size designs from which templates would be made to create stones for the cathedral.

The Stained Glass Centre

St Martin Cum Gregory Church, St Martins Lane, York YO1 6LN

Sat Sep 12 & Sun Sep 13 @ 10am-3pm

Booking? Not required

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This is a chance to explore one of York’s hidden gems. And as well as touring this beautiful old building you can see the new exhibition celebrating one of the city’s most talented stained glass artists, John Ward Knowles.

Holy exhibition

Holy Trinity Church, 70 Goodramgate, York YO1 7LF

Thu Sep 10-Sat Sep 12 @ 10am-4pm; Sun Sep 13 @ noon-6pm

Booking? Not required

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Recently the backdrop for a new ITV drama, Holy Trinity is a haven of tranquility in the middle of a busy city. This year the Churches Conservation Trust is presenting a display of old photographic images of the trust’s two York churches, the other being St Lawrence’s Tower.

York’s Finest Medieval Church

All Saint’s North Street, York, York YO1 6JD

Sat Sep 12 @ 10am-2pm

Booking? Not required

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Join a tour round this medieval masterpiece, and learn about All Saints’ painted angel ceiling, and how the Virgin Mary made regular appearances here in 1421 in something now known as the York Visions.

Historic homes

Stunning – Bar Convent chapel. Photograph: Jerry Ibbotson
Stunning – Bar Convent chapel. Photograph: Jerry Ibbotson

The Bar Convent

17-19 Blossom Street, York YO24 1AQ

Fri Sep 11 @ 10am-4pm; Sat Sep 12 @ 9.30am-noon

Booking? Not required

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Home to a community of sisters for three centuries, this is Europe’s oldest living convent. The Chapel, Garden and Atrium will be open to the public and if you’ve never been, it is well worth a visit.

Beningbrough Hall

Beningbrough, York, North Yorkshire, Y030 1DD

Sat Sep 12 & Sun Sep 13 @ 11am-5pm

Booking? Not required

More details

A chance for non-National Trust members to explore the hall and gardens for free. You can see the royal portraits exhibition and watch the special film about royal visits to the county. Especially for the weekend, several items of period furniture, including cabinets, chests and cupboards, will be opened up to reveal the drawers and compartments that visitors don’t usually see.

Nunnington Hall

Nunnington, York, North Yorkshire YO62 5UY

Thu Sep 10 & Fri Sep 11 @ 11am-5pm

Booking? Not required

More details

Learn about the Fife family, owners of the enchanting Nunnington Hall, and listen to the ghostly tales. Also the Carlisle Collection of miniature rooms will be on display.

Treasurer’s House

Minster Yard, York YO1 7JL

Sat Sep 12 & Sun Sep 13 @ 11am-4.30pm

Booking? Not required

More details

Take a ghost tour of the cellars where the spooks of a Roman legion once marched, enjoy the beautiful furniture and interior design, and see the attic rooms once home to the household’s servants.

Something a bit different

They're rolling out the red carpet at Poppleton Community Railway Nursery
They’re rolling out the red carpet at Poppleton Community Railway Nursery

Poppleton Community Railway Nursery

Station Road, Upper Poppleton, York YO26 6QA

Sat Sep 12 @ 10am-4pm

Booking? Not required

More details

A chance to visit Britain’s last surviving railway nursery. Visit the greenhouses, plant sales, see the narrow gauge railway and model railway and enjoy refreshments. And you can walk the red carpet which was once rolled out for royalty!

Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Haxby Road, York YO31 8TA

Fri Sep 11 & Sat Sep 12 @ 10am-4pm

Booking? Not required

More details

A rare example of an inter-war theatre, the cosy Joseph Rowntree is Grade II listed. On these special tours you can go backstage and see the equipment used to make the magic happen.

Naburn Lock

Canal & River Trust, Naburn, York YO19 4RU

Sun Sep 13 @ 9.30am-4pm

Booking? Not required

More details

Just a few miles outside York, the locks date from 1750 and are a great example of the early industrial revolution changing the way of life in Britain. Also look in the workshops, one of which comes with a huge blacksmith’s hearth.