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Heritage Open Days 2023 Review

HODs LogoHeritage Network LogoEvery year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It's your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it's all FREE. In 2023 Heritage Open Days returned with a 10-day festival from Friday 8th to Sunday 17th September. The national theme was 'Creativity Unwrapped'.

Thirty-five separate events covered all 10 days of the festival, which was a great success. In all, we calculated 3,968 visits, including over 2,186 to Creativity Unwrapped-themed events and at least 1,705 visits to bottle oven sites. Follow these links to the national and Stoke-on-Trent summaries.

Many thanks to members of the Heritage Network for Stoke-on-Trent for all their hard work organising events. (Photographs by Andy Perkin unless otherwise stated)

Launch at St Barts

Heritage Newtork members and supporters at the HODs launch at St Bartholomew's in Norton-le-Moors (31 Aug 2023) [Photo: Laura Watson]

Opening the festival at the Secret Museum

Danny Callaghan and Craig Peebles open the Shared Stories exhibition at the Secret Museum at Winkhill Mill

Shared Stores at the Secret Museum

Craig's roundal designs exhibited at Shared Stories in the Secret Museum

Setting off from Hanley Park for the Hanley Heritage Tour

Setting off from Hanley Park for the Hanley Heritage Tour

 The Cauldon Grounds

The Hanley Heritage Tour arrives at the Cauldon Grounds

The Pavilion in Hanley Park

The Hanley Heritage Tour at the Pavilion in Hanley Park

 Stained glass at St Bartholomew's Norton-le-Moors

Stained glass above the entrance to St Bartholomew's Norton-le-Moors, now known to be the work of artist Harry Stammers [Photo: Danny Callaghan]

The Top Bridge Works

Exploring Hugh Henshall's Longport opposite the Top Bridge Works on the Trent & Mersey Canal [Photo: Nicola Farrin]

Middleport Pottery

Andy Perkin leads Exploring Hugh Henshall's Longport on the Trent & Mersey Canal [Photo: Nicola Farrin]

Exploring Baker's Fenton

Monienne Stone and Andy Perkin lead Exploring William Baker's Fenton from Fenton Town Hall [Photo: Caroline Simpson]

William Baker's grave at Christchurch Fenton

Exploring William Baker's Fenton at Christchurch Fenton

Explorers outside Fenton Town Hall

The group pose outside Fenton Town Hall following the second tour of the day Exploring William Baker's Fenton

 Exploring A R Wood's Burslem - Burslem School of Art

Dave Proudlove leads Exploring A R Wood's Burslem from Burslem School of Art

Exploring A R Wood's Burslem - Queen Street

 Dave and Andy leading Exploring A R Wood's Burslem in Queen Street [Photo: Pete Stonier]

 Exploring A R Wood's Burslem - Wycliffe Methodist Hall

Exploring A R Wood's Burslem arrives at Wycliffe Methodist Hall, now the Kilnworx Climbing Centre 

 Excavating bottle ovens at Middleport Pottery

Exploring A R Wood's Burslem happens upon Zoe Sutherland's excavation of bottle oven remains at Middleport Pottery

Phoenix Works Longton

Images from the underground flues which connect the ovens to the adjacent chimney are projected in the chamber at the Phoenix Works

Downdraught skeleton oven at the Phoenix Works

One of the only two surviving downdraught skeleton ovens in the world at the Phoenix Works in Longton

Underground tunnels at the Phoenix Works

A mirror in one of the inspection pits shows the underground flues which connect the firing chamber to the chimney at the Phoenix Works

Our Lady and St Peter's Church

A choral concert at Our Lady of the Angels and St Peter in Chains Church in Hartshill closes the HODs festival

Hope for our heritage

Dave Proudlove's article in The Sentinel on 20 Sep 2023 praises the work of the Heritage Network and Potteries Heritage Society

Return to this page for news of the Heritage Open Days Festival 2024 which runs from Friday 7th to Sunday 16th September

Heritage Network members can find further local and national feedback and analysis on the HODs Support page

HODs Landscape (embellished)