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Architectural riches - for free

Bascule bridge and other great, good and curious landmarks open to public for limited time

Published on September 17th 2010.

Architectural riches - for free

LIFT bridges, tunnels, classic buses and coal fired tugs - not your average day out in Liverpool and all the better for it.

These and many more of the city's less obvious curiosities - or best kept secrets if you like – will see their doors will be thrown open to the public for the next fortnight – all for free.

It's part of the Heritage Open Days programme that celebrates England’s outstanding architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Here, this very good thing translates to more than 50 architectural gems – some dating back almost 600 years – which will open from Thursday until September 19.

Along with entry to more than 20 Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings, such as the Royal Liver Buildings, Speke Hall and Liverpool’s two cathedrals, there are also a range of new stuff.

They include:- The Engine Room at Bascule Bridge - The 78-year-old steel structure is one of the only surviving examples of a rolling Bascule lifting bridge in the UK and is an integral feature of the Stanley Dock Conservation Area and the World Heritage designation. It re-opened last month after a two-year closure. Tours on September 11-12 only from 1.30-5pm

- Liverpool John Moores University Tour of Special Collections and Archives – Aldham Robarts Learning Centre. This rarely seen collection contains a range of topics from popular music, fashion and Liverpool history. On September 11 and 18 only from 10am-11.30am

- Walton Old Grammar School – One of the oldest schoolhouses in the North West – and the oldest in Liverpool

- dating from 1613 and replaced an earlier school from 1548. Enjoy a presentation about school life from centuries past, and find out why 18th century Welsh Poet Goronwy Owen was there. (September 11, 10am-4pm – September 12, 1pm-4pm)

Attractions in Liverpool Heritage Opens Days season have been defined under four key themes: Grand Designs, Innovation and Industry; The Great Outdoors and Sacred sites.

Other notable highlights include tours of the Mersey Tunnel and Williamson Tunnels, as well as tours of the last remaining coal fired tug at Sandon Dock (September 11 only) to trips on classic buses (Sunday September 12 only) and behind the scenes guide to ancient justice landmarks such as West Derby Courthouse and Wavertree Lock Up.

The programme of tours and family friendly events have been devised tso hat everyone can enjoy their local heritage, say organisers English Heritage and Liverpool City Council.

Councillor Wendy Simon, Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, said: ‘’Liverpool is blessed to have so many architectural wonders from down the ages and theses next two weeks gives everyone a chance to learn so much about so many aspects of our fascinating history.

‘’Heritage Open Days could never happen without the enthusiasm and expertise of local people and I’d like to thank all the venues for making our Liverpool’s Open Season one of the very best in the UK.’’

For the very latest Liverpool Heritage Open Days information please check; out www.visitliverpool.com or call 0151 233 2008.

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