Heritage Open Days in the area

Heritage Lottery Fund

This weekend sees the annual Heritage Open Days, where many heritage venues are opening their doors for free. Please check out the national website (https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/) for ideas for your area.

We have already selected some events in and around the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area you might be interested in:

Ely this weekend is celebrating its rich heritage with a range of events, with its museums and local houses opening their doors for longer, giving you more time to see the local heritage.

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Ely Museum, as part of Heritage Open Days, is holding an event for all ages and are staying open for longer so you can experience a night viewing: on Friday the 13th after 5 pm it is free to enter Ely Museum! This weekend at the Ely Museum is also the last chance for you to see its exhibition about the Old Goal: the last chance this year to experience what life at the museum was like when it was a prison.

Oliver Cromwell’s house is opening its door for evening visits as well, so you can experience the house as it get dark which adds to the atmosphere to the house with its rooms from the 17th century. If you dare visit the haunted bedroom at night! To finish off your tour of the Oliver Cromwell house try a sample of Cromwell’s Cider and listen to the medieval tunes of Ely’s Authentic Pied Piper.

Ely’s Silver Street Cottages are privately owned dwellings which are open this weekend, giving you a chance to visit some cottages that are from the medieval period dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. On the first floor of these building are wall paintings dating from this period.

Prior Crauden’s chapel is open this weekend in Ely Cathedral which is rarely open to the public. The 14th century chapel is impressive with wall paintings and a medieval tiled floor entrance to the chapel is free, but if you want a guided tour there are limited spaces (to book a guided tour, visit http://www.elycathedral.org/).

Ely’s Stained Glass Museum currently hosts an exhibition of painted heads and faces on glass from the medieval period to the present day. This exhibition will be running till the last Sunday of September.

Prickwillow Engine Trust has an exhibition of 6 large diesel pumping engines; all British built from the early to mid 20th century and which were rescued from the Fenland pumping station. The Mirrlees engine is the original engine and was installed at Prickwillow in 1924; the others have been recovered from other sites around the Fens. These pumps were used to drain the Fens. For more information about Prickwillow Engine Trust museum visit http://prickwillow-engine-museum.co.uk/engines.html.

National Trust’s Houghton Mill is located on the Great Ouse River just west of St Ives and has been there for 1000 years; it was saved by the local community from demolition and has inspired artists and photographers for generations. Come and experience the sounds and atmosphere of a working mill and have a go at making flour and enjoy the setting of it next to the river.

This weekend at The Norris Museum in St Ives as part of the heritage weekend there is an event ‘Call the Midwife’; so come to the Norris Museum and see how midwives looked after mothers and their babies in the past and see the equipment they used. A retired midwife from the area will be there to talk to you about her memories.

Corkers Crisps are holding a local food fair to celebrate it launching the biggest bag of crisps in the world. The event at Corkers Crisps HQ includes local farm food from around the Fens and Cambridgeshire, live bands and a petting zoo; there is also a guided tour around the Corkers Crisps HQ at Willow Farm. For more information, visit http://visitely.eastcambs.gov.uk/events/biggest-packet-crisps-world-event-14th-september-2013.

With so much happening in the area around the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership, go and explore you local heritage for the day or evening. Let use know about your adventures.

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Oliver Cromwell’s Museum in Ely. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/enjoy-england/special-offers-april

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Stories from the Horseman’s Mouth

Heritage Lottery FundIn terms of heritage, it is all happening in Littleport! Recently, I reported on the now completed HLF-funded project which resulted in the documentation of the remarkably well-preserved Family Adams shop in Littleport – see here for the previous blog post on this.

The shop window at the old Family Adams shop currently displays images, artefacts and information for a new local project: ‘The Horseman’s Word’, which aims to research the golden age of the Fenland Heavy Horse. Recently, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant to the Field Theatre Group in Littleport to carry out this project.

The Field Theatre Group’s project ‘The Horseman’s Word’ will bring together a range of people, researchers, archivists, historians, film makers, curators, photographers and heavy horse experts. In this, the Field Theatre Group will work closely with ADeC over the next 18 months to deliver this exciting new project. ADeC is also a key partner in the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme. The Field Theatre group’s project has clear links to the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme.

HMW Outside the Bull Public House junction Wisbech Rd and Camel rd

2 men and cart, outside the Black Bull, Wisbech Road, Littleport. Image courtesy of the Littleport Society.

The Fenland area has a rich heritage related to horses and horse keeping; heavy horses in particular have helped shape the land as we experience around us now.

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Saddlery, Main St, Littleport, 1912 Image courtesy of the Littleport Society.

The project aims to shine a light on the unique relationships between horses and Fen Folk, also uncovering myths, folklore and magic associated with the horses. the project focuses on ‘the golden age’ of  the heavy horse between c1850 and 1950.

A series of community history gathering workshops will be held in Ely (20 & 27 July), Wisbech (29 June and 13 July) and Prickwillow over the next couple of months. Do come along and share your stories and artefacts; they may well find their way into the documentary DVD, touring exhibition and online archive which will be created as part of the project.

Find out more about the community workshops here:

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The official launch of the Horseman’s Word project is coming Saturday, 1 June, 2-5 pm, in Littleport Village Hall. There you can meet the project team and be entertained with songs and stories from the golden age of the Fenland Heavy Horsemen. Find out more about this event here.

The Field Theatre Group has got very good experience in community projects. One of their previous projects, Common Grounds, resulted in film showing a range of stories, focusing on land workers and Fenland life at the turn of the last century. Another interesting production was Landlines, the Field Theatre Group’s multi-media touring production, incorporating actors, film footage, music, poetry and songs to bring to life the Fen landscape, its people and places. Learn more about the work of the Field Theatre Group here.

Want to know more about ‘The Horseman’s Word’? Click on the below image, which is taken from the Horseman’s Word’s flyer:

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