Celebrate Fenland’s history at heritage weekend

A chance to learn more about exciting plans for Wisbech High Street will be just one of the opportunities on offer during this year’s national Heritage Open Days.

More than 20 events celebrating Fenland’s rich and varied culture will be taking place in the district as part of England’s largest heritage festival from September 7-10.

Locals and visitors alike will be able to enjoy talks and walks, tours and exhibitions, as well as an opportunity to explore historic buildings for free, some of which are not usually open to the public.

One of the events will focus on the Wisbech High Street Project, a four-year initiative to repair and restore properties on the High Street and bring empty, derelict properties back to life. The project is being delivered by Fenland District Council thanks to a £1.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with support from Cambridgeshire County Council, Wisbech Town Council and Wisbech Society.

People can find out about the work that’s gone on behind the scenes since the project launched in January, with a display at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum on Saturday, September 9. The display, which will also include photographs and adverts of old shops, will be open from 10am until 4pm.

There will also be tours of the High Street starting at No 20 (William H Brown Estate Agents) at 12pm and 3pm. The tours will take a look at the architecture of the historic buildings and there will also be an opportunity to look inside ‘The Gap’ site at No 24, where a building collapsed 30 years ago, and learn about plans to transform it into a new area for public use.

Fenland District Council’s conservation officer Nicola Duncan-Finn will also be providing an insight into the heritage of old buildings during the Open Days event with a talk entitled ‘Heritage Significance and Values’.

The talk, organised by Chatteris Civic Society, is being held at the Cross Keys Hotel in Chatteris on Friday, September 8, at 7.30pm.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for heritage, said: “All the events are free and great fun for all ages. They are a great opportunity for both locals and visitors from outside Fenland to find out more about our rich history, architecture and culture.”

Councillor Michelle Tanfield, the council’s Cabinet member responsible for tourism, added: “The events are run entirely by volunteers and there’s something for everyone over the four days. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are free to explore.”

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