Open Doors Festival: A behind-the-scenes look at two of Hawarden’s historic and iconic buildings
Two iconic buildings in Hawarden will open their doors to the public for a rare behind-the-scenes look as part of Open Doors, CADW’s popular festival of Wales’ built heritage.
On Saturday, 16th September 2023, visitors can embark on a combined tour of both Gladstone’s Library and the Old Rectory, exploring the intertwined histories of these two landmark sites.
The Open Doors event, themed ‘The Gladstones at Hawarden,’ commemorates 125 years since the death of W.E. Gladstone, the former British Prime Minister, and founder of Gladstone’s Library.
Several inhabitants of the Old Rectory were immediate family members of Gladstone, who played a crucial role in shaping the library after his passing.
To mark the occasion, the two sites have collaborated to offer a joint tour, showcasing their shared history and close geographical proximity.
Visitors to Gladstone’s Library will have the opportunity to view highlights of the library’s printed collections and archives, tour the Reading Rooms, and visit the strongrooms.
Meanwhile, at the Old Rectory, now home to the North East Wales Archives, guests can watch a video detailing the Gladstone family’s connection to the house, tour the strongrooms housing the County’s archives, and visit the Conservation Studio for a demonstration of preservation techniques for historic documents.
Tours will last approximately 90 minutes, with delicious refreshments available at Gladstone’s Library café.
Revd Dr Andrea Russell, Warden of Gladstone’s Library, expressed her enthusiasm for the event, saying, “We’re delighted to be collaborating with our neighbours for an event that takes advantage of not only our shared history but our close geography! The Library team are looking forward to welcoming visitors on a day that celebrates Hawarden’s fascinating past.”
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Welsh Language, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Mared Eastwood, also encouraged participation in the event, stating, “The European Heritage Days initiative encourages residents and visitors to explore some of Wales’ lesser-known sites which are usually closed to the public.”
“The Open Doors event is a fantastic opportunity to visit behind the scenes and I would encourage anyone interested in learning about the history of Hawarden and the work undertaken at both sites to come along.”
Tours will begin from both sites at 10am, 11.30am, and 1pm. Booking is required for all tours, and only one booking is needed to visit both sites.
To book a tour starting at Gladstone’s Library, telephone 01244 532350 or email email@example.com
To book a tour starting at the Old Rectory, telephone 01244 532364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours are free of charge, so book now to avoid disappointment!
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