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Heritage Open Days has been declared a huge success in Exeter

Published: 28 September 2020

Customs House The Lord Mayor of Exeter (pictured right) at Exeter Custom House

Heritage Open Days has been declared a huge success in Exeter.

Despite COVID-19, the event went ahead safely across the city at 27 venues and was well attended by the public.

Heritage Open Days aims to showcase the city’s history, opening up for free many of its buildings which don’t normally allow the public inside or usually charge a fee.

This year’s event was slightly different due to the pandemic but still went ahead, offering guided tours to limited numbers or virtual tours online.

Workshops and tours at The Phoenix and the Devon and Exeter Institute were sold out and there were over 20,000 views on the event’s website.

Among the venues opening up their doors were Exeter Cathedral, Tuckers Hall and Exeter Guildhall.

Simon Timms, of the Exeter Canal & Quay Trust, congratulated the Council and its programme co-ordinator Sophie Allen for the local initiative. He said: “Overall a great success and just what Exeter’s heritage sector needed to feel better connected and appreciated in these difficult times.”

Another fan of the event was the Lord Mayor of Exeter, Cllr Peter Holland, who attended a number of the events across the city, including a visit to the Custom House to see Brendan Barry’s fascinating camera obscura and a trip to the Devon and Exeter Institution.

Cllr Holland said: “I was delighted to discover that the Devon and Exeter Institution has, very recently, received a National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant in the sum of £1 million and to hear some of their business plans.  Amongst many things I really enjoyed the Floral Fun Workshop in the garden. The children were clearly enjoying the activity and their sense of fun was infectious.  They were a credit to their families and above all to themselves.   The Mums and Dads were also engaging and appreciative of what their children were doing in the workshop!''

He added: “Exeter is at the heart of the West Country, it is the County 'Town'.  It is rich in history and architecture.  This long and colourful history dating back to Roman Times  brings visitors to the City from all over the world who in normal times add much to the Economy of Exeter''.   Although heavily attacked during WW2 we are indebted to the Free Polish Airforce who protected our City during that conflict so that we may enjoy and appreciate the buildings listed above which are, thankfully, still with us today!"

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