Free access to heritage properties this weekend

PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 06 May 2010

The Clock Tower is the only medieval town belfry to survive in Britain

The Clock Tower is the only medieval town belfry to survive in Britain

FREE access to local properties not generally open to the public will be available from today (Thursday) until Sunday as part of countrywide Heritage Open Days. They celebrate England s culture and architecture and include tours, events, lectures and acti

FREE access to local properties not generally open to the public will be available from today (Thursday) until Sunday as part of countrywide Heritage Open Days.

They celebrate England's culture and architecture and include tours, events, lectures and activities as well as offering free entry to buildings which are either not open or charge an entrance fee.

Among the buildings in St Albans which will be open are The Clock Tower in Market Place, the only medieval town belfry to survive in Britain, Dalton House in Catherine Street which is thought to be the inspiration for Charles Dickens' Bleak House, and Kingsbury Watermill with its displays of old machinery and tools.

St Albans Abbey will be offering tours of its 11th-century Norman Bell tower as well as Stone Store tours showing carvings from the medieval buildings.

A special exhibition on portraiture entitled Faces will be on offer at the Museum of St Albans and Roman soldiers from Legion IV will be discussing their fighting tactics at Verulamium Museum.

St Albans Signal Box, a Grade Two listed building, which was once derelict and has been refurbished over the past few years thanks to lottery and railway heritage funding, will allow the public on to the upper working deck for the first time.

It is located in Ridgmont Road and last year when only the lower deck was available to view, it attracted more than 500 visitors.

The Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Bert Pawle, urged people to immerse themselves in the district's heritage. He added: "The city and district has a wealth of sites and places to visit and explore."

Further information about what is included in the programme is available in a leaflet or by phoning the Tourist and Information Centre behind the Town Hall on 01727 864511. Alternatively go to the council's website on www.stalbans.gov.uk and click on Heritage Open Days.

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