Sandwell celebrates heritage open days

Published 23rd August 2016

Amazing historic buildings in Sandwell will be sharing some of their secrets and stories when they open their doors to the public as part of national Heritage Open Days.

From September 8 to 11 lots of events and activities are lined up showcase the borough’s fascinating past including the childhood home of one of the most famous historical characters in American history.

Visitors can learn what West Bromwich was like in the 1650s, enjoy live music, talks, walks, open days, food tasting, canal heritage and much more.

“It is a great opportunity to tell the stories of the people and places around us and for visitors to get a glimpse behind the scenes at buildings or areas not usually open to the public or even just enjoy a great family day out with some of the events on offer’ said  Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure.

 “‘It is fantastic for Sandwell’s Heritage to be showcased alongside the heritage of other areas around the county – we have some amazing places to be proud of which are as fascinating and as important as historic buildings and sites anywhere in the country and we really want people to appreciate their own inheritance and the importance of these sites, what is great about all these activities is it’s free to explore.”

You can find out where you can discover or what activities you can enjoy across the borough at

What’s on in Sandwell

The Manor House Museum, Hall Green Rd, West Bromwich, B71 2 EA—0121 588 2985

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September 11am-4pm. Discover what Medieval people ate and find out if you would have survived the culinary skills of a medieval chef. You will be able to sample some food and take recipes away with you to try at home. The cottage will also be open for a rare chance to see inside one of the surviving medieval out buildings of the house – what would it have been in the 1400s? You are in for a surprise. You can also discover our witch marks and take our free guided tours.

Galton Valley Pumping Station, off Brasshouse Lane, Smethwick, call 0121 556 0683

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September, 10am- 3pm. Visit the canal museum housed in the New Smethwick Pumping Station and discover life and work on the canals. Museum staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions and provide light refreshments. There will be craft activities and trails for young visitors and walks to the Smethwick Engine House at 11am and 1pm.

Bishop Asbury’s Cottage, Newton Road, Great Barr B43 6HN call 0121 556 0683

Sunday 11 September 2pm-5pm. This is a rare chance to see this tiny cottage which was the childhood home of Francis Asbury, the first Methodist Bishop of the USA.  Asbury is a famous historical figure in America and has his own statue on Capitol Hill although he is little known in his home country.

Wednesbury Museum & Art Gallery, Holyhead Rd, Wednesbury, Ws10 7DF, 0121 556 0683

Saturday 10 September  2.30pm-4pm. Local historian Ian Bott gives a talk about the mansions which were once all over the Black Country which are now lost.

Thursday 8 September, 11am-4pm, Saturday 10 September, 2pm-5pm I remember that!. Celebrate our new 'Nostalgia Rooms' display and travel back with us to the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s with our nostalgic room settings plus extra objects on display, photographs of Sandwell people celebrating and meeting the Queen in the 50s, 60s and 70s, quizzes, trails, children's craft activities and lots of mid-century memories and nostalgia for all, play some old games, try some 1970s snacks and watch some classic children's TV shows.

Oak House Museum, Oak Rd, West Bromwich, B70 8HJ –0121 553 0759

Thursday 8 September: 2pm-4.30pm and Sunday 11 September: 2pm-4:30pm. Discover what the Oak House would have been like at its height in the 1650s. Take our self-guided trail which points out some of the features which Master John Turton would have recognised in his home as he moved from being a yeoman to a gentleman. Have a go at some hands on activities with the servant in the dairy and we'll be taking small groups up to the animal room on the third floor not usually open to the public throughout the afternoon.  Younger visitors can enjoy our playground and our children's craft activities. Our tearoom is open for snacks and drinks but why not bring a picnic.

Thursday 8 and Sunday 11, 2pm-5pm A Victorian Lady Traveller - Islamic Art Exhibition. Discover items on display brought back by local lady Victorian traveller Helen Caddick from far flung places.  Currently there is an exhibition of the Islamic Art which Helen brought back with items from medieval times up to the 19th century but more items will be on display as part of Heritage Open Days from some of the other countries she visited.

Haden Hill House Museum, off Barrs Rd, Cradley Heath, B64 7JU, 01384 569 444

Thursday 8 September, Friday  9 September, tour 11am-12.30pm Historical Landscape Tour of Haden Hill Park.  Booking essential. Take a fascinating history and landscape tour of this historic landscape with local historian John Billingham who has undertaken extensive research to be able to tell you the story of this beautiful parkland. The park is quite steep in places so please wear sensible footwear and a reasonable level of fitness to keep up with the tour will be required.

Thursday 8 and Friday 9 10am-4:30pm. Saturday 10 and Sunday 11, 2pm-5:30pm. Best’s Angels.  Learn about the lives of the two adopted daughters (Emily and Alice) of George  Alfred Haden Haden-Best who built and owned Haden Hill House.  Visitors can discover Emily's diaries and how they reveal the  travels which the girls took around Britain. Alice was also a keen photographer and visitors can see a selection of photographs from 47 glass plates purchased several years ago of  photos of the family   On Saturday 10th September visitors can take their own Victorian portrait which may find its way onto the mantelpieces in the house.  There will also be arts and crafts activities and trails for younger visitors.

Sunday 11 September 2pm-6pm, Proms in the Park. Our popular live music afternoon returns to  celebrate Heritage Open Days with jazz, easy listening music and Halesowen Brass Band live in the park outside the beautiful Haden Hill House Museum. Why not bring your picnic, a chair or blanket and your flags and enjoy the atmosphere in our beautiful park.

Haden Old Hall (next to Haden Hill House)

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th 2pm-5pm discover 400 years of history at our Haden Old Hall open day.

Heritage Open Days is the largest heritage festival in the country; in 2015, more than 4,800 events welcomed around three million visitors across England.