Heritage Open Days at Sandwell museums

Published 2nd September 2019

Vikings at Haden Old Hall

Staff and volunteers at Sandwell museums are getting ready for National Heritage Open Days this month - when visitors get free admission visits to places of interest.

Visitors can explore Haden Hill Park, House and Old Hall, the historic Oak House and Manor House in West Bromwich and Galton Valley Pumping Station in Smethwick.

Go to our museums webpage for more details of activities.

People can stroll the grounds of Haden Hill Park with local historian John Billingham to learn more about 400 years history of the landscape. Booking for walks on Thursday 19 September and Saturday 21 September is advised. Call 01384 569 444.

Visitors can enjoy the opportunity to explore Haden Old Hall, on Saturday 14 September, 2-5pm, and Sunday 15 September, 12-4pm, and discover the chequered history of this 17th century farmhouse.

On Sunday 15 September, 12-4pm, the Vikings will be invading Haden Old Hall and you can meet Vikings, travel back in time and see what life was like more than 1,000 years ago.

People can also unlock some of Haden Hill’s dark corners with cellar tours of Haden Old Hall and attic tours at Haden Hill's Victorian House. Booking essential.

Meanwhile, at the Oak House on Thursday 12 September and Thursday 19 September, visitors can enjoy a guided tour at 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Places can be booked on 0121 553 0759.

On Sunday 15 September and Sunday 22 September at Oak House, from 2-5pm, there will be costumed characters demonstrating women’s work in the 17th century during the Civil War. Discover the Protestation returns of 1641-1642 and find out who in West Bromwich signed an oath ‘to live and die for the true Protestant religion’.

There will also be a small textile exhibition showcasing amazing textiles and needlework, some of which is more than 400 years old and visitors can try their hand at Nålbinding also known as Viking Knitting.

Heritage Open Days also offers residents the chance to discover more about one of the most famous people they have probably never heard of at Bishop Asbury’s Cottage at Newton Road, Great Barr, on Friday 13 September, 10am-12noon and Saturday 14 September, 1pm-3pm.

Asbury, who lived in the cottage before going to America to become one of the founding fathers of the Methodist Church.

Meet the servants at the Manor House on Sunday 15 September, 11am-3pm. Meet the 'Lord and Lady' on Sunday 22 September 11am-3pm and discover what life would have been like in medieval times. Booking is advised; call 0121 588 2985. 

Archaeologist Mike Hodder gives a talk on the Manor House's medieval history and landscape on Wednesday 18 September, 11am (doors open 10.45am). Booking is required. Then from 12-3pm, explore the Manor House and the old beams, plus enjoy refreshments in the Buttery Tea Room.

Volunteers will also be opening Galton Valley Pumping Station in Smethwick, on the mainline canal off Brasshouse Lane, on Saturday 14 September and Saturday 21 September, 10am-3pm, with guided walks to the Old Smethwick Engine House at 10am and 12pm.

Councillor Bob Lloyd, Sandwell Council's cabinet member with responsibility for museums, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local people and visitors from further afield to discover more about some of Sandwell’s wonderful heritage buildings.

“These special openings also give people the chance to hear some of the fascinating stories behind the buildings and for them to appreciate some of the nationally important places in Sandwell.”

All these events are free for visitors to explore and discover. Go to our museums webpage for more details and contact information.