Heritage tours at Durham University
(24 August 2006)
Tours of areas of the University not normally open to the public will be offered as part of the City of Durham’s Heritage Open Days events on 7-10 September. The programme provides an opportunity to explore local architecture, history and culture, offering special public access, free of charge, to buildings of historic and architectural interest.
They include: Old Shire Hall, Old Elvet, which has been part of several recent Heritage Days in Durham. Its sturdy red brick and terra cotta and ornate stained glass make this Grade II listed building one of the city’s most distinctive 19th century structures. This year’s visits will take place on Saturday 9 September at 10.30, 11.15, 12.00, 12.45, 13.30, 14.15 and 15.00 and must be booked in advance on 0191 384 3720 (max. 15 people per tour). Palace Green Library will also be opening some hidden parts of its buildings. Included in the tours will be a visit to the medieval Exchequer building of the Palatinate of Durham and to Bishop Cosin's Library, which was founded in 1669 by John Cosin (1595-1672) as an endowed public library for local clergy and people of scholarly interests and is still housed in its original specially erected building. In 2005 Bishop Cosin's Library with its collections was recognised as having outstanding national and international importance under the Designation Scheme operated by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Those coming on the tours will also have an opportunity to view the new exhibition, "The changing face of Durham City", which will open at the Library on 29 August 2006 and continue until December. There will be four tours of the buildings on Saturday 9 September at 10.00, 11.30, 13.30 and 14.30. Tours must be booked in advance on 0191 334 2932, and the maximum number of people per tour will be 20. Visitors may also enjoy a guided tour of Durham Castle. This Grade I listed building dates from 1072 and was the residence of the Prince Bishops until 1832. It now houses the University College. Tours will take place on Sunday 10 September, every half hour between 11.00 and 16.30 and should be booked in advance on 0191 334 2932. Also open will be St John’s College Parsonage and Garden, based in a range of historic buildings on South Bailey. View the medieval Castle wall and the recently renovated Parsonage. Tours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (7-9 September). Meet at the College chapel – no booking necessary. Note re. disabled access Old Shire Hall – Wheelchair access to ground floor only, no disabled toilet. Tour covers ground and first floors. Palace Green Library, Durham Castle and St John’s College - Unfortunately the tours are not suitable for disabled people as they involve climbing stairs and stone steps.