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West Berkshire history on display for heritage open days

Learn more about Newbury Town Hall, Shaw House and other sites

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NEWBURY Town Hall will be throwing open its doors tomorrow (Friday) for people to see the local history stored within.

People can view the council chamber, the civic staircase, the town hall portraits, the town council’s maces and other civic regalia. 

These include the town hall honours boards, which list Newbury’s mayors from 1596, and features many well-known local families.

Newbury Town Council said that although its meetings are open to the public, and that coffee mornings are regularly held in the chamber, it appears that lots of local people who have not visited.

The Victorian Town Hall was built from 1876 to 1878 and the town hall clock and clock tower were added in 1881. The municipal offices, facing Mansion House Street, were built from 1909-10.

The town hall portraits on the civic staircase include the portrait of “Jack of Newbury” dated 1550, as well as King George III and Queen Charlotte.

The recently gifted painting of “The Newbury Coat” is also on display. In the Council Chamber, as well as the Honours Boards, the Mayor’s Throne and the Council’s maces will be on display. The maces date from 1707 (Queen Anne) and 1758 (King George II).

The open evening is part of national Heritage Week and runs from 4pm to 8pm on Friday, September 9.

Officers and council members will be in attendance. The free event is open to all and no booking is required. Children must be supervised and a lift is available for anyone with physical disabilities.

Heritage Open Days are the largest heritage festival in the country, with more than 4,800 events welcoming around three million visitors across England in 2015.

Also taking place in West Berkshire are an exhibition at Shaw House; heritage trails at the West Berkshire Museum; bell ringing at St Mary’s Church, East Ilsley; and learning Aldermaston’s First World War history at St Mary’s Church.

For details and opening times visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk

Heritage Open Days operates as part of the National Trust with funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Events are free, including access to many sites that usually charge for admission.

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