Heritage days will reveal Cheltenham gems
ARCHITECTURAL gems are poised to throw their doors open to the public as part of a scheme which celebrates Cheltenham's intriguing history.
From ancient churches to glimpses of the family homes of celebrated public figures, every nook and cranny will be open for inspection for four days this week.
A spokesman for Cheltenham Civic Society said: "Cheltenham heritage open days celebrates the town's heritage with many buildings not normally open to the public, ranging from its days as a spa town to its present day award-winning buildings, and all free to explore.
"There are a number of walks, led by experts in their subject, organised to show the various aspects of this beautiful heritage town."
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Places of worship, schools and eco-friendly homes are among those people can tour as part of the initiative, which starts on Thursday.
Churches dating to the 1800s, including Cambray Baptist and the town centre's St Mary's, are among those revealing their secrets.
Other buildings range from the Eagle Tower, which dates to the 1960s, to the 1930s Sandford Parks Lido or Grade I-listed Pittville Pump Room.
Holst Birthplace Museum will give people a glimpse of a Victorian-Edwardian family home, much as it would have been when composer Gustav Holst grew up there in the 1870s.
Walks will also take people on tours of the town, including one which focuses on the medical history of Cheltenham.
The University of Gloucestershire's Francis Close Hall campus is also taking part.
Dating back to 1847, Francis Close Hall, which cost around £12,000 to build, is a distinctive Cheltenham landmark and its chapel, archive room and inner quad will be open on Thursday and Friday.
The Grade II-listed Chapel of St Mary and St Paul is an example of Edwardian architecture and was built in 1909 to support the students of St Paul's and St Mary's Teacher Training College.
The University Archives and Special Collections department is the official repository for the historic records of the university and houses a mix of several special collections.
These include the Gloucestershire Poets, Writers and Artists Collection, the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Library and the St Paul's Practising School Old Boys' Association and the Practising School Archive.