The doors of one of the oldest concert halls in Europe will be thrown open from 10am – 3pm for tours, talks, exhibitions and even a bit of dressing up, as St George’s Hall joins thousands of other venues to take part in national Heritage Open Days.
Local history expert Helen Broadhead will lead the first 90-minute tour at 11am, which takes in back stage areas not usually accessible to the public. She will talk about women’s rights protests at St George’s Hall, including the demonstrations led by Emmeline and Adela Pankhurst, the suffragettes who interrupted the speeches of Prime Minister Asquith and Winston Churchill and other stories of Bradford Suffragettes active in protest.
Pioneering Bradford Lasses will be the subject of a second talk and tour, led by Penny Green, Heritage Learning Officer for Bradford Theatres, at 1pm. Supported by fascinating objects, photographs and documents from Bradford Museums, it highlights pioneering local women including Margaret McMillan (1860 – 1931) whose campaigning led to the Provision of School Meals Act in 1906, Keighley-born Margaret Wintringham who became the first ever female Liberal MP in 1921, and Bradford born, Julia Varley OBE, (1871 – 1952) a pioneering trade unionist and suffragette.
Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said:
"It is wonderful that we can open the doors of St George's Hall and join this national celebration of our heritage, community and history. The venue has a long and fascinating association with politics and protestors such as the suffragettes, and this open day provides an opportunity to learn more, and also see the splendid new refurbishment."
The Grade ll listed historic St George’s Hall re-opened to the public in in February this year following a £9.8 million transformation, made possible by Bradford Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It included major works to the roof, windows, electrics and stone work.
The Open Day, on Saturday 14 September, is a free event; however places on the tours are limited, so must be booked in advance. Visit the website bradfordtheatres.co.uk or call 01274 432000.