They are buildings familiar to thousands of people in Huddersfield.

But now some of the town’s hidden gems are to open their doors.

And anyone who has ever fancied nosing around behind the scenes of some of the areas most well-loved buildings is in for a treat as 28 sites across Kirklees are opening their doors to the public this week.

The events are part of the Heritage Open Days – Open Weekend and mark 20 years of offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.

Every year in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a chance to discover architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.

Two of the more unusual offerings in Huddersfield this time will see a behind the scenes tours of Huddersfield Library and and of Northumberland Street Post Office. Tours of the library are on Thursday at 11am and 3pm, while at the post office they are each day from Thursday to Sunday.

There will also be be open days at many of the town’s old churches and museums.

Tolson Museum will host an exhibition of classic motorbikes and local Civic Society officials are organising historic walking tours of Huddersfield.

In North Kirklees, visitors can enjoy free entry Oakwell Hall and Red House Museum where the Friends Of groups will be running activities for all the family to enjoy. Dewsbury Town Hall will also be opening its doors, with a full programme of activities to marks its 125th anniversary year.

Huddersfield Local History Society and Huddersfield Civic Society have taken the initiative to coordinate a programme of activities for the town centre, supported by Kirklees Council. The two societies are members of Discover Huddersfield, a community led partnership offering new ways to experience the town’s buildings, business and social history. There will be open buildings as well as walks, talks and exhibitions.

Other unusual buildings that will be open include Huddersfield Water Tower behind the railway station, the Quaker Meeting House at High Flatts, Marsden Parish Church and the Victoria Tower on Castle Hill.

For more details about the events visit the heritage open day’s website at www.heritageopendays.org.uk or pick up a leaflet at one of Kirklees museums, galleries or libraries.

It’s the weekend when we can all poke about old monuments and churches that are normally inaccessible to the general public.

The Friends of St Mary’s Community Heritage Site in Mirfield organised their first Heritage open day event last September and this year will be even more eventful with an archaeological dig on the site.

St Mary's Church community heritage site, Mirfield
St Mary's Church community heritage site, Mirfield
 

The excavation will be to the rear of the church and adjacent to the Castle Hall Hill ancient monument, (medieval 11th century motte and bailey).

It is being led by Dr Stuart Wrathmell, head of archaeology West Yorkshire, and supported by three other archaeologists.

A geophysical survey has recently been carried out to the rear of the current St Mary’s Grade II listed church. The results look promising and it is hoped some finds will be made.

On Friday students from Castle Hall School, Mirfield, will be the sole participants of the dig. And over the weekend the event is open to the public.

The church will be open and medieval artefacts such as the Mirfield Stone and gravemarker will be on show. There will also be other artefacts such as the charitable stone tablet, plague stone and the 19th century murder gravestone.

Saturday opening: 10am-4pm and Sunday: 10am to 5pm.

A glimpse of life for Huddersfield’s Polish community over the years will be on offer on Saturday.

As part of the Heritage Open Days project, there will be a Huddersfield Polish Heritage Walk.

It takes place as the community commemorates 75 years since Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 which sparked off one of the worst conflicts in human history.

Polish Church and Community Centre, Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield.
Polish Church and Community Centre, Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield.
 

The walk, led by Frank Grombir, will also provide an insight into the Polish life and culture in the town. For instance, the visitors to the church of Our Lady of Czestochowa will also hear about pre-Polish history of the building when it was used by the Unitarians.

The main part of the walk will consist of a tour around the Polish Catholic Centre on Fitzwilliam Street where the story of how the Poles established their community will be told.

Visitors will be able to see the interior of the church with its many unique features, the church hall and the Saturday School where many generations of children have been educated in the Polish language, history and traditions.

  • The walk starts in St George’s Square at 2.30pm.