• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Oxford Open Doors returns to city

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 12, 2022

Thousands of people turned out for an annual event which saw many historic and interesting Oxford buildings opening their doors to the public, with several “respectful” changes made in light of the Queen’s death.

Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) ran Oxford Open Doors at the weekend (September 10 and 11), with a variety of old and new venues welcoming the public to celebrate the city’s heritage and culture.

Sites included the Bodleian Libraries, St Hilda’s and Jesus College, Oxford Martin School, Lincoln College Library, Rewley Road Fire Station and the Old Fire Station theatre.

READ MORE: Oxford's Broad Street to be pedestrianised for trial scheme

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed NixPicture: Ed Nix

The OPT also used Oxford Open Doors to help celebrate the launch of its new Rose Hill heritage and green spaces project.

Using funding from Oxford City Council, it was able to work with the community in Rose Hill to create a self-guided walk which explores the history of the area.

OPT has been running Oxford Open Doors for 15 years. The weekend event was taken as an opportunity to honour what the trust called, Queen Elizabeth II’s “unique contribution to our great city’s heritage” following the announcement of her death.

The trust team decided to push ahead with the weekend despite several events being cancelled or postponed.

Debbie Dance, trust director, said members had been in touch with the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire – the monarch's representative in the county – and the team behind Charles III’s Proclamation ceremony to put plans in place for Oxford Open Doors.

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed NixPicture: Ed Nix

She said: "Members thought very hard and long about how the weekend could go forward and the decision was taken to remove balloons and the frivolous, party side of the event in order to be respectful and thoughtful”.

A minute's silence was also held at the beginning of the weekend and during the last event.

She said: “We did it in a respectful and more quiet way, but we thought people would want to see the heritage. Obviously, the Queen made a huge contribution to Oxford’s heritage over the years including, for Oxford Preservation Trust, opening Oxford Castle 15 years ago.”

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed NixPicture: Ed Nix

To remember the occasion, the trust based themselves at Oxford Castle for the weekend and put photographs of the Queen opening the castle on display for visitors.

Ms Dance said the team was grateful to everyone who worked with them to ensure they could continue with the weekend, saying the public had been pleased it went ahead.

She said: “This year all the donations will go to our Platinum Jubilee Appeal in memory of the Queen, so we hope everyone will keep giving.

"Thank you to all the venues and their teams and to all our volunteers who helped to make it such a special weekend. We will be back next year.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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