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Contributed by Diana Bevan

This year fifteen events and openings were arranged in the urban and rural districts of Newcastle.
In the town, several churches took part, St. George’s, Holy Trinity, King Street Congregational Church and St. Paul’s were all open to visitors.
Once again the Unitarian Meeting House (1717) and the Newcastle Cemetery Chapel (1866) were open and, for the first time, The Barracks, built in 1855.
Newcastle Borough Council arranged for tours of the newly refurbished Lancaster Buildings, and what a delight it was to see inside!
At Whitmore, the Mayor of Newcastle unveiled a Civic Society ‘Blue Plaque’ on the old railway station booking office.  This was followed by a social history walk.
Brian Nixon led a group on a walk at ‘The Bottom End of Silverdale’ and there were films shown at the Bethel Centre on Silverdale in the past.
At Kidsgrove, Philip Leese led an industrial history walk at Birchenwood, the site of the old colliery and ironworks and the ‘Loop Line.’
Keele also proved very popular with three hundred visitors enjoying tours of the hall, the university chapel and the grounds and a viewing of the Raven-Mason ceramics collection.
As part of Newcastle Library’s ‘history of the month’, Andrew Dobraszczyc led tours of St. Giles’ Church, Carlton House and the Wine Vaults.
Heritage Open Days are held annually and Newcastle-under-Lyme is very much a part of this national event.
Visitor numbers varied considerably from venue to venue and there were one or two disappointments, but every opening and event is a success story for our heritage.
Everyone says that they want buildings preserved and the demise of the Municipal Hall is always a talking point!
Make a date for next year!

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