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Heritage Open Days to bring high street action zone to life

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This Saturday (September 11) Middlesbrough town centre will become a hive of history-inspired activity as part of the Middlesbrough High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Programme and the annual Heritage Open Days festival.

The HSHAZ-supported Heritage Open Days activities include an exhibition at Teesside Archives, tours of the Historic Quarter and a HSHAZ Community Engagement and Cultural Programme collaboration at The Masham with Navigator North.

The Teesside Archives at Exchange House Exhibition (Saturday 11 September, 10am-3pm), featuring historic plans of the Royal Exchange and newly digitised photographs of the Historic Quarter, will offer the public a final opportunity to visit the long-time home of the service before their switch to the Dorman Museum in 2022. Tours of the Historic Quarter will also be available during the day.

The link-up between the HSHAZ Community Engagement and Cultural Programmes will see one of the original crests from the Royal Exchange building, demolished in the 1980s, on show to the public for the first time in decades as part of the new 'Exchange' exhibition at The Masham (From Saturday 11 September, 10am-4pm) as part of the 'Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough' programme.

Next week, Heritage Open Days continutes with a tour of The Zetland Hotel (Monday 13 September 12-1pm), the historic Middlesbrough pub dating back to the Victorian era which boasts an impressive, restored tiled restaurant area, and an opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes view of Commerce House (Thursday 16 September, 12-1pm and 2pm-3pm) in the town's Exchange Square. There will also be an online talk on Memories of Middlesbrough in the 1970s and 1980s as part of the national celebration of history and heritage.

Middlesbrough High Street HSHAZ Community Engagement Officer Dr Tosh Warwick said: "Heritage Open Days is a fantastic opportunity to showcase history and re-engage communities with Middlesbrough town centre and historic heart of our town in exciting, imaginative ways through collaborations with archives, artists, businesses and local venues."

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Deputy Mayor and Executive member for Culture & Communities, said: "Middlesbrough has an amazingly rich cultural and industrial heritage which deserves to be celebrated.

"These Heritage Open Days really do have something for everyone, and offer a fascinating window into the industry and communities that helped shape the town we know and love today."

The Middlesbrough HSHAZ, a partnership led byHistoric England and Middlesbrough Council, will transform the Historic Quarter  with a programme of improvements designed to reinvigorate the area and attract investment. The programme of improvements will run from September 2020 to March 2024 alongside extensive community engagement and cultural programmes.

Every single Heritage Open Days event is free. For details, booking details and opening times, visit the Heritage Open Days website.

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