Keep Learning: Heritage Open Days 2017

Every September, thousands of rarely-seen places and spaces in the UK are opened to the public as part of Heritage Open Days, offering people the chance to explore their area’s history and culture without spending a penny.

With our links to the abolition of slavery, history as a bustling trading hub and maritime past, Hull’s fascinating heritage is impossible to ignore. You may think you’re already clued up on the stories that brought us to where are today, but there’s still plenty to discover.

As part of our Make It Happen campaign, we’re encouraging you to visit some of Hull’s hidden treasures and uncover the fascinating stories that make our city so unique. You’re never too old to learn, so get yourself down to the Heritage Open Days (7-10 Sept) this year and prepare to be intrigued.

To get you started, here’s five of our top heritage picks.


7-8 Sept, 2pm-2.45pm (Free)

With its busy port, Hull was a popular trading destination at the start of the 20th century, and Pacific Exchange was at the centre of the prosperous grain and seeds trade, used as a trading exchange. This prosperity is reflected within the stunning architecture and fixtures of the building, housed on Hull’s cobbled High Street.

Today, Pacific Exchange is home to Hull 2017. As our office and headquarters, Pacific Exchange is a creative base from which to deliver our 365-day transformative arts and culture programme.

Join this 45-minute guided tour to learn more about the Exchange’s role in Hull’s history and discover how it has become a signifier of the city’s bright future.

No booking required, just turn up.

Larkin: New Eyes Each Year. Photo: © Tom Arran


7-8 Sept, 11am-4pm (Free)

Explore the inner sanctum of acclaimed poet and former University of Hull librarian Philip Larkin. In this guided tour, you’ll enter Larkin’s former office in the librarian’s suite of the newly refurbished Brynmor Jones Library, getting an insight into the mind of one of Britain’s most acclaimed poets.

And don’t forget to check out Larkin: New Eyes Each Year whilst you’re there. In the ground floor gallery of the library, this biographic exhibition explores the connections between Larkin’s life and work as a librarian in Hull along with the writing that led to his success. From unseen letters to photography and personal possessions, there’s plenty to see.

To book your place on the guided tour, please email Entry to the exhibition does not require booking.

The Guildhall. Photo: © Chris Pepper


8 Sept, 9.30am, 11.30am, 2pm & 9 Sept, 9.30am, 11.30am (Free)

With a grand staircase, marble floors and corridors lined with acres of oak and walnut, Hull’s stunning Guildhall is a sight to behold. For Heritage Open Days, Councillor Helene O’Mullane will conduct guided tours, showcasing the Guildhall’s extensive collection of fine art, sculpture, furniture, silverware and civic insignia.

Designed by Sir Edwin Cooper and built between 1904-1916, the building formerly housed the city’s courts and cells and these will be also available to view as part of the tour, which is not to be missed.

To book your place, please telephone 01482 592929.


8-9 Sept, 10am-4pm (Free)

Built as Hull’s newest branch library in 1905 using funds from the Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the Grade II listed Carnegie Centre attracts attention for its striking appearance, but many people are unaware of its use.

Designed by City Architect Joseph Hirst, the unusual building is partly timber-framed and has retained many of its beautiful original features. No longer used as a library, a team of volunteers at the centre work tirelessly to keep it open as a facility for discovering local and family history.

No booking required, just turn up.

The Annison Building. Photo: © Chris Pepper


8 Sept, 10am-2pm & 9 Sept, 10am-5pm (Free)

Facing visitors heading over North Bridge, the Annison Building has had many guises over the years, including the Annison Funeral Parlour, Hull’s mounted police headquarters, a photographer’s studio and a Ringtons Tea shop.

Now home to a late-night pharmacy, the imposing building has hung onto a number of quirky features, including a horse stairway that leads to a first floor stable, and is also said to be one of Hull’s most haunted buildings.

Join a guided tour as part of Heritage Open Days to explore this unique space, learn about the businesses that operated there and hear stories about the Annison family. There’ll be candy floss and Italian gelato on hand in the courtyard and an art exhibition in the old hay lofts, so plenty to keep you busy.

To book your place, please telephone 01482 307880.

For more information about Heritage Open Days in Hull, check out the Heritage Open Day website or pick up a free copy of this year’s guide at our Welcome Pod in Hull Interchange. To find out more about new and different experiences you can try during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture, check out our Make It Happen campaign.