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Vikings ready to raid the festival
THE Vikings are coming... but the looting and pillaging will be put on hold while St Helens celebrates its rich heritage.
You can discover our town’s hidden treasures as the brilliant St Helens Heritage Festival returns.
The festival, which runs over four weeks of entertainment and events, was a huge success last year, with thousands of visitors flocking to St Helens.
Organisers hope to build upon last year’s triumph.
Events start with Heritage Celebrations on Friday, August 31 and Saturday, September 1 in The Gamble Building in Victoria Square.
Later there’s a special Viking Day packed with Norse-themed entertainment, including re-enactments, arts and crafts and street performances.
This year also marks the 80th anniversary of Saints’ first league championship victory, and the momentous occasion will be celebrated at Saints’ ground, Langtree Park.
Saints historian Alex Service and members of the Saints Heritage Organisation will deliver a presentation based around the illustrious 1932 championship winners, and there will be an opportunity to see original trophies from that time.
The council will also be hosting its Classic Car Show on Saturday, September 15, in Church Square, including a replica of the iconic James Bond 007 Aston Martin DB5.
The Open Doors Project is a key attraction which aims to encourage people to access the two million historical documents on the borough’s history, and the archives situated in the Central Library, Gamble building provide a one-stop-shop for historical fact finding.
The Gamble building will also open its doors to show parts of the building not usually seen by the public. Everyone is welcome to visit treasures from the archives and take part in activities.
Ray French MBE, Saints star of the 1960s and the voice of countless BBC and radio broadcasts, will also speak about the game that has dominated his life.
Heritage Open Days on Friday, September 7, to Sunday, September 9, celebrate architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public.
Locations include St Helens Town Hall, the Friends Meeting House, St Helens Masonic Hall, The World of Glass, Citadel Arts Centre, St Mary’s Lowe House, St Helens Parish Church, St Aidan’s Church of England Church, Sutton Oak Welsh Chapel, Dream, Holy Cross and St Helens Parish Church, St Helens Sea Cadets, Windleshaw Chantry, Smithy Heritage Centre, Haydock Community Group, Fir Tree Farm and St Peter's Church in Parr.
Visitors can also experience the Treasures of the Archives (Gamble Building), Sankey Canal Guided Walk and the St Helens Cemetery Tour.
Thursday, September 6, sees a council-hosted, heritage-themed Grand Tea Dance at St Helens Town Hall celebrating the Victorian era. The dance takes place between 2pm and 4pm, with doors opening at 1pm.
Also, at Langtree Park will be St Helens PALS Project, relatives of those who served in the 11th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment.
There will also be the opportunity to meet other families whose ancestors served in the Great War. This is a drop-in event, and families from the north west are invited to share family history and find out more about fallen ancestors.