Some of the city of Ripon’s hidden buildings will be revealed to the public on Sunday 13 September when the Gazebo, an 18th-century garden folly off Blossomgate, the Masonic Hall in Water Skellgate, Ripon Grammar School’s library and Ripon Cathedral’s ringing chamber open their doors to visitors.
The Gazebo was constructed in the first part of the eighteenth century in the garden of a large house in fashionable Park Street. It was restored by Harrogate Borough Council, with the support of Ripon Civic Society, more than 20 years ago after many years of neglect. Two towers are linked by an open, balustraded walkway, from which the owners and their guests could look down on the extensive gardens. Visitors will be able to relive the experience, though the gardens are now in different ownership. The Gazebo is approached through Blossomgate Court, a sheltered housing scheme on Blossomgate. Ripon Civic Society opens it once a year to mark Heritage Open Days, when buildings around the country that normally have no public access welcome visitors.
At the Edwardian Masonic Hall of the De Grey and Ripon Lodge visitors will be able to see some of the Masonic treasures of one of the oldest Lodges in Yorkshire, some dating from the 18th century. At the heart of the building is the Temple, where the ceremonies are carried out. Members of the Lodge will be in the Hall to talk to visitors about the building and about Freemasonry.
In the Cathedral ringing chamber, in the south-west tower, visitors will be able to see where the peal of bells is rung, and hear about the art of change-ringing. Ripon Grammar School’s library, one of the original Grammar School buildings designed by Leeds-based architect George Corson, will also be open, with displays about the history of the school. All these buildings will be open from 2.00pm to 4.00pm on Sunday 13 September.
The day before, on Saturday 12 September, visitors can learn about ‘Paupers and the Prosperous at the Workhouse Garden’. Tours of the garden, behind the Workhouse Museum in Allhallowgate, will allow visitors to find out what both sides ate in an age of conspicuous consumption. Normal museum admission charges apply, and activities are free.
David Winpenny, Chairman of Ripon Civic Society, says, ‘Heritage Open Days offer everyone to the chance to discover buildings that are hidden or are usually closed. Do take to the opportunity to see just what Ripon has to offer; you may be surprised!’
Also open in the city at the weekend is the Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, while nearby are the Church of Christ the Consoler, Skelton-on-Ure, Sharow Church, Clifton Castle, and Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.
For more information: David Winpenny on 01765 607641 or 0777 888 1932.
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