Local people and properties stand out in national heritage festival

Local and national organisers of a festival which celebrates the people and properties at the heart of the UK’s history and heritage have cheered the success of the latest event and the part played by Hull and the East Riding.

Pat Coyle, Director of Marketing and Client Relations at Rollits, with the firm’s history timeline

John Netherwood, the organiser of Heritage Open Days in the region said the local programme is one of the biggest in the country.

In addition to churches, museums and other historic buildings, the programme featured more modern sites and properties including the tidal surge barrier, Hull Truck Theatre and the workshops at Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA).

The 2022 Heritage Open Days programme in Hull and East Yorkshire was launched at an event attended by representatives of businesses, local authorities and other organisations which supported the programme in a number of ways including sponsorship and opening their premises to the public.

Leading law firm Rollits LLP hosted the opening event at its offices in Citadel House, High Street, which are less than 20 years old but are home to a firm dating back more than 180 years.

Over the Heritage Open Days weekend, the firm also presented an exhibition of its own history with a timeline wall which was originally commissioned for its 175th anniversary and was on display again together with various artefacts including historic ledgers, documents and official stamps.

In addition, Rollits hosted a series of talks by guest speakers. Dr Brian Lavery told the story of Captain David Osborne, who was introduced as an adventurer, philanderer, gun runner and spy. Hull author and historian David Smith presented his illustrated history of Hull, and well-known tour guide Paul Schofield spoke about Hull’s Georgian suburbs.

Pat Coyle, Director of Marketing and Client Relations at Rollits said the move to Citadel House coincided with the firm’s 175-year milestone in 2016 and continued the firm’s commitment to the Old Town of Hull.

Pat said: “We could have moved out of the city centre but the firm has been in the Old Town ever since it was founded by Sir John Rollit in 1841 and we felt it was important to stay here.

“We have a building which is fit for purpose in the modern business world but we still have all our history behind us and we have supported Heritage Open Days for many years. Sometimes we present talks about the history of the firm and this year the organisers asked if we would also host some guest speakers and we were happy to do that.

“The festival has grown and grown over the years but we have plenty of space and it has been nice to welcome people to our office and give people an opportunity to see some of the artefacts we have here and explore some of our history. We get the timeline out for Heritage Open Days every year and for other special occasions, such as when we welcomed the Great Great Grandsons of John Rollit for a visit a few years ago.”

John Netherwood said: “Heritage Open Days aims to show off what we had, what we have now and, in some ways, to provide pointers to the future in these times of unprecedented regeneration and economic development of our city. It is our annual opportunity to brag about what a great city and region what we have.”

Sarah Holloway, project manager for the national Heritage Open Days team, said: “The Hull and Beverley programme is always one to watch for the national festival and they’ve astounded us again with a wonderful array of stories of the city and of its pioneers and places to discover.”