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Open season as Kingston buildings celebrate Heritage Open Days
Kingston Aviation Centenary Project leader David Hassard with Balletboyz executive director Kerry Whelan at the aviation exhibition
Some of Kingston’s most historic buildings opened their doors to the public over the weekend, for the annual Heritage Open Days.
Landmarks including All Saints Church, the Lambeth Waterworks and the Bentall Centre all gave visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the borough’s best known, but seldom seen, sights.
At the Balletboyz Dance Studio, a former aircraft factory in Canbury Park Road, Kingston, an exhibition was held commemorating 100 years of Kingston’s aviation history.
David Hassard, joint project leader of Kingston Aviation Centenary Project, said: “We had a fantastic two days.
“We had 240 people turn up which is quite staggering.
“There was terrific interest, and it was the first time we have had an exhibition in a building which is actually part of Kingston’s aviation heritage.
“The room was marvellous for us. The lighting and the big windows – the Balletboyz have made it so fresh and it’s a really wonderful atmosphere.
“There were even people who remembered working in the building, and right next door you’ve got Siddeley House. It’s a wonderful location.”
Visitors to the aviation exhibiton at Balletboyz Dance Studio admire a bust of Hawker Siddeley's chief test pilot Alfred William Bedford
“We were always hoping this year would attract even more visitors to a greater number and wider variety of venues and early reports suggest that’s happened.
Simon Tyrrell, who organised the open days on behalf of the Kingston Society along with Julia Rees and Jill Green, said: “Aside from old favourites like Frederick Payne undertakers, some new venues opened for the first time, like the Cornerhouse arts centre, the old police station on Ewell Road that now houses the London International Study Centre and the Ballet Boyz studios in their redeveloped aviation building.
"This appropriately hosted the Kingston aviation history exhibition.
The Cornerhouse in Douglas Road, Tolworth
“If the dozens visiting St John the Baptist church in Old Malden and enjoying the Mayor’s Parlour in the Guildhall, the fully booked tours of the Private House and art collection and the 70 folk who caught the story of how water from Seething Wells helped defeat King Cholera are typical, then we’re optimistic there were more visitors than last year.
“We couldn’t have done it without the tremendous help and support of all the venues participating and we’d like to thank them for all they did to make it such a success.”
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