This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Bristol Doors Open Days 2017

Find out what happened when we opened our South West HQ building as part of Bristol Doors Open Days.

A huge cultural event

On Friday 8 September, we opened Historic England’s South West offices to the public for the first time as part of Bristol’s hugely popular Doors Open Days.

Doors Open Days is one of Bristol’s biggest cultural events. Produced by the Bristol Architecture Centre and part of Heritage Open Days, Doors Open Day is now in its 24th year. It inspires around 70,000 visits to the city’s historic and contemporary buildings, encouraging people to experience them at first hand.

Grotesque mask on the front of 29 Queen Square Bristol
Grotesque mask - an architectural feature on the facade of 29 Queen Square © Historic England

More than just a funding partner

We’ve helped fund Bristol Doors Open Days through a capacity-building grant since 2016, but offering our office as a new venue for the 2017 event was a great way to show our support for this much-loved festival.

We were delighted that people were interested in visiting our building, and that tickets for our tours were snapped up in a couple of days.  

Staff ready to welcome visitors to 29 Queen Square on Bristol Doors Open Days 
Staff ready to welcome visitors to 29 Queen Square on Bristol Doors Open Days © Historic England

Sharing our stories

We welcomed 65 visitors to our specially researched guided tours, all delivered by members of our local team. We shared the story of 29 Queen Square, from its construction in 1711 as a wealthy merchant’s house with an elaborate façade complete with grotesque masks, to its decline in fortunes in the mid-18th century when Victorian philanthropists bought it as a home for destitute sailors. Finally, the building was converted in the late-20th century to the offices we occupy today. The hidden gems we pointed out to our visitors included a late-18th century safe, tiny plaster cherubs, and plaques recording the benefactors of the sailors’ cabins. We loved meeting everyone who came along and received very positive feedback. Watch this space - we’re considering running another event next year.

Get involved!

Have you got photos or documents about 29 Queen Square? We'd love you to share them. Please Enrich the List, and see what we've already added to tell the story of our Bristol HQ!

A brass benefactors' plaque from 1920, when 29 Queen Square was a Sailors' Home
A benefactor's plaque dating to 1920, when 29 Queen Square was a Sailors' Home © Historic England
Was this page helpful?