Bishop Auckland was a hive of activity on Saturday, as over 1000 people came into town as it played host to a number of family friendly activities as part of the Bishop Auckland Heritage Festival 2023.
The main activity was focused around the Town Hall and Market Place a range of activities including talks by guest speakers Ed Waugh, Bryan Harris & Tony Nicholson. Tom Hutchinson, a Bishop Auckland born and bred author, was in attendance for his new book signing along with a number of groups from the County Durham History & Heritage Forum, Weardale Railway, the Young Archaeological Club and a many more. This all tied in nicely with the new art exhibition in the Town Hall called The Quest for the Perfect Shirt by Richard Bliss.
A vintage car show rolled into the Market Place thanks to The Northern Bygone Society with 26 vehicles on display, one of which had travelled all the way from Manchester. Mayor of Bishop Auckland Cllr Sam Zair had the privilege of presenting the ‘Best in Show’ award to an E type Jaguar series 2.
Mayor Sam Zair said “It is lovely to see such a range of coordinated activities taking place across partner organisations in the Town, to celebrate the rich history we have in Bishop Auckland and across the County. The speakers, tours, workshops and exhibitions have been excellent with something to see and do for all ages. The sock puppets and vintage cars have been a huge hit”.
Historic England hosted walking tours, which proved to be very popular and managed to dodge the showers and enable Bishop Auckland to shine in the sunshine as well as promoting their new book “Bishop Auckland: The growth of a historic market town”.
Jules Brown, Historic Places Advisor, Historic England said: “We’re really pleased Bishop Auckland has put on yet another successful Heritage Festival and we were excited to be part of it again, with our walking tours and selling our new book on the town’s historical development. The five-year Heritage Action Zone project, which ended in March, has left a brilliant legacy of people actively taking part in their local history and connecting folk to their past. It’s very exciting and we hope it continues for years to come.”
The Bishops Museum partnered with the Durham Amateur Football Trust artist Alastair Flindall to chat with people about mid-century amateur elite football and encouraged people to get involved with his latest piece, a football collage, which will become interactive.
The Auckland Project opened their doors to No.42 and hosted a number of children’s interactive activities with a historical twist whilst the Save The Odd Sock Society ran two popular puppet shows and workshops for the younger children at the Town Hall. St Andrew’s Church, which boasts a 749 year history also opened its doors for visitors.
Auckland Castle opened the gardens and played host to Bishop Auckland Horticulture and Produce Show, with a range of classes and competitions for both the professional and novice flower and vegetable growers.