IT WILL soon be time to unlock hundreds of doors and reveal the secrets of Oxford’s most famous buildings and companies.

Oxford Open Doors celebrates the city’s heritage next month and the public is invited to visit sites across the city and universities free of charge.

Now in its seventh year, Open Doors is centred on the weekend of Saturday, September 13m and Sunday, September 14.

This year’s event will mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare and the city’s close links with the Bard.

Creation Theatre actors will be appearing across the city to deliver speeches in colleges and museums, and run Shakespeare tours and walks.

The Painted Room, in Cornmarket, the site of the Crown Tavern where Shakespeare is believed to have stayed, will open.

Oxford Register Office, which earlier this year was in danger of demolition to make way for a new £35m science centre, will be among the buildings to be involved for the first time.

The office, in Tidmarsh Lane in the city centre, houses all the birth and marriage certificates of city residents from 1837, including famous figures from history. Among those on show will be the marriage certificates of Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie.

This year will also see the Griffith Institute, the home of Oxford University’s Egyptology collection, Lincoln College and the new John Henry Brookes building at Oxford Brookes University opening.

The event has been organised by Oxford Preservation Trust whose director Debbie Dance and the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Tony Stratton, launched the programme at Oxford Castle on Monday.

She said: “We never cease to be amazed by the hidden history of our Oxford buildings, they just keep on coming.

“This year’s programme opens places across the town, the university and colleges.”

The Oxford Open Doors brochure is now available, and the website will shortly go live with bookings from August 18.

  • For details about places taking part this year, visit or pick up a brochure from libraries, cultural centres, the Tourist Information Office and Oxford Castle Unlocked.


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