In 1775 Patrick Henry, one of the leaders of the American Revolution, stated that history was “a lamp by which my feet are guided…I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past”. This is the basis behind the National Heritage Open Days, in which Otley Methodist Church is taking part for the first time this year. The Heritage Open Days celebrate England's fantastic architecture, culture, and history by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public. Every year on the second weekend in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors to provide a chance to discover hidden architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities which bring to life local history and culture.
Heritage Open Days is England’s biggest and most popular voluntary cultural event. Last year the event attracted up to 1 million visitors. The Civic Trust gives central co-ordination and a national voice to the event, which is made possible by funding and support from English Heritage. Heritage Open Days was established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, in which 49 countries now participate. Philip Kolvin , Chairman of the Civic Trust, says: “Heritage Open Days is about people and places; it celebrates community and reflects the importance of the built environment in our lives and to our quality of life”.