Bristol shows off its hidden history

September 26, 2003

Bristol University is opening up its ivory towers to the public this autumn.

A series of guided tours, led by experts in science, history, archaeology and architecture, will give people a chance to see inside university buildings and gardens not usually open to the public.

On October 14, there will be an opportunity to climb to the top of the H.

Wills Physics Laboratory, reputedly the highest point in the Bristol.

Participants will learn how the university buildings are intertwined with the history of a city built on slavery and tobacco.

Vince Smith of the department of physics will demonstrate the 6m Coldrick Radio Telescope, used for studying the Milky Way.

There is a rare chance to see the Victoria Rooms, once a favourite venue for Charles Dickens and Jenny Lind and now the university's music department. It was originally bought to accommodate the student union.

On November 3, the tour will visit Royal Fort, built during the English civil war. Royal Fort House is now the home of the Institute for International Studies.

Other properties on the programme include the cathedral-like Wills Memorial Building, the Old Baptist College, University Walk and Victorian Burwalls.

Joan Lewis, tour coordinator, said: "It's a great opportunity for people to see places that are not normally open to them."

Details: The 26 tours cost between £3.50 and £7.00. All ticket money goes to the outreach programme.

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