The Courthouse, Knutsford, Cheshire is delighted to be selected as one of the feature venues for this year’s Heritage Open Days, one of England’s largest and most diverse festivals dedicated to English heritage. From 7-10th September, The Courthouse will be a focal point of Knutsford Heritage Open Day, looking into the story of one of the most brilliant but tragic characters of British history, Alan Turing. Art installations and performances will be featured in The Courthouse, alongside talks and demonstrations from Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder, Paul Kellar MBE, Sir Dermot Turing and Jonathan Swinton.
With a key theme of ‘Alan Turing and Technology’, The Courthouse has been chosen as the historic location for the event as this year marks 65 years since Turing was tried at the former Sessions Court in Knutsford for homosexual acts. On Friday 8th September, the venue will display the court records of his trial.
The Courthouse, an iconic Knutsford building, re-opened to the public on 1st July following an ambitious redevelopment project by the team at Flat Cap Hotels. The 90-cover restaurant, Barristers Restaurant and Bar will be open throughout the festival with main activities being held in The Court Room – part of the Sessions House which closed in 2010 when judicial proceedings were moved to Crewe. With its beautiful & decorative high ceiling,The Court Room has now been converted into one of the largest ballrooms in South Cheshire ideal for large events, exhibitions, weddings and conferences with a banqueting capacity for 250 guests.
Over the four days, The Courthouse will exhibit a commissioned interactive installation by artist collective RE-DOCK, the ‘Regina vs Turing and Murray’. The exhibition will feature an impressive virtual reality interpretation of the court case trial of Alan Turing and Arnold Murray from 10am-5pm every day. On Friday and Saturday, guests can enjoy a live performance based on the trial, encouraging participation from the public which will enable visitors to explore different viewpoints of the trial and Turing’s work.
A highlight of the weekend at The Courthouse will be on Friday 8th September when Mark Radcliffe will compere a number of talks and demonstrations throughout the day. Talks will run from 2pm-6pm, with Paul Kellar MBE discussing ‘The Brilliance of the Turing-Weichman Bombe’ and Jonathan Swinton speaking about ‘Life, you Will Lose a Lover When I Die’. Sir Dermot Turing will also be at The Courthouse, revealing more into the life of his uncle, Alan Turing, before lawyer and TV personality, Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder reads the Quarter Sessions case records. From 11am-2pm an Enigma expert will be running practical demonstrations where guests can get hands on with a replica Enigma machine.
Organised by the Knutsford Promenades Association, the multi-event and multi-site programme will showcase Knutsford’s significant heritage and culture. There will be over 50 events across the weekend, including a showing of The Imitation Game, a number of PatternCraft workshops held by SHIFT Digital (Digital Arts & Creative Technology programme at Cheshire East Council) and Weaver Valley WI Choir singing at Tabley House chapel (the location of Tommy and Grace Shelby’s marriage in Peaky Blinders).
Dominic Heywood, co-founder of Flat Cap Hotels, said: “It’s fantastic that the building is now open to the public for the first time in seven years. We have been through a thorough and sympathetic restoration process, rather than a refurbishment – it’s been a complete restoration and I am delighted that a building with such a wealth of history can be used for a variety of events including the forthcoming heritage open days in September.”