Delve behind the scenes

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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

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Take advantage of the Heritage Open Days for a backstage look at Portsmouth’s historical buildings

Next Thursday, September 11 is the start of the Heritage Open Days, a four-day event that celebrates England’s architecure and culture.

This annual event sees many historical buildings open their doors to the public, who will be able to explore the hidden treasures that would often be missed.

The Heritage Open Days has roots in Gosport and this year is the 20th anniversary of the event.

One of the venues kicking off the open days in Gosport is the Court Barn Conservative Club, where you can discover how the 16th century listed building has progressed from a court barn to a farmer’s family home and to its recent function as a venue.

Tours take place from Thursday 11 to Saturday 13.

Another Gosport highlight includes a behind the scenes tour on Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14 of the Explosion! Museum to see the reserve gun and armoury collections normally closed to the public.

You will also have the opportunity to walk through an anti-submarine mortar handling facility and the former tinsmiths workshop.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy in the H M Naval Base is another building participating in the event.

Enjoy a tour of artefact and archive stores with one of their curators and discover the highlights among the thousands of items kept behind the scenes.

Tours take place on Saturday September 13 and Sunday September 14 at 10.30am, 11.45am, 1.30pm and 3pm.

Fort Cumberland in Eastney will also be opening their doors to the public. There will be guided tours of the historic fort from Thursday, September 11 to Sunday, September 14 at 10.30am and 2pm.

Fort Cumberland is a bastioned-trace fortification dating from 1780 onwards, which also contains two buildings from the first fort of 1747.

The tour will include the ramparts with their gun emplacements of various dates, the magazines, and the well-preserved High Angle Fire battery of 1890-94.

Visitors will also see a small prison cell known as the Black Hole, and a mid 20th-century cinema and theatre.

All visitors are welcome, but the tour includes walking up steep ramps and over uneven ground.

For more information about any of these events, go to