Rare chance to see Pontefract All Saints double helix staircase

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Visitors will have a rare opportunity to see the double helix staircase at Pontefract All Saints Church this weekend.

The South Baileygate church will be offering free access as part of a Heritage Open Day from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, September 15. It is the first time in ten years that the staircase, believed to have been built in the 17th century, will be open for visitors.

The staircase - thought to be one of only two in Britain - features separate staircases wound around one central spine. One exits into the church and the other comes out at the bottom of the tower on the outside.

There will also be the chance to see the bells and the bellringing, view the interior of the church and enjoy light refreshments. Organisers will be taking groups up one spiral and then down the second spiral from noon to 3pm. Bellringing will take place between 2pm and 3pm.

The staircase is tight, narrow and steep. Safe clothing, especially footwear is essential.

Visit www.99b.uk/B6History/Pontefract/H21Index.htm for more information.
The event is one of several heritage open days taking place in Pontefract over the next few days.

St Giles’ Church will throw open its doors from 8.30pm to 3pm on Friday, September 14 and from 8.30pm to 12.30pm on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday 16.

There will be an organ recital by organist Tom Moore from Wakefield Cathedral, from 1pm to 2pm on Friday and a peal of bells at 10am on Saturday.

Tours up the tower to the ringing room will take place on Saturday morning.

People can also enjoy a tour of the 1890 Masonic Hall, which serves as a meeting place for seven masonic lodges, in Pontefract at 3.30pm on Thursday, September 13, or a tour of Pontefract Town Hall’s assembly rooms, Nelson Room and De Lacy Room while learning more about the history of the venue at 11am on Friday, September 14 and Saturday 15.

No booking is required for any of the events. Visit www.experiencewakefield for full details or for information about other open day events.