FROM colleges and museums to stadiums and theatres, Oxford opened its doors to the public at the weekend as part of the city’s annual celebration of its heritage.

Oxford Open Doors allowed people to poke their noses behind walls and through doors that remain bolted shut for the rest of the year.

The event, organised by Oxford Preservation Trust, saw a wide range of buildings opened up to the public, including Oxford colleges, university research departments, theatres, sporting venues and a former college barge moored on the Thames near Donnington Bridge.

A total of 130 venues took part.

Among the buildings welcoming people was the Story Museum in Pembroke Street where visitors could look around and try their hand at some old-fashioned hand printing.

Kate Sayer, head of learning at the Story Museum, said: “I think Open Doors is a brilliant way for people to see bits of Oxford you would normally just walk past.

“This building used to be a telephone exchange and we have had a few people who used to work there come in and look around.”

Seven-year-old Eva Hefferman, from Cumnor, tried her hand at some printing to make a keepsake of her visit to the Story Museum.

She said: “It was fun and I like my keepsake. I have been having a good time at the Story Museum.”

Visitors to the Malmaison Hotel, housed in the former Oxford Prison in the Castle Complex, were given a guided tour of the building, including a peek at the old punishment cells in the basement and the area where murderer Donald Neilson, aka the Black Panther, was held for much of his life sentence after abducting and murdering heiress Lesley Whittle in the 1970s.

Meanwhile the Old Fire Station in George Street threw open its doors and people could have a go at contact improvisation – a form of improvised dance.

The session was organised by Andrew Wood who is setting up a group called Oxford Contact Dance.

He said: “We thought we would take the opportunity to organise this session. We are a new group and we want people to enjoy contact improvisation.

“We advocate the idea that any movement could be dance and anybody could be a dancer.”

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