Brighton & Hove Open Door 2020

After being bished, bashed and all but boshed by the Covid pandemic, the nationwide Heritage Open Days event was finally given the go-ahead in late June, enabling England’s largest festival of history and culture to return in September.

For the first time, the programme will comprise a mix of in-person and digital events, enabling communities to celebrate the stories of the places and spaces that are important to them while staying safe and adhering to current social distancing measures.

Brighton & Hove Open Door, the part of Heritage Open Days that we help to coordinate, comprises the events below.


English Puddings - online

Friday 18th September, 10:00 - 10:40

Want to escape 2020 and travel to a Regency kitchen? Want to learn & have fun with a group of history lovers?

You’ll learn about the origins of the English puddings, the wide variety of puddings available. Hear about the first Roman puddings, learn about the importance of the pudding cloth, discover the strange pudding names and watch a live demonstration of a pudding been made.

The seminar is given Paul Couchman, the Regency cook. 6 years ago he helped to rebuild the Town House's historic kitchen and (in good times) he gives cookery lessons and historic food pop up events. He wants to share his passion for puddings with you in this highly interactive event.

The tour will be conducted online by Zoom and attendees will be sent a link to the event in the half-hour before it starts. In the meantime, please download Zoom in preparation.

Pre-booking required:


Becoming Mrs Finnegan - online event

Sunday 20th September, 12.30-1.10pm, talk by Bridget Whelan (writer) & Paul Couchman (historic cook)

As lockdown loomed, two volunteers from The Regency Town House created a fictional character to provide solace to the community museum's supporters

She is Mrs Finnegan. Like most she’s isolated ;and uncertain, but she is a housekeeper from the 1830s trapped inside a splendid Regency Town House as her employers leave for a country retreat.

Mrs Finnegan brings the early 19th century world to life through humour. Think Nursey in Blackadder and Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter. Think Daniel Radcliffe in Miracle Workers, the Sky TV series about The Dark Ages.

Mrs Finnegan isn’t just a housekeeper. She’s an agony aunt with attitude (on one occasion her advice was boil your head in cabbage soup) and during this 40 minute presentation you'll learn about the historical (and other) sources we use to bring Mrs Finnegan to life.

Mrs Finnegan is on Twitter every day with sharp, witty observations. We'll talk about how we use social media to build her loyal following and why Mrs Finnegan now also sends out an email every week.

We also ask the crucial question: should Mrs Finnegan go on TikTok?

All this and more in an interactive Zoom call for Heritage Open Days. Do come and join us. And Mrs Finnegan.

Pre-booking required. Please install Zoom. Attendees will be sent the Zoom link by email at the end of August: