St. Mary’s Convent Handsworth

Heritage Open Days

‘I was blown away by the history and beauty of the place’ read a comment left by a visitor to St Mary’s Convent following a tour as part of Heritage Open Days.

Established in 1994, Heritage Open Days are the country’s largest community heritage festival.  During this time, participating places of heritage open their doors to visitors to encourage them to explore ‘treasures on their doorstep’.  At St Mary’s, we have been taking part in these for over ten years and these couple of days in September are always a busy but exciting time where St Mary’s comes alive and ignites the imagination of many from Birmingham and beyond.  As one visitor said, ‘it is the jewel in the crown of Handsworth.’

Tours were led by Sister Kathleen Gooch and Jenny Smith (Archivist), with the other sisters, staff and volunteers kindly supporting the event in the background – making teas and welcoming visitors in the convent refectory.  We opened for tours on Friday 16th and Saturday17th September and welcomed sixty-six visitors across the two days.  We welcomed a diverse spread in terms of age, background, ethnicity and faith and had some lovely comments and promises to return!


Jenny Smith (Archivist)