Alert Section

Latest News

Gladstone’s Library and the Old Rectory, Hawarden team up for Open Doors Events

Published: 24/08/2023

Open Doors image The Old Rectory Hawarden.jpgTwo historic buildings in Hawarden will be giving visitors a chance to glimpse behind the scenes, where the public are not usually allowed. 

On Saturday 16th September 2023, visitors can take a combined tour of both properties as part of Open Doors, CADW’s ever-popular festival of Wales’ built heritage. The histories of Gladstone’s Library and the Old Rectory are intertwined. Several of the Old Rectory’s inhabitants were Gladstone’s immediate family, who went on to play an important role in shaping Gladstone’s Library after his death. To commemorate 125 years since W.E. Gladstone’s death, this year’s Open Doors theme at both the Library and the Old Rectory is ‘The Gladstones at Hawarden’ and the two locations have teamed up to offer a joint tour of both sites. 

The Library will be offering a chance to see some of the highlights of Gladstone’s Library’s printed collections and archives, have a tour of the Reading Rooms, and go behind the scenes in the strongrooms. At the Old Rectory, now the home of North East Wales Archives, you can watch a video telling the story of the Gladstone family’s connection with the house, with glimpses of how the building looked during their time there, have a tour of the strongrooms where the County’s archives are kept and visit the Conservation Studio for a demonstration of preservation for historic documents. Tours last approximately 90 mins and delicious refreshments will be available at Gladstone’s Library café.

Gladstone’s Library’s Warden, Revd Dr Andrea Russell, says:

"We’re delighted to be collaborating with our neighbours for an event that takes advantage of not only our shared history but our close geography! The Library team are looking forward to welcoming visitors on a day that celebrates Hawarden’s fascinating past."

Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Welsh Language, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Mared Eastwood said:

“The European Heritage Days initiative encourages residents and visitors to explore some of Wales’ lesser-known sites which are usually closed to the public.  The Open Doors event is a fantastic opportunity to visit behind the scenes and I would encourage anyone interested in learning about the history of Hawarden and the work undertaken at both sites to come along.”

Booking is required for all tours, which begin from both sites at 10am, 11.30am and 1pm. You will only need to book one tour in order to visit both sites. To book a tour starting at Gladstone’s Library, telephone 01244 532350 or email: To book a tour starting at the Old Rectory, telephone 01244 532364 or email: 

Tours are free of charge – book now to avoid disappointment!