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Bar to entry

Letters

How welcoming was your announcement that Number One Great George Street would be open at the weekend (NCE 19 September). 'Bring your family and friends' it said and 'refreshments will be available in the cafe bar'.

Guided tours were mentioned, but not that they were obligatory. Notices on the pillars outside the building repeated the invitation - 'Cafe Bar open' This looked like an excellent opportunity for refreshments after the Countryside March on Sunday.

So I turned up with my wife and two friends, hoping just to show them the refurbished Great Hall and to take a quick snack at the bar. But we were not even allowed through the hallowed portals without agreeing to join an hour-long tour. The bar could only be accessed on completion of a tour.

Presentation of my membership card bore no weight. Unfortunately we could not afford the time to wait for the next tour, so we were just turned away.

Apart from causing disappointment, the Institution lost an excellent opportunity for its headquarters to be seen and admired. Was that not the aim of the 'Open House'?

Charles Peacey, charlespeacey@hotmail. com

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