Last night a packed lecture theatre of students, staff and the public were treated to a great lecture by Paul Bennett, Visiting Professor of Archaeology in the Centre for Kent History and Heritage at CCCU, but I just want to mention another couple of things before I get to his talk.
Last week I was in Belfast giving a paper at Queen’s on ‘Starting a new life in Ricardian and Henrician Canterbury’ at the ‘Migration to the Margin’ conference, while Dr Diane Heath was working on her funding bid regarding ‘Medieval Animals’, so I decided to give the blog an Easter break. However, now that I am back in Canterbury, I thought I would provide a short update on the legacy of ‘Tudors and Stuarts 2019’ before moving on to Canterbury UNESCO matters.
We are now just a week away from the ‘Exploring Kentish Naming Practices’ conference.
This is just a short piece before the Centre’s blog has a fortnight’s break for the summer. Consequently, I thought I would bring you up-to-date with things, including the fact that all the information for Tudors and Stuarts History Weekend 2019 has now gone to Matthew Crockatt, the Faculty’s web designer and organiser, and to Ruth Duckworth at Canterbury Christ Church’s box office, who handles the booking part of the web site. In addition, Finance has received the initial budget and although they are extremely busy with the financial year end, hopefully in the next few weeks the Centre will receive the relevant finance codes to ensure matters are set up properly. Among the many speakers who are due to come on Saturday 13 or Sunday 14 April are Dr Clive Holmes (Why Oliver Cromwell didn’t persecute witches), Dr Amy Blakeway (The downfall of Mary, Queen of Scots), Dr David Starkey (Henry VII’s Chamber), and Dr Miranda Kaufmann (Black Tudors). As at previous History Weekends, the idea is to generate a surplus which goes to support postgraduates researching Kent’s history through the Ian Coulson Memorial Postgraduate Award fund.
This week has been more a matter of meetings and looking forward to future events rather than events themselves. Included in the latter is most definitely the last of the ‘Young Medievalists’ Corner’ activity days on Saturday 21 July at 12 Market Place, Faversham. If you are in the area, please do drop in between 10am and 4pm, it is free to explore the ‘Medieval Faversham’ exhibition and to take part in the activities organised by Dr Diane Heath and Harriet Kersey.
I thought I would start with some very exciting news, Michael Wood has agreed to come to Canterbury to give an evening lecture on Tuesday 30 October 2018. The title is not yet confirmed but he will be speaking primarily about Theodore and Hadrian, thereby coinciding with a major new Anglo-Saxon exhibition that will be opening late October in London. More details will be available soon, and proceeds from the lecture will go towards the fund for Canterbury Archaeological Trust that was set up after the three disastrous break-ins this month at the Trust’s store at Kingsmead. These have resulted in considerable damage and the theft of finds, including Anglo-Saxon artefacts, which the Trust had excavated and archived in over forty years of work in Canterbury and Kent.
This week has been quite quiet in terms of matters relating to the Centre, but it is worth recording that the smart new flyer for the Medieval Canterbury Weekend has arrived and Diane Heath and I have started distributing them. So far you can now pick one up at the Arts&Culture Box Office in Augustine House, and English Heritage at St Augustine’s Abbey has some too. We hope to spread them around Canterbury, Kent and further afield in the next couple of months, including at the BBC History Weekends at York (25 – 27 September) and Malmesbury (15 – 18 October). Ticket sales are coming along nicely, and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of people who are interested in all aspects of medieval history next April.
Queenborogh Town Hall – celebrating the town’s maritime history
The other event this week was the farewell lunch for Nicky who has been a stalwart for the History Department at Canterbury Christ Church for about a decade. As the secretary and general helper to students over the years she has been a highly valued member of the team at Glebe House, and it is perhaps fitting that the historians’ relocation to Findon coincides with her retirement – the end of an era. Anyway to return to the lunch, almost a dozen of us gathered at ‘The White Hart’ in Castle Street – in my opinion a good choice – and among those present was Martin Watts. Some of you will remember Dr Watts from earlier in the year when he ran a very successful and enjoyable study day on the Great War and its aftermath. I haven’t seen Martin for several months so it was good to catch up with what he has been doing relating to the Centre. His new projects sound very exciting hence the rest of the blog will be a brief summary of these.
However before I get on to them, I thought I would mention that Martin is one of several historians running courses for enjoyment through the Learning programme of the Arts&Culture part of Christ Church. Martin has a couple of day schools running from 10am till 4pm, the first is on Saturday 17 October and is called ‘Kent and the First World War – From Peace to Catastrophe, 1914–1916’, and the second on Saturday 5 December at the same times is entitled ‘Kent and the First World War – from Catastrophe to Victory, 1916–1918’. Among the topics that he will be covering at the second day school, and perhaps especially topical at the moment, will be Maidstone’s role in the training of friendly alien soldiers, which was the case following the introduction of the Military Service conventions in 1917 and the consequent influx of men of Russian Jewish extraction. There are lots of other courses, so check out the booklets or go online to the Arts&Culture webpages.
Keeping with this Great War theme and concentrating especially on commemoration, Dr Watts is involved in a bid to bring the travelling ‘Poppies Wave and Weeping Window’ to Canterbury next year. At the moment it is not yet known whether the bid has been successful – notification will come in September, but potentially this is a fantastic opportunity for Martin and the Centre to become involved in a variety of ways. The bid is being fronted by Canterbury City Council, with Canterbury Christ Church as one of the main partners. Among the participants so far has been Hazel Stone (Sidney Cooper) and Frances Chiverton (outreach and engagement). If all goes well Canterbury will host the touring poppies display which is intended to engage the public in the commemoration of the Great War, just as it did at the Tower of London. This could be a fantastic opportunity to involve young and old in these important events through a wide mix of talks, workshops and study days, including Martin presenting materials to schoolchildren when he makes school visits. It is envisaged that other people from Christ Church will also participate, especially those in English and Music to provide a multimedia experience.
Another of Martin’s projects, albeit it is very much in the early stages, involves historians at the University of Artois and Martin will be meeting these modern historians next week. Potentially such collaboration will benefit students on both sides of the Channel and Martin hopes this will open up new avenues when he meets Professor Stephen Rowley and his colleagues at Arras, not least the start of joint student projects on the Great War battlefields and other topics linked to the War and its aftermath.
Martin’s final project sets him squarely in Kent because this involves the coastal town of Whitstable. This is a fascinating place and deserves to be better known and studied, while still giving it the chance to remain a vibrant, working community. The sea has always been important, obviously, and this project draws on the town’s maritime heritage, both historically and ecologically. Thus this project is as much about the natural environment of the foreshore and sea as it is about the history, although both, as you might expect, interact and engage with each other in a variety of obvious and far less so ways.
Martin’s involvement in what will be called the ‘Whitstable Maritime Discovery Centre’, other participants include the Harbour Board, is as part of the team that has put together a bid for funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government. This is an extremely ambitious project, the team want a permanent exhibition centre, and, as well as displays, proposed events might include study days, workshops and projects that are intended to bring in locals and visitors. Being an ex-merchant seaman of many years standing, such a project is very close to Martin’s heart, as well as which he has considerable expertise in this field. The team won’t know the result of their bid that soon but once they know I’ll pass on the news. And on that note of expectation I’ll finish this week, but just to say rather than a photo of Whitstable, I thought I would introduce you to Queenborough for those who have not been to Sheppey.