To a degree this follows on from last time in that again there is a maritime theme to this short blog. Firstly, although I wasn’t able to attend this year, I have a brief report from Dr Martin Watts about Whitstable Harbour Day, which took place last Saturday. As an ex-merchant seaman, Martin is keen to promote all things nautical and, as he says, it was another excellent day.
This will be a very brief piece as the days get busier and busier before Friday and we start with our first event at Waterstones – if you are in the Canterbury book shop in Rose Lane at about 11am do feel free to come along to the children’s section to meet Saturn the green dragon, he will be looking for helpers, both young and old.
Now that the Easter holidays have arrived, I thought I would ask local readers if they have spotted the two posters in Waterstones advertising ‘Saturn’s Fury’ – the puppet show that will be taking place in the children’s area on the first floor of the book shop on Friday 6 April starting at 11am. Saturn, the green dragon, is making a guest appearance from The Canterbury Tales and would like as many young children and their parents, grandparents and others as possible to come along to help him find his roar which he has lost. This event is FREE and booking is not required. It forms the opening event of the Medieval Canterbury Weekend, and for slightly older ‘young medievalists’ and adults there is the chance that afternoon at 3pm to hear ‘Campfire Tales – with a Canterbury Twist’ in the garden of The Canterbury Tales. To book this and other events at the Medieval Canterbury Weekend, please visit: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/medieval-canterbury or after the Easter weekend phone 01227 782994.
Now that we are well into January it is time to move on to the next part of the preparations for the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2018 on 6–8 April. Speakers have been invited to send details of the books they would like Craig at the Canterbury Christ Church University bookshop to have at the book stall, and several people including Dr Janina Ramirez and Dr Helen Castor have responded already. If you have not heard about the Weekend, please check it out at www.canterbury.ac.uk/medieval-canterbury
As in 2016, probably the high point this year for the Centre was the History Weekend in early April, which in 2017 featured the Tudors and Stuarts and was a joint venture with the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library.
Before I give a brief report on Professor Paul Bennett’s fascinating ‘Part Two’ of his inaugural professorial lecture, I thought I would mention a few events the Centre is running in early 2018 and also the ‘Picture this …’ Advent entry for today: www.canterbury-cathedral.org/heritage/archives/picture-this/summer-blooms-a-wonderful-transformation/ and what could be better than flowers in summer?
It is often said, that in terms of Canterbury’s historic built environment the City Council in the post WWII years was far more effective in finishing off what the Luftwaffe had started during the Baedeker raids on the city in 1942. In some respects this story continues, and with regard to development and redevelopment both inside and outside the city wall the pace of such activities is and will in the next decade gather increasing momentum.
Due to it being half-term last week, I took the opportunity to visit the Canterbury Heritage Museum because now it is shut again for another month until the Easter holidays. Consequently, several of the photos this week are of the museum and link in some way to the twin themes I want to mention this week: travelling and communities.
In many ways, I want to pick up the same theme as last week. This is because I discovered this week that among the elements within the new GCSE syllabus is the role of medieval or early modern historical sites; and that in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 a local study using primary sources is one of the criterion. In my opinion, such an emphasis on a student’s own locality in the past seems a good idea because just as microhistory can be used to understand the ‘bigger picture’, so a local history study, provided it is set within its regional and national context, can be both rewarding and enlightening.
This week has brought to the fore some different issues, albeit underpinning many of the lectures and discussions has again been the value to society of knowing and understanding the past, whether this is locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.