Westgate Parks, Canterbury
2016 – 2018
WHAT WE DID
As part of the Westgate Parks project, a major Heritage Lottery funded initiative, we undertook interpretation and art projects to help people engage with and learn about the wildlife and history of these special green spaces in Canterbury.
A series of interpretation panels were commissioned, with lively text and illustrations, on topics such as the wildlife of the Great Stour and the Roman Road that once ran through Westgate Gardens. They link to online content, including video, audio and PDF guides, via QR codes.
A new sculpture was commissioned for the Tannery Field site. This landmark piece, by artist Steve Portchmouth is a life-size bull made of steel rails. The field where it stands was once part of St Mildred’s Tannery, where cattle hides were made into leather.
One of the key areas visitors told us needed improving was the Rheims Way underpass linking Westgate Gardens to Toddler’s Cove.We developed a community art project, working towards a new meadow and river themed mural that was painted on the concrete stanchions of the underpass. Many volunteers and local people gave their time, making the vision of artist Colette Baumback a reality. New lighting was installed to make for a brighter and safer-feeling environment.
A programme of events aimed at interpreting the Parks to people, ran from 2014 to 2018. These included scarecrow competitions, medieval pageants and bat walks.
Panels, online content and artworks will enhance the experience of both local people and visitors using the parks. Panels reveal historical stories and help people to understand and learn about the places they are exploring. Artworks are enjoyed by visitors of all ages and contribute greatly to the overall improvement of amenity in these important public spaces.
WHO WE WORKED WITH
Canterbury City Council, Kent County Council, Friends of Westgate Parks, Canterbury Archaeological Trust and many others.
Video about the Tannery Field Bull
Video about the history of Toddlers Cove