On Tuesday 3rd May, Rob Young & I had a meeting with Rachel Kerr, Project Coordinator (100 Objects That Made Kent) and the Education Officer, Jeremy Clarke at The Guildhall Museum, High Street, Rochester. We were looking to explore opportunities for us all to collaborate in some manner during the project, taking advantage of the Museum Collections cultural importance to Medway and its outreach work with the community – particularly in education and schools.
Rob is very keen to build this relationship into his commission and has already submitted a wonderful proposal for an engagement with St Michaels Roman Catholic Primary School, who are already working with the Museum on an arts award educational project, focussed on the Statue of Thomas Waghorn on Railway Street and a portrait of whom hangs in the Museum. The school is the most local to our project route. Rob is also keen to meet with The Friends of the Guildhall Museum to hear their thoughts about Chatham. Simon Lace, Medway’s Heritage Services Manager is also helping our cause by contributing a call out for stories by Friends of the Guildhall in their ‘about to be launched’ newsletter.
Thanks to all involved for your continuing help.
Isn’t that the most amazing name – Sir Cloudesley Shovell –
Jeremy Clarke, the Museum’s Education Officer – found this image for us of a young boy taken at the Photographic Studio of W. Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham – a great find for us right on our project route. I’m sure Rob will make some resonant response to this.
The Chatham Placemaking Project appointed 3 artists for the temporary programme – it feels anything but temporary to me as all the artists are contributing massively to the project and their individual and collective output in terms of film, writing and graphics has been creative, original and has added to my perception and understanding of this project – of Chatham – and how we relate to this community as well as our client Medway Council. It is an exciting time for me – & hopefully for Rob, Xtina and Simon too.
Simon and Rob have already engaged independently with the local community – calling in at shops and offices along our route down Railway Street and Military Road, building relationships with people. They have further collaborated on a series of short films, which explore and create a vision which underpins our project – the first of which we are hopeful will be given it’s Chatham premiere via the Big Screen this evening. Xtina is delivering the first of her print workshops on Saturday at The Pentagon Shopping Centre, which will encourage the local community to take part in simple printing techniques to explore themes around our project in words and motifs. Rob & I will be there too – collecting stories from people and hearing about their association with the town. Check out the Facebook page for more information on this event –
Xtina Lamb was commissioned to run a series of print based workshops in ad hoc places – such as the Pentagon Shopping Centre – and also from her workshop and business premises – Medway Fine Printmakers – at Intra on Chatham High Street. She is also a graphic artist in her own right contributing to the visual language and interpretation of the project.
One of the arches under the New Road Viaduct – aka New Cut – aka Chatham Viaduct was home to a Public Urinal & more interestingly a Barbers Shop – aka Barbers in the Bogs ! The Barber had a collection of paintings on display. Long since closed – the doors are now peeling but the memories of those who knew and used the facilities are still strong.
I am looking for images to use as part of our project – but there are some here on the Kent History Forum page – what an amazing, slightly bizarre and interesting place. Really left me wanting to know more !
The far right hand arch under the viaduct – just obscured by the white van – was the door to the Public Urinal and Barbers.
Watch this space for more images –
The Chatham Placemaking Project is now on Facebook ! Profiles of the project team artists can be viewed and updates of works in progress and new images will be posted at regular intervals. Perhaps you could let us know what you think and support the project.
I was appointed as Lead Artist back in September 2015. We have now appointed three artists to work on a 6 months art programme running from March to August 2016. The artists are – Writer Rob Young, Printmaker Xtina Lamb and FilmMaker Simon Williams. Although each artist has a specific brief, we are working collaboratively to ensure that the creative outcomes can inspire and influence the permanent public realm works, which are due to be on site from early in 2017. The project is hugely exciting !
Rob came up with this quirky set of Lego figure to represent the artists !
Some shops and businesses on Military Road, Chatham –
Blueberry Park Sandwich Bar has recently closed down after 25 years. This heartfelt goodbye to customers on the window is a poignant reminder of community and the fact that it is people and not buildings, which make places.
Some shops and businesses on Railway Street, Chatham, Kent.
There are many ways in which the Chatham Placemaking Project can communicate with the local community. Large scale visuals can be really effective – such as these mock-up ideas drafted onto a series of primesight billboards on Railway Street.
The Chatham Big Screen too would provide a great opportunity for us, as we could post film and moving images as well as sound.
Kelly’s Directories have listed all trades and businesses throughout the UK since around 1835. They are now an invaluable source of local history, information and insight into local business life. Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre have a collection on microfilm. In the 1961 edition, the businesses along Railway Street and Military Road, make for interesting reading. Here is a selection –
Nos 1 & 3 – Burton Montague, Tailors
No 4a – The Salad Bowl – High Class Fruiterers
No 9 – Bliss and Lawrence – Auctioneers
No 13 – Gieve’s Ltd, Royal Naval, RAF & Civilian Tailors
No 20 – Greenburgh Bros. Ltd, Outfitters
No 26 – Naval & Military Arms, Public House
No 27 – Imperial Forces Public House and Paddock Restaurant
No 28 – E.J Whitaker & Sons, Tailors
No 40 – Unifit, Outfitters
No 50 – Chatham Constitutional Club
No 56 – W. Cooper, Outfitters
Nos 1 & 3 – Prince of Wales Hotel
No 5 – F&H Newcombe Ltd, Gowns
Nos 14 & 16 – Scott’s Timber Yard
No 26 – Frank Bannister & Son Ltd. Motor & Motor Cycle engineers.
No 31 – Cameron Thomas, Physician and Surgeon
Station Yard – Newsagent – Elders & Fyffe’s Ltd Banana Importers – St John’s Ambulance