Press Release

09 November 2012

Canterbury Christ Church University will bring to life 400 years of the City's history this month in a unique exhibition at their Sidney Cooper Gallery.

Exhibition illustration showing the Canterbury to Whitstable railway
Exhibition illustration showing the Canterbury to Whitstable railway

Canterbury: 1600 to Present Day follows on from the successful and popular ‘Canterbury: England’s Crucible’ exhibition which explored 1000 years of the City’s history and attracted over 5,000 visitors to the gallery in 2010.

The Heritage Lottery Fund(HLF) has awarded a grant of £46,200 to the the project which will show how the appearance of Canterbury has dramatically changed over the past 400 years.

The exhibition is the result of the work of historian and city guide Dr Doreen Rosman, who along with 20 community volunteers, has researched 20 themes ranging from the honeymoon of Charles I, the coming of the railways and the infamous Baedeker bombing raids on the city during World War II.

Giant art panels have again been made especially for the exhibition to tell the City’s story and will be on show with items loaned from Canterbury and Maidstone Museums, Canterbury Archaeological Trust, Kent Costume Trust and ancient maps from Canterbury Cathedral Archive.

Two bespoke model German aeroplanes will also be on display, they include a Gotha Bomber bi-plane like the one which crashed in Canterbury in 1917 when the pilots of the plane were arrested by the local vicar and over 10,000 residents, who had never seen a plane, came to view it. A World War II Dornier German Bomber, used in the Baedeker raids on Canterbury when around 20% of the City was destroyed, will also be mounted from the ceiling of the gallery.

Mike Butler, Cultural Manager for Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “This period of history, from 1600 onwards, is perhaps less well known or celebrated compared to the City’s Roman and medieval past, although we hope this new exhibition will change that. Canterbury is not just about Becket and Chaucer, the last 400 years have seen enormous changes and innovations within our old city walls and this exhibition will bring our story up-to-date and give local people the chance to find out about their city.

“This exhibition follows on from the highly successful HLF funded exhibition ‘Canterbury: England’s Crucible’. Thanks to the grants we have received from the HLF over the past two years, we will have brought to life over 1400 years of the City’s past for Canterbury residents and visitors from further afield to enjoy.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: “Canterbury is teaming with fascinating and untold stories that this exhibition will help bring to the fore. From tales of famous visitors to how modern industry has shaped the local landscape – everyone will be now able to unlock the secrets of this city’s varied and vibrant past. We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are delighted to be supporting the exhibition and know it will be a hit with local people and visitors alike.”

Local historian Jenny Uglow with a 300 year old wedding dress woven and worn in Canterbury
Local historian Jenny Uglow with a 300 year old wedding dress woven and worn in Canterbury

Canterbury: 1600 to Present is a free exhibition and will be open to the public from Friday 16 November to Wednesday 19 December at the Sidney Cooper Gallery, St Peter’s Street, Canterbury.

Opening times are Tuesday to Friday 11am - 5.30pm and Saturday 11.30am - 5.30pm.

An illustrated book has been produced to accompany the exhibition, as well as a free city trail. For more information visit

For images of the exhibition, which was opened by local historian and biographer Jenny Uglow, visit our Flickr page:


Notes to Editor

Heritage Lottery Fund

  • Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported more than 33,000 projects, allocating over £4.9billion across the UK, with over £500 million granted in the South East alone. Website:

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students, across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our recent UK undergraduates are in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2011 UCAS).
  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).
  • 2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

*2010/11 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey



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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:15:00