This August an exhibition to celebrate Whitstable’s maritime and boat building heritage will also be asking visitors to share their memories and help preserve the town’s special coastal connections for future generations.

On Sunday, 14 August Whitstable Maritime and the University’s Centre for Kent History and Heritage will host the Living Maritime Heritage Exhibition at the Horsebridge Arts Centre.

The exhibition will consist of exhibits and personal memorabilia relating to Whitstable's boat-building industry. The Centre will also be conducting interviews with visitors, particularly those who have connections with Whitstable's shipbuilding heritage, with the aim to publish these conversations as part of the Whitstable Maritime Project.

Dr Martin Watts, Principal Research Fellow for the Centre for Kent History and Heritage, said: “Evidence of Whitstable’s maritime heritage can be found throughout the town, even in its street names - Salt Lane and Coastguard Alley.

"This maritime heritage gives the town a strong identity with locals and tourists. However, we would like to uncover and preserve the social and personal history of Whitstable and so we are inviting anyone who has connections to the town’s boat building industry to come along to the exhibition on Sunday 14 August to share their memories and help us build on our research of this important coastal town’s past, present and future.”

One of the Whitstable Maritime projects that will be on display for the day is the Gamecock, a 43-foot oyster yawl built in 1906/7 by the Collar brothers at their yard on Whitstable beach.

The Gamecock represents over 110 years of Whitstable history and is one of the few remaining oyster smacks built, worked, and restored in Whitstable. It provides visitors with an authentic sailing experience under the gaff rig, that typifies the way in which Whitstable built smacks handled the challenge of inshore dredging in the Swale. It is a registered National Historic Ship and a link with Whitstable’s past.

Living Maritime Heritage Exhibition takes place on Sunday, 14 August, 10.30am – 4.40pm at the Horsebridge Arts Centre, Whitstable CT5 1AF.


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