Canterbury Commemoration Society

Current Projects

The Aphra Behn Statue

The society’s principal campaign at the moment is raising a statue to Aphra Behn, the multi-talented, 17th-century Canterbury woman who became the first ever female professional writer. Smash-hit playwright, poet, spy, libertine, friend of Charles II – it’s a scandal that the city of her birth has not yet honoured this remarkable woman. We are setting that straight. With your help, a fine bronze statue’s going up in 2023.

There’s masses more about Aphra here.

Over the next year, we are seeking to raise over £100,000 for this project. We need every penny we can get. Please, if you have no already done so, contribute to the fund hereThank you.

Sculptors, here’s the link to the Aphra statue brief.

And while you’re still there, put 16 July 2022 in your diary now. It’s when we are holding a Grand Aphra Behn Statue Dinner at which, among many other things, the four shortlisted bronze maquettes of the statue will be auctioned by a celebrity BBC auctioneer. Register your interest here – and on the day, don’t forget to bring along your cheque book or credit card!

Historic Whitstable Harbour

The Society is using a generous legacy left by the late Brian Porter to commission a scale model of Whitstable Harbour in its 19th-century heyday. Model-makers have been contacted and discussions are in hand to find a suitable permanent venue for an impressive ‘OO-gauge’ display.

In due course, tourists who flock to the town’s quays and beaches will have a chance to complement their ice cream and oysters with a fascinating dollop of local history.

All Tudor Martyrs Memorial

Canterbury, at the heart of the Anglican communion, commemorates the Protestant martyrs who died during the reign of Mary I. But many others, Catholic and Protestant, were also killed for their faith in Tudor times. That’s why our Chair, Michael Steed, is keen to set the record straight with a monument to all TUDOR MARTYRS. Please donate to the excellent cause here.

Christopher Marlowe Statue

The Christopher Marlowe Statue Society has advanced plans for an original and unusual design by the local sculptor Steve Portchmouth. Pre-planning approval has been granted. It would stand in front of the Clocktower in the High Street, this being the remains of the church in which Marlowe was christened. The concept has the approval of English Heritage. Please note, however, that this is not a Commemoration Society project but one we are delighted to endorse and help with such publicity, advice etc as we are able to offer. For more information on Marlowe and related topics, see marlowe-society.org.

To the right, a preliminary sketch of the proposed statue of Christopher Marlowe in re-used iron by local artist Steve Portchmouth.

Other Ideas and Projects

  • We are exploring the idea of an explanatory plaque in the City Cemetery beside the grave of the citizens who died in the 1942 Baedecker Blitz.
  • An online City Statues trail is under construction, as is an online resource for schools telling the stories behind the city’s many historic buildings.
  • There is talk of a statue of Rupert Bear in the Westgate Gardens to commemorate his creator, Mary Tourtel.
  • We are also in the process of upgrading the signage at the Bertha and Ethelbert site, and creating a QR app for the Chaucer statue.