Ethelbert and Bertha
The Society began by raising funds and commissioning two statues on Lady Wootton’s Green. Unveiled 2006, they feature King Ethelbert and Queen Bertha, Kent’s greatest royal couple, whose vision led to Canterbury’s World Heritage Site status.
Ten years later, the Society’s second commission was unveiled at the top of Best Lane, near Eastbridge Hospital. Geoffrey Chaucer, author of the celebrated Canterbury Tales, stands tall amid the sounding hubbub that he would undoubtably have relished.
His delightful tales, sweeping from the chivalric to Carry-On-style bawdy, established a pattern for a rich literary and cultural tradition that endures to this day.
After commissioning and funding these two spectacular projects, Canterbury Commemoration Society handed them over to Canterbury City Council, to whom they now belong.
The Crab and Winkle Winding Engine
The Canterbury–Whitstable railway, heralded as the ‘first regular steam passenger railway in the world’, opened on 3 May 1830. Unfortunately, the ‘Invicta’ locomotive built by George Stephenson (the ‘Rocket’ man) was unable to manage the incline through Clowes Wood. To help it, a stationary winding engine was installed at the top.
In 2019, the Commemoration Society ensured that this engine was not whisked off to the railway museum in York but stands with the ‘Invicta’ in the Whitstable Museum.