The citizens of Canterbury are doubly blessed: they inhabit a place of undoubted charm, and they inherit a colourful heritage that reaches back over two millennia.
At a time of rapid change, a sense of where we have come from offers a reassuring reference point and inspiration for the future.
With this in mind, the Canterbury Commemoration Society seeks to increase awareness of the city’s remarkable past, both physical and human. We believe this enriches the lives of all who live in or visit this historic city.
Our official brief is to ‘to advance public education in the events and people in Canterbury’s history; and preserve, protect, develop, and improve features of aesthetic, artistic or historical interest in Canterbury.’
We do this by raising new monuments and plaques, protecting buildings and features of architectural and/or historical interest, and organising talks, walks, readings, and social events.
We also act as a hub and support for groups and individuals interested in Canterbury’s unique history. As we believe that empathetic presentation of our built heritage is vital to the city’s prosperity, we are delighted to support the beautiful medieval church of St Peter’s (Anglican), Canterbury, as our regular home for our meetings and events.
You can download our latest set of accounts here.
A Brief History
The Canterbury Commemoration Society (registered charity no. 1057977) was founded in June 1996. At the time it was engaged in its first major programme, the brilliant enhancement of Lady Wootton’s Green, between the Cathedral and St Augustine’s, with dramatic statues of Queen Bertha and King Ethelbert of Kent. The project, including expert educational signage, was finally completed in 2006.
Having given due attention to the city’s singular place in Christian history, the Society focussed on what it felt was a woeful failure adequately to commemorate Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of the world-famous Canterbury Tales. Again, raising funds, commissioning artists and managing the multiplicity of ancillary jobs, such as getting insurance and planning permission, took long years of devoted volunteer labour. The remarkable statue, standing on a plinth that features the major donors as pilgrims, was completed in 2016.
The Society had several new projects in hand before the onset of the Covid pandemic. Fortunately, before the precautionary measures made further progress impossible, it enabled the stationary winding engine that once hauled wagons up the steep incline on the pioneering Canterbury-Whitstable Railway (the ‘Crab and Winkle’ line) to be housed in the Whitstable Museum. This ensured that a special piece of early 19th century industrial engineering remained in the county.
In 2021, as the threat of the pandemic lifted, the Society found a new lease of life and launched into the exciting projects detailed in this website.