The Cultural Consortium
The HSHAZ (High Street Heritage Action Zone) Cultural Consortium are a group of:
- art organisations
- community groups
- local businesses
- interested individuals.
The Cultural Consortium uses grant funding from Historic England and other sources to develop site-specific events and projects. These are designed to encourage people to engage with the heritage of the area and to help regenerate and celebrate The Old High Street Intra area and its history through creativity.
The Cultural Consortium was established as part of the HSHAZ cultural programme led by Historic England in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The HSHAZ Cultural Consortium is supported by Medway Council.
To join the consortium, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous cultural projects
Find out more about the previous cultural projects below:
- Medway Pride Fringe Festival
- Heritage Open Days Intra Trail
- Festival of Chatham Reach
- Intra Light Nights
- INTRA SPRING
- Heritage Awareness Projects.
IntraFest was a pop-up music festival in hidden spaces and surprising places along The Old High Street Intra.
Many locations were involved, including:
- heritage buildings
- bars and breweries
- the synagogue
- artists’ studios
The event championed local musicians across a variety of genres and styles, with guest artists from all around the UK. The street came alive with sounds over one evening and 2 full days.
With a combination of bookable, drop-in, free and affordable events and activities, the festival was accessible for all.
The offer also included hands-on craft activities for people of all ages, such as t-shirt printing.
The project complemented the high street’s existing strengths and popularity of music, food and drink. It also brought with it an experienced level of curation and project management through Live Music Now.
The Old High Street Intra has a long history for the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual) community and its allies.
It is home to one of the UK’s earliest LGBTQIA+ pubs and is still a centre for the LGBTQIA+ community today. It has important organisations based there such as Medway Gender and Sexual Diversity Centre, and Medway Pride Radio.
Intra Pride Fringe took place in the week leading up to the main Pride event, with a programme of events and activities for people to engage in before, during and after Pride.
- educational talks (with Shea Coffey of Medway Pride Radio)
- history walks (Carry On Up The Khyber and LGBTQIA+ history walk of the area with local historian Robert Flood)
- family craft workshops (rainbow painting, jewellery, badge, tattoo, balloon art – in preparation for the big day)
- Queer cult movie classics nights.
On the day itself, Medway’s first ever Pride parade processed from the home of the LGBTQIA+ community in the heart of Intra. It gathered more than 2,500 participants along the way to Rochester Castle.
Intra then hosted a programme of after-parties, bands, karaoke, food and drink offers. It welcomed those from the main event at the castle who wanted to continue celebrating Pride into the night.
Organised by Sun Pier House, they worked with local partners, businesses, faith groups and heritage organisations to create a unique trail. This was accompanied by a listings booklet, map and webpage.
There were 5 venues included in the trail for 2022.
Alongside the venues opening their doors and gardens to the public, the programme included:
- history walks
- costumed characters from the history of the street
- a fun Ghost Trail for families
- exhibitions about the history of St Bart’s Hospital, Thames barges and architecture.
This event took place on the Intra footprint around Sun Pier, on the river, and along The Old High Street Intra to the bottom of Star Hill.
It formed part of Intra Heritage Open Day Trails.
With both water and land-based activities, the event celebrated hidden histories and fascinating stories from Intra.
The Festival of Chatham Reach is a laid-back family event where visitors can explore a range of river craft from Thames barges to steam tugs.
There were also shore-based events including live music, markets, local food and activities. 2022 was the second year of this festival.
The HSHAZ Cultural Consortium were supported by Medway Council Culture Team, Events Team and Festival Producer Emergency Exit Arts for Medway Light Nights 2023.
Light Nights is a 2 night event which illuminates the town with lit artworks, installations and experiences. For 2023, the chosen town was Chatham.
Artists, organisations, and businesses in Intra developed a bespoke and meaningful cultural offer for Light Nights. This included food, drink, entertainment, window displays and artwork.
The Cultural Consortium were pleased to have this opportunity to capitalise on the huge footfall in Chatham over the 2 nights of this event in February.
Intra Light Nights included a pop-up street food market. This gave visitors in the centre of town a flavour of the cuisine on offer further along Intra.
There was also a lit window vinyls project which included a series of artworks at key points along Intra, telling the history of the area. Filaments Arts also exhibited in the window gallery at INTRA Arts.
INTRA SPRING invited visitors to explore and discover something exciting on The Old Hight Street Intra during a 10 day event. This included:
- open studios
- live music
Artists and creatives joined up with local businesses to offer an eclectic programme of events for all ages.
17 venues were involved, including:
- cultural venues
- workshop spaces
- places of worship
- historic buildings.
10 artists opened up their studios and welcomed visitors to see their work and chat to them.
These projects include costumed character tours teaching visitors about Intra’s history.
Costumed characters include:
- Suffragist Decima Moore
- Mrs Catherine Dickens
- Florence Nightingale
- Capitaine Francois Hollande, a French-Caribbean officer in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte and prisoner of war
- brewer, former MP for Rochester and Regency gent, Mr James Hulkes.
These projects also include walking tours by local historian Rob Flood, covering topics such as theatres and entertainment, the Great Fires of Chatham, Sun Pier and the river industries.
Follow The Old High Street Intra Facebook to keep up to date with upcoming projects.
Find out more about HSHAZ funding
To find out more about the funding for the HSHAZ project, visit: