Published: Monday, 15th March 2021

Local arts organisations and community groups have been commissioned to showcase Medway’s rich heritage.  

Last year we were awarded up to £1.6million of government funding to revitalise the Star Hill to Sun Pier Conservation Area which covers parts of Chatham and Rochester high streets. 

The project, which is being delivered through Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme, will breathe new life into the high street.

The funding will be used to help the area become a cultural and creative hub with a mix of artists, creatives and makers occupying under-used historic buildings.

A local Cultural Consortium, which includes arts organisations and community groups, has been created to develop a cultural heritage and engagement programme to showcase the area’s history.

In August 2020 we were awarded £10,000 pilot funding for the commissions. The High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Cultural Programme pilot is funded by Historic England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and supported by Arts Council England. 

The consortium has commissioned six projects to uncover the area’s history for residents to enjoy during their daily exercise and essential trips, as well as online.

The six projects are:

  • The Medway Intra Poetry Walk: Local artist Ally Sinyard is encouraging local writers to submit poetry and spoken word pieces based on their experiences of the area to be used in an interactive trail. The deadline for entries is 11.59pm on Sunday, 28 March. For more information, and to enter, visit
  • Slice of Medway #Litterarma: The Living River Foundation will be installing a trail of resin artworks displaying litter which has been collected in the Medway Estuary in driftwood frames from Star Hill to Sun Pier, for residents to look at whilst taking part in their daily exercise. The foundation is also encouraging children aged seven to 10 to write a poem or story about the Medway Estuary including the heritage of the area using three items from their photoboard on their website. The best entries which will be published in an eBook. To find out more, and submit entries, visit:
  • Cathedral of Community: Hannah Whittaker, a performance maker who creates interactive installations, will be creating stained glass portraits of the people behind the businesses and organisations in the area, out of tissue paper, which will be put on display in due course. To find out more, including how local businesses can get involved, visit:
  • Closer Than You Think: A powerful art installation, using pink triangles and yellow stars that gay men and Jewish prisoners were forced to wear during the Holocaust, was on display at Intra Arts, Chatham Memorial Synagogue and the Ship Inn, in Chatham throughout LGBT History Month in February. Find out more.
  • St Bartholomew’s Hospital, ‘The historic heart of health in Medway for over 900 years’: Future Chatham and community arts organisation Creatabot have been collecting memories from people who received care, and worked, at St Barts and have shared them, as well as photos and talks about the hospital on Facebook. Find out more on Future Chatham’s website. They have also created a YouTube channel.
  • Medway Pride Radio: The new community radio station, based at the Medway Gender and Sexual Diversity Centre in Rochester, will provide residents with regular updates on the  commissions as well as special features on the history of the area. The station was founded to support Medway Pride and the LGBTQIA+ communities and allies across Medway. To tune-in, visit:

Supporting Medway's bid to become UK City of Culture in 2025

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “I am pleased that a number of local organisations have been commissioned to help residents find out more about Medway’s rich heritage. I would encourage residents to find out more about the project. The Cultural Consortium, and their ongoing works with local creatives, also supports Medway’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2025.”

Embracing Medway's diverse community 

Alice Brockway, Historic England Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas, said: “We’re delighted that six new projects will be funded by this grant as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone. These displays and commissions embrace Medway’s diverse community and celebrate its riverside heritage, offering new and exciting ways to learn more about with the area’s unique character.  We look forward to working with Medway Council, the cultural consortium and local communities as these creative activities develop.”

Find out more about the project 

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