The Herne Bay Improvement and Conservation Trust met for the first time on 12 March 2004, its aim was to increase awareness of the town’s history and enhance its attractions through improvement and conservation.
Illustrated Heritage Boards
The Trust’s first project was to commission the series of illustrated heritage boards which can be seen on the sea front marking points of interest from the Pier to the Downs. They include the Diver’s Arms (home of one of the world’s first divers), the clock tower (a wealthy widow’s gift to the town) and the bouncing bomb of the Dambusters – the board is close to the statue of the bomb’s inventor, Dr Barnes Wallis, on Beacon Hill.
King’s Hall Gallery
The idea of bringing new life to the foyer of the King’s Hall was first raised at a Trust meeting on October 30, 2008. It was felt that this Edwardian treasure, with views far out to sea, was in urgent need of the care it deserved. It could become a space to be used and enjoyed by the local community; by residents and visitors of all ages. And it was decided that an art gallery, with occasional musical entertainment, would be the best possible use. Canterbury College students were invited to put forward ideas, estimates were drawn up, and a bid was made to the People’s Millions Lottery Fund for a £50,000 grant. It went to the public vote on Meridian TV on 2 November 2010 – and won. The following spring, college construction students began work on a new exhibition wall; and the art students competed to design fabric for the chairs. With a deep blue ceiling, and sparkling white walls hung with around sixty works by local artists, the King’s Hall Gallery was opened on 19 August 2011. Sandi Toksvig, comedian, writer, actor and broadcaster, cut the tape in the presence of the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Canterbury, while Whitstable Brass played in the background.