Home   Whitstable   News   Article

Invicta locomotive engine returning to Whitstable

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The Invicta locomotive engine first operated at the opening of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway in 1830.

And the public are to get a big say on exactly where it eventually calls home.

The Invicta Engine is currently housed at the Canterbury Heritage Museum

The Invicta Engine is currently housed at the Canterbury Heritage Museum

That sparked debate as to what should happen to the locomotive – built in 1829 by famous engineers George and Robert Stephenson and sister engine to their famous Rocket.

A shortlist was drawn up by city councillors which included its current home or being moved to the Beaney in Canterbury.

Other suggestions were for it to be moved to a new purpose-built facility at Whitstable harbour called The Shed, which would be placed behind a new sea wall.

But hot on its heels was Whitstable Museum and Gallery in Oxford Street which wants the engine as a catalyst for major expansion.

At a recent meeting councillors heard from both possible destinations.

Whitstable Harbour

Whitstable Harbour

Brian Hitcham, chairman of the Whitstable Museum and Gallery Trust, announced the museum has received Arts Council funding for the project, bringing their total budget to £100,000.

Earlier this month, museum officials expressed concerns that the Invicta could be at risk of weather damage if exhibited in the harbour.

“The Invicta is a treasured and nationally important artefact,” said Mr Hitcham.

“It shouldn’t be shut in a glass box as decor.

“It certainly shouldn’t be put at risk of flooding or salt damage.”

Meanwhile, others argued the engine would benefit from tourist footfall at Whitstable harbour.

Whitstable Museum is another possible choice

Whitstable Museum is another possible choice

Cllr Bernadette Fisher said: “I would love Invicta to be on the harbour and permanently visible; an industrial icon in an iconic place.”

However, she added, the community should remain united over the issue.

She explained: “It would be wrong if such a great homecoming was seen to divide the community between the two locations.

“It’s so important future generations fully embrace Invicta as part of their shared heritage, rather than as an object of community conflict.

“I fully support the idea of community consultation. It means the arguments both for the museum and for the harbour can be fully aired, and the community can feel part of the decision making.”

Jan Pahl, chair of the Canterbury Society said: “We regret it’s going to Whitstable, but if it’s going to be well displayed we will appreciate that.”

Details on the consultation will be announced soon.

Join the debate...
Comments |

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More