‘Cabbage Island’ is Icon Theatre’s local history project designed to uncover, research, share and celebrate the hidden historical sites, local vocabulary, cultural traditions and memories that make up the history of Luton’s community and its people.
A touring exhibition with facts uncovered and local stories has now opened, starting its tour at the All Saints Community Centre, then moving to Chatham Library on 6 August-28 September 2018, and finally onto Luton Library from 2-31 October.
Cut off from the rest of Chatham by a steep hill, a Victorian railway viaduct and the open space of Horsted Valley, Luton is an area that has experienced significant changes throughout its history. This project has taught volunteers how to identify and record local heritage and engaged a broad range of participants in exploring and celebrating their local history.
We have discovered hidden histories including finding out that one of the most respected Victorian botanical illustrators, Anne Pratt, lived in and was married in Luton; the painter Richard Dadd’s father Robert, (who would later be murdered by him) discovered fossils including a mammoth tooth in Luton; and a Luton man built an airplane in his backroom on Magpie Hall Road in the 1930s!
Running since October 2017, we have run a range of local history activities as part of the project, in Chatham and Luton Libraries, Fort Luton, Medway Archives, and Victory Academy and All Saints COE Primary School. We are also creating a history trail and making a film with Physical Folk.
20 oral histories have also been recorded from a wide selection of people who live in Luton, which will be available to read or listen to at the exhibition, or watch online here: https://vimeo.com/user5938368.
The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with additional support from Medway Council’s Arts Development Team.
A brand new website is now available publishing all the information uncovered during the project: http://cabbageisland.co.uk
Cabbage Island: Luton Through the Ages Exhibition
Visit this exhibition to discover and celebrate the hidden historical sites, local vocabulary, cultural traditions and memories that make up the history of Luton’s community and its people. Free, suitable for all ages.
Exhibition now touring to:
Luton Library, 2 Nelson Terrace, Chatham ME5 7LA
1 October – 31 October, during normal library opening hours