‘Cabbage Island’ was a 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 toured the All Saints Community Centre, Chatham Library and Luton Library.
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 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 and completing in October 2018, 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 were 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 was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with additional support from Medway Council’s Arts Development Team.
A brand new website was created to share all the information uncovered during the project: http://cabbageisland.co.uk
Thanks and congrats to all the amazing volunteers and local residents who took part!