Mosaic Plaques on the Move from all areas of the Fifth Continent

Wednesday 30th September 2015

85 years after a plaque was unveiled to Reverend Richard Harris Barnham at a memorial service in the Guildhall, Canterbury, the Fifth Continent Steering Group celebrate the links between the clergyman, Romney Marsh and a new Heritage Lottery Funded project at a Fifth Continent Scheme ‘half-way’ event at Romney Marsh Visitor Centre.

The Scheme’s three themes have been captured in new mosaic plaques created at a community event in Dymchurch. They were especially prepared for the 30th September celebration, being brought to the event from three locations in and around Romney Marsh. One featuring Fairfield Church was brought from the location of the old Guildhall in Canterbury by Reverend Caroline Pinchbeck to represent the theme of ‘Rediscover’. The second, featuring a hand holding a certificate and symbolising local skills development, was brought from New Romney by Spencer Goddard, Director of Marsh Academy Community Hub to represent the theme of ‘Reclaim’. The third, featuring a bumblebee and representing wildlife of the area, represents the theme of ‘restore’. It was brought from the vegetated shingle habitat around Dungeness Lighthouse by Owen Leyschon, of the Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership.

On receiving the plaques on behalf of the local community the Chairman of Shepway District Council, Councillor Janet Holben, said ‘In 1837, Reverend Richard Barham, or Thomas Ingoldsby as many ‘knew’ him, wrote in the Ingoldsby Legends ‘The world, according to the best geographers, is divided into Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Romney Marsh…’. Many local residents, as well as the thousands of visitors the landscape attracts, would agree with this sentiment - that the area is indeed unique and special to them. It is for this reason that today we take the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of a number of local organisations in not only ‘getting together’ to work in partnership but in reaching the half-way stage in developing a detailed bid to secure Heritage Lottery Funding for the area.’

Ewa Prokop, Fifth Continent Project Officer, said ‘Mosaics were chosen as a medium because lots of different people could be involved in putting together the artwork. Each individual mosaic piece is representative of all the individual people we hope to touch and engage with as part of the Fifth Continent Scheme. We are 9 months into an 18 month Development Stage of our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. During this time we have been piecing together the project elements of the Scheme and have been talking to lots of different people about the various projects. Everyone is very excited at the prospect of drawing in a further £2.3m into the area. There is still time for people to give us their views on the Scheme by filling out a questionnaire on the Kent Wildlife Trust website or offering ‘Five Words for the Fifth Continent’ on our Facebook page.’

The plaques will form part of a Fifth Continent display which can be seen during normal opening hours in Romney Marsh Visitor Centre. The Kent Mosaic artist, Trudy Britton and two of her friends, contributed their time voluntarily to creating the artworks with the help of local people. The Fifth Continent Steering Group is grateful to them.