I managed the Westgate Parks 2016 interpretation project and commissioned a local sculptor, Steven Portchmouth to design a Bull to reflect the industrial and agricultural history of Tannery Field.
The Canterbury Bull’s design drew inspiration from the former St. Mildred’s tannery and in particular the railway tracks used by workers to transport heavy trucks full of waste from the tannery to Tannery Field which was previously known as ‘Slub bank’. Whilst leading a conservation task with the Westgate Parks volunteer team in 2014 part of the old railway was unearthed.
Photo courtesy of Matt Smith
I wanted to create a sense of place for Tannery Field and provide a platform for discovering the historical importance of the area on which the bull stands. Tanneries favoured bull hides as they were better quality than that of cows – hence the sculptured bull’s skinned look.
There was also a bull kept on the field for a number of years. The tannery, which closed down in 2002, produced leather for seating in the House of Lords, the interior trim Rolls Royce cars and, allegedly, the famous chair from the TV quiz show Mastermind.
Video courtesy of Matt Smith