Celebrating Canterbury’s Westgate Hall

The Westgate Hall in Canterbury

In the centenary year since the end of the First World War, a special event will celebrate the history of the Westgate Hall in Canterbury.

The hall was built in 1913 by public subscription as a drill hall for the Territorial Army.

It was from here that troops marched to the battlefields of Europe in what was then known as the Great War.

More than nine million military personnel perished in the conflict which lasted from 1914 to 1918. Another seven million civilians were killed.

The Westgate Hall also survived the bombings of the Second World War which wrought so much destruction in Canterbury.

Westgate Hall hosted last year’s Kent Vegan Festival

Since then the hall has served as a venue for conferences, dances, fairs, blood giving, elections, emergencies and community celebrations such as the Kent Vegan Festival.

Campaign group Civic Voice, which promotes civic and community pride, is holding a special meeting in the hall to celebrate it.

Civic Voice said: “It’s unsurprising that the Westgate Hall is a focal point of community memories.

“Our project, as part of the national commemorative events, will help conserve and protect the nation’s war memorials for the long term as well as ensuring there are skilled volunteers available to assess there condition and take steps to preserve them in the proper way.

“We want to use this meeting to recognise that it is the final year of the First World War memorials programme.

“We want to show that the First World War centenary is engaging with new audiences. We also need to consider, once the First World War commemorations are finished, how we ensure people to stay involved in the historic environment sector.”

Civic Voice’s Westgate Hall celebration takes place from 10.15am to 4pm on Wednesday, May 16. Click here for more information or to book a place.


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