Lottery help could restore Kettering mosaic

The Kettering mosaic before it was taken down from the old Tresham Institute campus in Windmill Avenue
The Kettering mosaic before it was taken down from the old Tresham Institute campus in Windmill Avenue

A mosaic which tells the story of Kettering’s connections with the shoe and clothing industry could finally see the light again.

Kettering Civic Society is hoping to reinstate the mosaic, which once adorned the wall of Kettering Grammar School, and has found a new home for it above the entrance to the Newlands Shopping Centre car park in Tanners Lane.

The mosaic was removed from the former Grammar School when the building was demolished in 2007 to make way for the construction of the new Tresham Institute campus.

Since its removal, the mosaic has been kept at the workshop of artist Oliver Budd at his studio in Kent.

Kettering Civic Society’s Monica Ozdemir said: “Ellandi, the owners of the Newlands, have agreed for the mosaic to be installed above the car park entrance.

“However, success in obtaining funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund is dependant on support for businesses and the community.

“With funding we will commission an updated interactive website with community participation, a heritage walk beginning at the mosaic and encompassing all the themes on it.”

The mosaic contains a number of elements, including a pile of boxes representing carton manufacturing, wheels representing the printing industry, a boot representing the shoe industry, and coat sleeves and scissors, representing the clothing industry.

There are also five slaves, representing the town’s links to slave emancipator William Knibb.

Mrs Ozdemir said: “Wicksteed Park is working with us by hosting mosaic workshops. The finished mosaics will be permanently displayed around the park’s new gardens.”

The society is also hoping to create a civic centre in Kettering.

It has identified a site – Drovers Hall, on the site of the former Kettering Cattle Market near the junction of Bowling Green Road and London Road – and now needs to raise £14,000 to rent the building.

The society says businesses which contribute will receive free advertising, and free use of space for exhibitions, activities and charity fundraising.

Anyone who can help is urged to contact the society chairman on 01536 312272 or write to 1A Headlands, Kettering, NN15 7ER.