Lights, camera, action, as Kettering mosaic movie gets under way

Young film makers will be helping with the documentary

By Alison Bagley
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 12:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 12:30 pm

Movie makers telling the story of the history and restoration of a mosaic that used to adorn Kettering Grammar School are ready to roll the cameras as filming starts next week.

Commissioned by Kettering Civic Society, UK Film School staff will begin shooting the community film on Monday (August 2) using locations in and around the town.

With funding from Historic England and sponsors including the Cytringanians - the old boys' association - the story of the Kettering Mosaic will be brought to the silver screen and documented for future generations.

UK Film School

Secretary of Kettering Civic Society Monica Ozdemir, a long-term campaigner who has championed the project, has welcomed the start of the movie shoot.

She said: "I am hugely excited. It's a long story that needs to be told. The mosaic is the history of Kettering in a nutshell. People might not know about it - it's been an up and down story for all these years."

The mosaic depicts a modernist abstract interpretation of the town's coat of arms which also shows its rich religious, cultural and industrial heritage, including Kettering’s links to the birth of the Baptist missionary movement, William Knibb and the abolition of slavery. Many of Kettering’s manufacturing industries are also depicted in the tiles.

Attached to the school, facing out towards Windmill Avenue, the building has since been demolished and replaced by Tresham College.

The mosaic was on the wall of Kettering Grammar School and commissioned in 1962

The mosaic was specially commissioned for Kettering Grammar School in 1962 and was the first mosaic Kenneth Budd designed before going on to be renowned, creating the Kennedy Mosaic in Birmingham’s Bullring Shopping Centre and hundreds more around the country. Kenneth's son Oliver will feature in the film as he has taken on the task of bringing the mosaic back to the town.

Documenting the story of the artwork will be social enterprise UK Film School, led by Jacqueline Edge and Gary Halliday.

Gary has worked as an actor and director on projects including The Garden Boy (2013) Coulrophobia (2012) and The Day the Americans Came (2013) filmed in and around Grafton Underwood.

He said: "UK Film School are excited to announce that we have been commissioned by Kettering Civic Society to make a community film about the Kettering Mosaic, which is currently being restored and will be placed in a prominent position in the town centre upon restoration. This is a fascinating project that is full of local history."

Seven young film makers will be helping with the project after a successful recruitment campaign. They will be joining Kettering author Ian Addis who has written the script. A former headteacher, Ian was a Kettering Grammar School student and is now chairman of the Cytringanians, the association of old boys. He has also written many books on the history of Kettering and local authors including Rushden-born H E Bates, creator of the The Darling Buds of May.

Bates' granddaughter, actor Victoria Wicks, has agreed to appear in the documentary. Her grandfather, also a former Kettering Grammar School pupil, caught the train to and from school and was honoured with a blue plaque in 2017 which is on platform three at Kettering railway station.

Filming will begin on Monday, August 3, at Kettering station, Wicksteed Park and Boughton House, and end when the mosaic is unveiled.

Sponsors will be VIP guests at the premiere which will be shown at the Odeon Cinema with the film available for sale and for showing in residential homes and at community events and on YouTube.

Saved by Kettering Civic Society, it has been stored at the Kent studio of Oliver Budd, the son of mosaic creator Kenneth Budd, with the society looking for a new place to display it. It is hoped that the mosaic will be in pride of place in the Meadow Road area as part of a £4m scheme to revitalise the town centre.On Monday a life-size drawing of the mosaic will be unfurled for the camera by Oliver Budd.

Ms Ozdemir said:" If it helps to tell the history of Kettering to people then it will be wonderful. If it hadn't been for the mosaic as a focal point then we may not have been awarded so much money for the regeneration project - it's all on the back of the mosaic. It will be really good for the town."