Renovating the St Dunstan's underpass


 Canterbury residents have been raising money to transform the pedestrian underpass which goes under the railway line in St Dunstan’s Street.    The initial target was to raise enough money to paint the underpass, decorate it with art work and make this ‘Art Gallery in an Underpass’ graffiti-proof.  With more money we could also paint the hand rails, improve the lighting and renovate the roof supports.  So we are now going for a target of £5000.   

If you have already donated – THANK YOU VERY MUCH.   If you would like to be part of this project and have not already contributed – please give what you can now. 

 Donations please to:

 The underpass will be decorated with pictures of modern Canterbury and of King Henry II walking barefoot in penance for the murder of Thomas Becket.   The illustrations will be created by local artist Henry Cockburn  and the ‘Art Gallery in an Underpass’ is expected to be ready in time for the 850 year commemorations of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket in the Cathedral in July 2020.

For more about this project, and for thanks to our funders, see beneath this picture by Henry of King Henry II walking in penance by St Dunstan's Church .

More about this project

Hundreds of people walk through the St Dunstan’s Street pedestrian underpass every day.  Most hate the graffiti and deplore the neglected state of the subway, but it is a convenient route when the level crossing gates are closed.  The Canterbury Society and the St Dunstan’s Residents’ Association have both been concerned about the situation for many years and have pressed the authorities to take action.  However, until now it seemed impossible to do anything about it.

The turning point came when some funding was made available by Willmott Dixon, the developers, and the City Council promised to match this sum.  The Council then contacted the Canterbury Society to see whether further funds could be raised.  We have had generous offers of additional contributions from our County Councillors and City Councillors, from Network Rail and from Canterbury Cathedral, and we should like to thank all who have offered contributions. 

But there is still a shortfall in the funding.   There are three reasons why this is a very special project and why we are asking for your help.

First, the project will create a clean, bright and pleasant public space in what is now a dank and dingy subway.  The walls will be cleaned and painted and covered with anti-graffiti coating so that any new graffiti can be cleaned off with soap and water. The work will be done by Wallspace, who carried out the very successful renovation of the Wincheap roundabout underpass. 

Secondly, the underpass will be decorated with original works by a young local artist.  Henry Cockburn’s paintings of Canterbury have already been exhibited in the Lilford Gallery and at Espressions and are much admired for their vivid and attractive portrayal of life in our city.  Selected paintings will be photographed and embedded in a special wrap, similar to that used in the Wincheap underpass.  The result will add to the public art available for the enjoyment of both local people and visitors.

Thirdly, the project will commemorate an important historical event.  In 1170 King Henry II walked barefoot down St Dunstan’s Street to do penance for his part in the murder of Thomas Becket.  The year 2020 marks the 850th anniversary of the death of Becket, and many celebrations are planned in Canterbury and elsewhere.  Henry Cockburn is working on a special painting for the underpass, which will commemorate the event and will ensure that this part of the Becket story is not forgotten.

So we hope you will contribute to our community project.  Your help will enable us to renovate this neglected subway, will add to the public art which local people and visitors can enjoy and will contribute to the commemoration of an important event in the history of Canterbury.  Please give what you can – our deadline is the end of April 2020.


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  • Anonymous 
    • 20 £ 
    • 12 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 20 £ 
    • 12 mos
  • Susannah Perry 
    • 30 £ 
    • 13 mos
  • Sarah Carter 
    • 50 £ 
    • 13 mos
  • John Walker 
    • 14 £ 
    • 13 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Canterbury Society (3)

Jan Pahl 
Raised 958 £ from 26 donations
Canterbury, South East England, United Kingdom
Registered nonprofit
Donations eligible for Gift Aid.
Learn more
Ed Ludlow 
Team member
Raised 20 £ from 2 donations
John Walker 
Team member
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