The project was led by sculptor Clive Soord and marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Among human lives, eight million horses died during the First World War and many travelled through Kent on their way to the continent. The students intended for this installation to represent the theme of conflict and the loss of lives with dignity. The Canterbury War Horse’s head is bowed in respect and solemnity in this place of quiet contemplation, reflection and remembrance. The horse faces oncoming visitors to the Cathedral.
Design student Trin Wanstall said: “Working on the war horse has been a very valuable experience. I have learned construction skills, as well as how artists complete a commission for a client. It has made us think about why we have made this, which has made us think about conflict and the First World War in particular. I think Canterbury College has trust in its students and believes that we can create a good outcome – which we have here. We communicated very well together on this shared experience and worked well as a team, which has helped us with employability skills for the future.”
This ambitious project would not have been possible without our partners Canterbury Cathedral and the Canterbury Festival, and the help and support of the local community and businesses. All of the wood used in the creation of the piece was donated by Jacksons Fencing, and the horse hair came from Master Ropemakers in the Historic Chatham Dockyards. Tree surgeon Andrew Osbourne kindly provided the logistics of the sculpture. Students of Canterbury College and Spires Academy donated the recycled bottles to create the poppies included in the display. This project was a fantastic display of collaborative, work-based learning from all of the students involved, and is now something which can be seen and appreciated by the entire community.
The installation took place on Friday 19th October at Canterbury Cathedral, and the Canterbury War Horse is now open for display in the Precincts.