A TWIST IN THE TALE OF THE KETTERING MOSAIC! 8th Dec 2020
In last years edition of Hindsight we reported on the Kettering Mosaic and high hopes of it being reinstated on Tresham College. What an unpredictable year! Never in our wildest dreams did we think that the restoration and re-siting of the Kettering Mosaic would be funded by Historic England and Kettering Borough Council. Furthermore, we certainly never thought that a place in the town centre would be suitable.
Kettering’s High Street Heritage Action Zone secured £4,354,000 from Historic England and Kettering Borough Council to improve the High Street and included the Kettering Mosaic in its plans!
The HSHAZ is a Historic England initiative intended to breathe new life into town centres by revitalising old buildings and helping to regenerate a vibrant place for locals, businesses and visitors. Historic England has confirmed the secure funding of £1,480,000 for the Kettering High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), with the four-year project beginning late this summer that will restore our historical town centre. The first milestone of the project will see public realm and street scene improvements in the southern end of the High Street and Meadow Road.
Kettering Civic Society supported Kettering Borough Council in its successful bid for High Street funding for this funding.
The mosaic stood on the former Kettering Grammar School building where the new Tresham College now stands in Windmill Avenue. The Society raised funds which together with funding from Kettering Council saved the mosaic from demolition in 2007. Since then, it has been stored in jig-saw like sections in the workshop of renowned mosaic artist Oliver Budd the son of the original artist Kenneth Budd. The mosaic is an iconic 1960s abstract interpretation of Kettering’s coat-of-arms and makes reference to industries in the town. Finding a suitable site for the large mosaic, measuring 15 feet by 45 feet, together with many other planning considerations had proved to be a difficult task as well as raising funds.
The Society is delighted that a new home will be found in the town centre where everyone can enjoy it and reflect on Kettering’s rich history. They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day; the Kettering Mosaic will have found a new home after 18 year.
Please would you kindly take a few minutes to look at the designs that are being proposed for the High Street and complete the survey? Please also ask friends & family and interested organisations to participate, the more the merrier! HSHAZ Survey. Your response would be much appreciated.
The Kettering Mosaic Explained
The mosaic is composed of broken tiles: some glossy, some matt, some dimpled,
some dappled, and also glass mosaic to supply the reds and brighter yellow and
blues. Each area has an exciting mixing of surfaces and
colours to create variety within the limits of individual forms and to portrays
the Coat-of-Arms and Industries of Kettering.
On the top left: A crown standing on its rim of ermine (1). The original Grammar School was founded during the reign of Elizabeth 1, and this reminds us of that foundation. On the crown are crosses and this same cross you will find in the centre of the Coat-of-Arms of Kettering. Beneath the crown and moving across there is: The Griffin (2) with his wings outstretched and straight from the Coat-of-Arms except that his upper wing suddenly changes into coat sleeves (3) illustrating the local tailoring industry, made clearer by the addition of the shears. Underneath our Griffins beak there are a pile of boxes (4) depicting the local carton manufacturers, and next across (5) the mouths and clappers of two bells, reminding us that Kettering once had a Bell Foundry. Above the bells is the Hide from the Coat-of-Arms (6), and over this three wheels (7) for the Printing Industry, printing Braille (8) and Tickets (9). Between these we find Flames (10) from the Coat-of Arms and indicating the Ironstone furnaces.
Alongside, and still moving to the right, are two Martins on "Fountain Ground" (11) taken from the Coat of-Arms, and brought together for company. Underneath them, the open upper of a boot (12) which I certainly could not omit, and which echoes the wing shape of the birds. Whilst right at the bottom, the shapes of Chains (13) leading round to Negroes in their white gowns (14). Although only one Negro appears on the Coat of-Arms, 1 have used five, to remind us that the Baptist Missionary Society founded in Kettering, was largely responsible for the release of slaves. Hence our slaves wear their Baptismal gowns. Three wear earrings, and two hats and if you look carefully, you will see that they are not without features. The little motif in the bottom right-hand corner is 62 for the year, and between the numbers - a bud! - it is the work of Kenneth Budd
The Journey so far
With hindsight, perhaps Kettering Civic Society should not have pursued
the task of saving the Kettering Mosaic. It has been twelve years since the
Mosaic was removed from the wall of Tresham College, formerly Kettering
Grammar School. Yes, we saved the mosaic from destruction, but did we manage
to really save it? Is it anywhere to be seen?
Bad news, Ken had sadly passed away. Good news. Oliver is a mosaic artist! Next step, could the mosaic be saved? A survey would need to be carried out and we would need to raise the funds for this. The survey revealed that the mosaic pieces were individually placed directly onto the college wall. The mosaic measured 15 feet x 45 feet. It was established that it would be possible to remove the mosaic in jig saw sections using a sticky backed mesh following a cartoon produced by Oliver.
“Mosaic Pledge; The Society has four weeks to raise £20,000”. ET article 11th January 2007. Fundraising began instantly, time was running out, Tresham College was soon to be demolished. With much hard work, the Society raised £5,000 and Kettering Borough Council came to the rescue. At least the mosaic was saved from demolition. Oliver removed the mosaic during the college summer holiday taking it away to store in his studio in Kent.
The next hurdle was to find a site large enough for the mosaic, this took several years involving many letters, emails and meetings. Important issues had to be addressed, ownership of the site, future care and maintenance, insurance, planning permission etc. etc. Many sites were considered and with each site all issues were addressed. Eventually we found a wall at the back of Kettering Conference Centre, however, not a place where the mosaic could be seen but where the owners were happy to accept the mosaic. This was better than nothing and the method that Oliver would use to restore the mosaic by placing the pieces in aluminium trays would mean that should a more suitable site be found; the trays could be removed easily.
Having found a site, we needed to raise funds to have the mosaic restored and installed, but without being a registered charity we could not do this. In 2009 the Society registered as a charity and we searched for funding through a variety of different arts Societies including the 20th Century Society. Grand Prize draws, fundraising dinners, mid-summer barbeques were never going to bring in the £30,000 plus required.
Meetings, emails and letters were exchanged including between Kettering Borough Council, Northants County Council, our Member of Parliament, Councillors, the Grammar School Foundation. The Cytringanians pledged £1,000. Between 2012 and 2018 three Heritage Lottery Bids were made. HLF money is not handed out willy nilly, the charity in question (Civic Society) must put together projects involving the community. Each bid took a year to prepare whilst exciting community projects were planned. More meetings and workshops with trips to HLF headquarters in Nottingham, followed by more meetings telling us why we had failed. Each time we changed our projects according to their advice, each time the goal posts had changed. Most infuriating was that we were recommended to go back to the original project which was then rejected.
Other sources for funding were explored, each taking hours of research,
form filling, gathering of evidence; each application proved fruitless.
In January 2019 I met with Martin Hammond, Executive Director of KBC, informing him that the project was not progressing and could Kettering Borough Council please take on the mosaic. Martin has always been supportive of the project even suggesting other sites and he encouraged me to seek another site. As though a miracle had occurred, driving home and waiting in a traffic queue along Windmill Avenue, my eye caught a large wall on the now ‘new’- twelve-year-old college! A light at the end of a long tunnel, I would approach the college again to see if they would have the mosaic. One last hope of finding the best place for the mosaic.
Immediately, I contacted the college and a meeting was arranged. The Principal was in favour of receiving the mosaic and we parted, each with a list of issues that would require addressing. Bearing in mind that colleges are busy places and considering Easter and summer holidays, we did not want to put pressure onto the staff to move the project forward. Eventually we managed to arrange a meeting on 12th November expecting to dot the ‘I s’ and cross the ‘T s’.
We hit a brick wall! The original staff who had agreed to the mosaic had left. All records of our meetings and emails had gone with them. The important piece of information that we needed from the college was what lay behind the brick clad wall. Would the wall be structurally strong enough to bare the weight of the mosaic? We felt sure that it would be but we needed to have evidence in the form of an architect’s plan. Did the college have the original plans? No one knew, all staff who were around twelve years ago had moved on. The builders, Leadbitter, had gone into administration.
This year the Society had been instrumental in supporting Kettering Borough Council’s successful £2m application for Historic England’s High Street Funding. We were included in the stakeholder meetings making recommendations and submitting the Society’s thoughts on possible projects. The group who joined Delia Thompson’s walk and heard Ian Luck’s talk on NHF History Day in Kettering would have learned of the importance of William Knibb in Kettering’s history. It is this link with William Knibb and the Kettering Mosaic that is so important for the town.
As I write this, we still have two main hurdles before the mosaic project can be brought to fruition or not. Firstly we need to know if the wall is suitable to take the mosaic. There is still much work to be done and if we do not instruct Oliver to begin restoration in December, we will miss the Summer holiday slot for putting up the mosaic when students are not around, strict health and safety rules, risk assessments apply. The ultimate question is; will Kettering Borough Council, through the Historic England fund provide the £10,000 still needed to match the Society’s £17,000 that will enable the mosaic to be restored and installed?
By this time next year you will know if the mosaic has been truly saved.
Kettering is soon to be formally twinned with Falmouth in Jamaica, the link being Kettering born William Knibb, emancipator of slaves whose blue plaque can be found on his birthplace in Market Street. Furthermore, the Kettering Mosaic has an abstract image of 5 slaves with broken chains, a modern version of Kettering’s coat-of-arms.
Progress is being made after 12 years of hard work in getting the Kenneth Budd Mosaic re-instated. Discussions are taking place with Tresham College in Windmill Avenue to place the Mosaic on a wall there. To have the Mosaic returned to it’s original site would be a dream come true. Meetings will be taking place in September that we hope will be fruitful.
There still remains the important fundraising factor. If the Mosaic is able
to be placed at Tresham College the cost for re-siting it will be £10,000
less than the Newland Centre.
JOIN IN THE RACE TO
BRING THE KETTERING MOSAIC BACK TO THE TOWN
PRESERVE our memories of our town - PROTECT an iconic 1960’s artwork
Now is your opportunity to sponsor the restoration of the Mosaic
DONATE £300 TO RECEIVE A GOLD CERTIFICATE
DONATE £60 TO RECEIVE A SILVER CERTIFICATE
DONATE £15 TO RECEIVE A BRONZE CERTIFICATE
The first mosaic and original artwork by internationally acclaimed mosaic
artist Kenneth Budd depicts a modernist abstract interpretation of
Kettering’s Coat of Arms which also shows Kettering's rich religious,
cultural and industrial heritage, including Kettering’s links to the birth
of the Baptist Missionary movement, William Knibb and the abolition of
Who was the artist?
This was the first mosaic that Kenneth Budd designed and he went on to be famous, creating the Kennedy Mosaic in Birmingham’s Bull Ring Shopping Centre and hundreds more around the country. His son, Oliver Budd has now taken over the business. In 2007 he took down the mosaic and has it in storage in his workshop in Kent.
Why save the Mosaic?
Abstract Images in the mosaic can be identified: (click for a full explanation)
Where to site the mosaic?
The original Grammar School in the town centre
What would happen to the mosaic if the Newlands Shopping Centre were to be demolished in the future?
How to save the mosaic?
When SPONSORS raise £25,000 the mosaic will be restored and reinstated.
SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION FOR KETTERING’S RICH AND
LET YOUR NAME GO DOWN IN HISTORY on THE ROLL OF HONOUR
DID YOU OR MEMBERS OF YOUR FAMILY WORK IN ANY OF
BE A SPONSOR IN MEMORY OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS
or CONTACT THE SECRETARY (email email@example.com) FOR MORE DETAILS
In Britain it is rare to see any 1960’s public art that has survived urban re-development. Even more exceptional is a good, well-crafted example of work from that decade. Kenneth Budd’s mosaic the Kettering Abstract, is just such a work. This huge mosaic mural (almost 100m2) depicts an abstraction of a formal coat-of-arms. It was created in 1962 to grace the façade of the Tresham Institute (formerly Kettering Boy’s School). The work is stylishly chromatic, yet not at all out of place. The Society are running a campaign to save this landmark in its community, a 1960’s classic that sits comfortably in the 21st Century. We have so far been been successful in removing the mural from the Tresham building before it was demolished and it is now in storage with Oliver Budd.
Please support our fund raising efforts to save this work - download a sponsorship form here
Designed and constructed by Kenneth Budd ARCA 1962
in glass and ceramic mosaics
Saving the Grammar School Mural 2007
A brief summary of Kettering Civic Society’s efforts to secure the mosaic for the town
Formerly Kettering Grammar School and Kettering School for Boys, the site now belongs to Tresham Institute. A new building due to be opened this year will replace the original buildings which will be demolished to make way for parking. Tresham Institute was not able to include the mosaic into the plans of the new building. After careful consideration by Tresham Governors, Kettering Civic Society were ‘given’ the mosaic.
The Society recognises the mosaic as being a distinctive work of art dating from the 1960’s. It was the very first mosaic that Kenneth Budd created. He went on to create many more including the one on Birmingham’s Bull Ring Shopping Centre. Kettering’s mosaic is unique because of it’s rarity as many of Budd’s mosaics have been demolished. When the building is demolished, there will be no vestige that a Grammar School had existed for over 400 years in our historic town of Kettering. The mosaic is a modern interpretation of the Kettering Coat of Arms and it tells the story of Kettering’s fascinating industrial and social history. The mural is the only visual record of Kettering's history; it was designed and made after thorough research into the history of Kettering by Kenneth Budd. It is a modem interpretation of the towns Coat-of-Arms.
Mosaic specialist, Oliver Budd, was invited to Kettering by the Society to carry out a survey to ascertain whether the mosaic could be removed from the wall successfully. Thankfully it was, and the Society received a report with costs for the removal, restoration and the relocation of the mosaic. The decision at a Civic Society committee meeting on 3rd January 2007 concluded that steps should be taken to save the mosaic, by keeping it in safe storage until a suitable site could be found. On Monday, 12th February 2007, the scaffolding was up and ready for Oliver Budd to commence removing a test piece. This was successful and he continue with the removal of the mosaic.
The mosaic has now been removed to the safekeeping of Oliver Budd. When a suitable site is found a further £25,000 will be needed to restore it.
The school educated some famous Kettering names: Thomas Toller, William Knibb (Emancipator), John Alfred Gotch (Architect), Sir Alfred East (Artist) HE Bates (Author). School Masters Geoffrey Perry and Derek Slater, who tracked Sputnik 4 in May 1960 were subjects in a Channel 4 drama based on their achievements at the school: “Sputniks’, Bleeps and Mr. Perry”, which was broadcast in March 1987. Amongst the many successful former students, the Civic Society was delighted welcome Sir Peter Crane, then Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, as speaker at their annual dinner.
Fundraising began on 12th January and within twelve days £725 had been donated. Our first event was a Prize Draw - Prizes include - One night stay in London with visits to The Houses of Parliament and the London Eye - Dinner for Two At The Three Swans in Market Harborough - £50 - many more prizes including these from our sponsors Perfect Inches - Back, neck and shoulder massage Forget-me-not - Silk flower arrangement - The Star Inn, Geddington - A meal voucher for £20 - Pytchley Lodge - A round of Golf - Kettering Football Club.
Also to promote our campaign we held a Mid Summer’s Eve Extravaganza for members and Society friends at Kettering Leisure Village. The evening of 21st June included a hog roast and music for all tastes, kindly provided by Bill Burton.
We include an explanation of the mural by the artist himself, for the benefit of future generations of students - or passers by.
A Numbered Diagram by the Artist
WHAT'S IT ALL MEAN?
Maybe I can answer that question now, I heard it so often as I worked up aloft on the scaffolding with my two assistants.
Stated briefly, the Mural portrays the Coat-of-Arms and Industries of Kettering: but its most important function is to decorate the building, in the same way that a brooch decorates its wearer.
Accepting this you will then ask why have I designed it in this way. The answer is partly that this is my style of work, but mainly, by reason of the limitations and requirements of Mural design.
(a) It has to fit naturally into its setting and be in harmony with the building of which it is a part.
(b) By reason of this, it must appear as a balanced and even decoration, in order to preserve the Architectural Harmony.
(c) There are no "Lazy" spaces, each part has its purpose, fitting into the next and gaining its form, to a large extent, from the shapes that surround it, whilst retaining its own identity. This naturally results in some distortion of individual objects, so these have been deliberately simplified to avoid confusion.
The mural is composed of broken tiles: some glossy, some matt, some dimpled, some dappled, and also glass mosaic to supply the reds and brighter yellow and blues. We have tried to make each area exciting by mixing our surfaces and colours to create variety within the limits of individual forms
Now let's look at the mural itself. On the top left: We have a crown standing on its rim of ermine (1). The original Grammar School was founded during the reign of Elizabeth 1, and this reminds us of that foundation. On the crown are crosses and this same cross you will find in the centre of the Coat-of-Arms of Kettering. Beneath the crown and moving across there is: The Griffin (2) with his wings outstretched and straight from the Coat-of-Arms except that his upper wing suddenly changes into coat sleeves (3) illustrating the local tailoring industry, made clearer by the addition of the shears. Underneath our Griffins beak there are a pile of boxes (4) depicting the local carton manufacturers, and next across (5) the mouths and clappers of two bells, reminding us that Kettering once had a Bell Foundry. Above the bells is the Hide from the Coat-of-Arms (6), and over this three wheels (7) for the Printing Industry, printing Braille (8) and Tickets (9). Between these we find Flames (10) from the Coat-of Arms and indicating the Ironstone furnaces.
Alongside, and still moving to the right, are two Martins on "Fountain Ground" (11) taken from the Coat of-Arms, and brought together for company. Underneath them, the open upper of a boot (12) which I certainly could not omit, and which echoes the wing shape of the birds. Whilst right at the bottom, the shapes of Chains (13) leading round to Negroes in their white gowns (14). Although only one Negro appears on the Coat of-Arms, 1 have used five, to remind us that the Baptist Missionary Society founded in Kettering, was largely responsible for the release of slaves. Hence our slaves wear their Baptismal gowns. Three wear earrings, and two hats and if you look carefully, you will see that they are not without features.
And what about the little motif in the bottom right-hand corner? Well, that's simple 62 for the year, and between the numbers - a bud!
I understand that Kenneth Budd's mosaic mural, THE KETTERING
ABSTRACT is under threat by a proposed demolition and your Society has a
campaign to save this work. This email is intended to register my total support
for the campaign.
Kenneth Budd was an eminent mosaic artist and we are fortunate to have numerous examples of his, and indeed his successor firm's work here in South East Wales. These are public works of great stature and while perhaps rather different to yours in that they are generally figurative, they are greatly valued, appreciated and enjoyed by the public. They provide an enormous contribution to the artistic and cultural environment and we consider ourselves fortunate to have these fine examples of this master artist's work.
The destruction of one of Kenneth Budd's major works at Kettering could only be described as a great tragedy. This is a view which I am sure is shared by countless people who have enjoyed the fruits of his skills, in all areas of the country where he has worked. I can understand that by the very nature of growth and development the things that we treasure can come under threat. But it is important that valuable works of art should be saved and relocated for their enjoyment by future generations.
I wish your campaign every success.
G W Thomas JP,
Chartered Civil Engineer [retd]
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THE MURAL POEM
A myriad of colours, shapes and sizes,
Each one chiselled and crafted
To contribute to the whole
Which is clearly visible
And meaningful to few.
The fragments do make sense
From a distance; see
How each constituent piece,
Alone seems worthless,
This kaleidoscope construction took its identity
From its makers; they themselves were shaped
By their efforts, the recipients likewise moulded.
Thus three compounds grew from one structure.
Now it crumbles, its image splintering into confusion,
And those once affected whisper regret
As they recall the blurred vision from their past.