Arts centre awarded £55,000 to celebrate Havant-based company’s history through project

Kenwood's iconic vintage van
Kenwood's iconic vintage van

AN arts and heritage centre has been awarded with more than £55,000 to record and celebrate an internationally-famous brand’s presence in the heart of a town.

The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre has been given £55,900 through the Heritage Lottery Fund to record the history of the Kenwood factory in New Lane.

The project will tell the story of the brand founded by Kenneth Wood in 1947 in Woking, and which moved to Havant in 1962, when about 700 people were employed at the factory.

The grant will fund a documentary featuring interviews with Kenwood workers past and present, tracing the development of the company over six decades, with a 1960s-themed day for the public being held next month.

Sophie Fullerlove, director of The Spring, said: ‘We are excited to be given the opportunity to celebrate Havant’s role in a pioneering brand and are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for backing the project.

‘We will be holding a 1960s-themed day in September to celebrate Kenwood’s arrival in Havant and we hope as many former and current employees as possible will attend.’

While manufacturing transferred to China in the 1990s, the company’s headquarters remains in New Lane and has provided both employment and social opportunities for staff over the years.

Mark Welch, managing director of Kenwood, said: ‘The project will highlight the role Kenwood has played in the community for more than 60 years and enable both current and former workers to record their experiences of working for the company.’

The project will be launched at The Spring’s free Mixing ‘n’ Twisting 1960s-themed day on Saturday, September 29, from 11.30am onwards.

Kenwood’s iconic vintage van will be on display and John Wood, step-son of founder Ken, will be in attendance to share his memories. There will also be opportunities to try out 1960s nail, hair and make-up styles and watch the classic film Taste of Honey.

The documentary will feature as part of a temporary exhibition in The Spring’s mezzanine from April next year.

It will also be part of a new interactive Kenwood-themed exhibit in the museum’s existing 1950s-60s kitchen. A book featuring the memories of all contributors will also be created.