About 1,000 years ago, the ‘white’ friars that lived on the site kept bees. They ate honey, used it to brew honey wine (mead) and made candles for their church with the beeswax.
Now, 700 hundred years later, bees have returned to Whitefriars. Canterbury Beekeepers, in association with Whitefriars, have installed three hives on the roofs of shops in Whitefriars to help pollinate the city centre’s flowers and provide an education facility for new beekeepers. The Whitefriars bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers, shrubs and trees over a mile away, covering the whole of the city. Our hives each accommodate around 50,000 bees in the summer months and 10,000 in the winter. In the summer of 2012 we harvested our first batch of Whitefriars honey.
Young Person’s Guides
Whitefriars has been pleased to sponsor a number of guides targeted at young people produced by award-winning author Martyn Barr. Copies of these beautifully illustrated books have been distributed free of charge to schools across the district, along with accompanying teachers’ resource guides.
‘Garden Science’ – part of our contribution towards Canterbury in Bloom 2013 – looks at the science behind a garden, supporting the KS2 science national curriculum. ‘To Be A Bee’ was developed to support our bee project and is full of fascinating facts and insights into the amazing world of the honeybee. The best-selling ‘Young Person’s History Guide to Canterbury’ charts the city’s fascinating history from the Iron Age to the present day, including the construction of Whitefriars and the associated archaeological dig.
All Martyn’s books are available to purchase online at www.OOTBShop.co.uk.
Wise Words Festival
Whitefriars has been a supporter of the Wise Words Festival since its inception. The Festival comprises a series of workshops, masterclasses and gatherings, with talks, performances, installations, storytelling, poetry and street entertainment.
Words fly as poets on apple boxes compete in a battle of verse to become the king or queen of the streets slam; poets, authors, philosophers, ecologists and other interesting people perform in the gardens, in tents and even on punts along the river. Musicians and performers pop up on the streets and in coffeehouses across the town. This is an event full of unexpected encounters with poetry and storytelling.
Whitefriars has been pleased to lend its support to the Abbot’s Mill project in the city. This community interest initiative aims to develop an urban hub of environmental and social excellence in the heart of Canterbury. When completed, it will incorporate a renewable energy centre, museum, vegan café and an organic community garden. The centre will be powered by clean electricity generated from renewable, sustainable sources – water and solar.
Closer to home, all of Whitefriars waste is either recycled or used to generate energy. No waste goes to landfill. Other recent environmental initiatives include the installation of low energy lighting systems in service corridors and the siting of a clothes recycling facility in the car park. Whitefriars has also installed over 200 solar panels on the shop roofs to generate electricity.