The famous Invicta engine has been given a new permanent home.
It will be moved from the Poor Priests’ Hospital in Canterbury’s Stour Street, where it formed part of the displays in the Canterbury Heritage Museum, to the Whitstable Museum.
The move was unanimously agreed by Canterbury City Council’s community committee last night (Wednesday).
Cllr Neil Baker, the council’s community chairman, said: “The Invicta is coming home.
“After years of being away from Whitstable, and after being showed around Europe for shows about the early railway history, the engine that pulled the first passengers as a regular thing in the world is finally coming home to the town she worked.
“The committee voted to move her to Whitstable Museum. She will be welcomed and loved in the town she served so well, where she worked and showed the world passenger railways could be a thing.”
A public consultation found that nearly 80% of respondents favoured the museum in Oxford Street while 18% said it should be placed on the town’s harbour.
And a report which went before councillors stated: “The museum attracted 9144 visitors in 2017-18 an increase of 86% on the previous year.
“Relocating Invicta may increase the footfall further. The Invicta at the museum will likely have a positive impact in drawing people up the High Street to the museum and in extending the visitor season to 12 months. The museum will be open for 180 days this year, with longer opening planned.
“Phase two of the museum development will improve the visibility of the locomotive from Oxford Street. There are a significant number of exhibits and displays in the museum relating to the town’s history, including a 75% scale timber replica of the Invicta.”
It will take around a year to complete the relocation.