By Jim Hollands
Fifty years seems a long time but looking back to 1965 from 2015 it seems not so long at all.
“Rye’s Own” was started with the intention that it should report and support Rye. There can be no doubt that it has always done that, although in those early days Rye Borough Council was running the town’s affairs in a very efficient and effective way and the magazine did not find itself at the forefront of political confrontation as it does in this modern age.
The sixties were great times for Rye, the cattle market was flourishing, the High Street and business in general were enjoying a post war boom. The Borough Council had provided new houses on Tilling Green for all that needed them and there were homes to be purchased at affordable prices for young people with the support of Rye Building Society, who set so many local couples on their way with fair mortgages that favoured Ryers who wanted to live and work in the town.
Looking back to the years before “Rye’s Own” I remember the War years and think back on those times when this little town took so much punishment from Nazi bombers.
I saw what they did to the cinema, my father took me there within a couple of hours of the attack – I saw the pilot in his cockpit as he passed over the station strafing women and children coming from the Ferry Primary Road School. – I saw the blood pouring from Mrs. Care’s ear after a falling shell case nipped off her ear lobe. It had fallen from the air battle going on in the skies above the farm on Military Road where Rye women, with their children close by, were picking peas to help the War effort.
I did not see the devastation caused below the Green Steps, but clearly remember my Grandfather telling my dad that he thought he had found someone trapped in the rubble. An arm was stuck out as though someone was trying to extricate themselves from the rubble, when he went to investigate it turned out there was nothing attached.
I remember the first night that V1’s came over the town. Uncle George came in from Warden Duty and announced that there were aircraft with rear lights passing overhead.
I saw a V1 diving towards the ground over Leasam in the days that followed, I never saw it hit the ground, my Aunt Lil had dragged me away from the window – The blast might knock out the window she told me.
I remember the four tanks that were parked in Eagle Road every day for a week. I later learned they were returning to Ashford on a train overnight and then being delivered back to Rye in the morning daylight. It turned out to be part of a huge effort to make the Germans think the invasion was going into Calais, not Normandy. I have learned in the years since that there were thousands of canvas and balsa wood tanks constructed and lined up in fields on the Essex coast, also as part of the diversion.
I draw on these recollections to illustrate why Ryers who lived through these times enjoyed the 1950’s and 1960’s and appreciated the massive reforms that had improved the standard of life for all, rich or poor.
The divisions were breaking down. Women were treated with respect and family life returned to what it had been before the war but so much easier. Washing machines replaced scrubbing boards and mangles, fridges replaced pantries, electric and gas cookers replaced coal and wood burning stoves. Vacuum Cleaners became affordable, Record players replaced wind-up gramophones but most life changing of all was television.By the time “Rye’s Own” came on the scene the majority of families had television, in fact, within four years of the first issue, colour television became available.
1965 was a good time to start a magazine in Rye. Response from the public and advertisers was terrific, the town was being run by a council made up of people with the interests of the town and it’s people at heart. We could not have guessed what amazing event was to take place just one year after our first appearance at the newsagents.
“The Queen & Prince Phillip are coming to Rye”
Then came a ‘hammer blow’ – There were to be two only press passes for photographs issued. One would go to the local established local newspaper, “The Sussex Express” and the other would go to a press agency who would then sell on pictures to any other publication that wanted them.
That would be no good to us, but what could we do about it? Joan had the answer – SHE WROTE TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE – A very nice letter back from the Queen’s secretary told us that TWO passes were being arranged for “Rye’s Own” allowing us to take pictures from the official press area outside the Town Hall and at the War Memorial, where a special presentation was to take place.We also got volunteer amateur photographers from Rye Camera Club to help out by taking pictures around the route the Queen and Prince Phillip would take on their way to the Town Hall.
These are just some of the pictures from that amazing day. The whole magazine is available by email, free to anyone who has purchased our fiftieth Anniversary issue. Just email your name and email address to [email protected] quoting this code 6782e298 and I will forward an electronic copy to you within three days.
This was not a “Rye’s Own” picture, ours were all in black & white. This shot of Queen Elizabeth II was taken from the Rye Movie Society film of the Royal Visit which can be seen on the Rye’s Own website at https://ryesown.co.uk/royal-visit-to-rye-in-1966/
Fifty years of looking back – But what of the future? Can “Rye’s Own” survive in this new age of the internet?
Things are changing so fast, hard copy newspapers and magazines are dying all over the country because so many people are using social media for their news and reading entertainment. Even television has been hit hard as more and more viewers use phones and ipads to watch programmes at their convenience.
Grants are available for starting local newspapers online but “Rye’s Own” has never had a grant of any sort. We are not aligned with any organisation that gives us support in return for editorial space and have kept ourselves completely independant and are able to comment on any subject without fear or favour. As our readers know, we have not pulled any punches over the years, nor will we in the future.
Long ago we stood shoulder to shoulder with Canon John Williams the Vicar of Rye, and a lot of other determined people on the Committee in the fight to get a proper Community Centre in Rye. This was a successful fight and the Community Centre in Conduit Hill is booked and used daily for all manner of town events. “Rye’s Own” is proud to have been associated with that great town effort.
Very recently saw the culmination of another great fight to get a safeway for cyclists and pedestrians between Rye Harbour and Rye. Brian Mathews lost his son Graham eleven years ago, and after a protracted eleven year battle with East Sussex County Council to get them to complete the pathway I was proud to represent “Rye’s Own” and Rye Wheelers and stand alongside Brian, his family, members from the Wheelers and many other supporters when “Graham’s Way” was opened.
There have been other fights over the years that “Rye’s Own” has supported and lost. The moving of the Postern Gate Surgery to the top of Rye Hill. The closing of Tilling Green Post Office and the closing of the Friary Centre. Two of these were lost because Rye was betrayed by it’s suposedly suportive political representatives, one even marched in the ranks of the protesters and then voted against them in Parliament.
That is all water under the bridge now and “Rye’s Own” must look to other ways of getting Rye’s message across. We intend to continue producing hard copy issues of the magazine as long as our loyal readers keep supporting it. We have already set up a RYES OWN NEWS GROUP on FACEBOOK which has the support of 1500 members.
It is completely free to join the group and once you are a member you can air your views on anything connected with Rye. There have been two very interesting debates recently, one dealing with the mystery over why Rye Partnership had not paid back the £125,000 grant from SEEDA that it used to clear the Central Garage site and another, rather one sided, on the merits of the design of the building that now stands on the Central Garage Site.
We also have a RYE’S OWN FACEBOOK PAGE with loads of pictures and stories.
More recently we introduced a Rye’s Own Website, free to anyone who loves Rye. ryesown.co.uk has old articles, pictures and films related to Rye added every day. Viewers can also access the website through facebook or twitter.
We are exploring the possibility of starting a Live NEWSREEL, giving Rye a virtual Television Service – To acheive this we will need a lot of help and support from the people of Rye. With modern phones and ipads it is possible to send moving or still pictures directly to [email protected] .co.uk. They can then be included in the newsreel.
We have already covered some events in this way, now we are looking for volunteers to help all our projects along. The only qualifications are that you love Rye and want to help keep the Rye’s Own ‘institution’ going for another fifty years.
Send us pictures or video of Rye events that you attend, news of your clubs and societies, comments on new building designs and plans, sport pictures and video and anything else you think might be interesting to readers or viewers. Almost anything sent will be used either in the hard copy magazine or on the website and Rye’s Own Pages. We would also like to have the use of any cine film of Rye people and events from the past, video footage of the town etc. that you have taken.
Rye has got an amazing history. This magazine is doing it’s best to get it all on our website and preserve it for future generations. Rye’s Own first appeared 50 years ago but our archives go back much further than that. We are always looking for old material to fill the vast gaps in Rye’s ancient and modern history. If you can help us in any way you are helping Rye too.
If you have any help or materials to contribute please phone Jim Hollands on 01303 814 874 or email jim- @ryesown.co.uk or contact by ‘snail mail’ “Rye’s Own” Guinea Hall Lodge, Sellindge, Kent TN25 6EG.
SOME OF THE FILMS ALREADY AVAILABLE ON THE RYE’S OWN WEBSITE
Royal Visit to Rye in 1966
Rye Wheelers 100 Mile Race 2005
England Expects – The Trafalgar Day Celebrations 2005
The Opening of Graham’s Way 2015 Bernard’s Nightmare 1966
Boxing Day Hunt Meet 1967
Iden Ladies V. Eastbourne 1969
Rye Carnival 1974 in six parts
Rye Bonfire Parade,Fireworks and Fire 1962
Fun Fair at Rye 1963
Rye Bonfire 1962
Rye Athletic Football Team 1969
Rye Remembers 1967
Fishing from Rye in the 1960’s
Christine Turnbull’s Balloon Flight from Rye 1967
The Bentley at the Mermaid 1962
Point to Point 1962
Udimore F C v Flimwell 1967
Iden v. Brede in the Lower Divisions Cup Final 1969
Hastings Carnival 1969
First Published in “Rye’s Own” November 2015
All articles, photographs, films and drawings on this web site are World Copyright Protected. No reproduction for publication without prior arrangement. (Hard Copy Back Numbers Still Available) © World Copyright 2017 Cinque Ports Magazines Rye Ltd., Guinea Hall Lodge Sellindge TN25 6EG