Adventures in Rye April 2001


by Winnie Hollands

Reading the letter from John and Mary in last month’s Pen & Ink column, I couldn’t agree with them more.

The old Ferry Road School would make a lovely sport and gym centre where mums and dads and children could go. There could be a cycle path through the site from Ferry Road to The Grove and footpaths, children’s play areas, running circuit for joggers and athletes young and old alike, a football training area, roller blade area etc. I can hear you all shouting “What about the money?” Well what about the lottery? Money has been given on a lot less important venues by Camelot, so it would be worth a try also you mums and dads could do lots of fund raising. The right time of year will soon be here for money raising activities. I helped raise money for the Tilling Green Coronation Committee and later the Rye Sports Committee and later still for the Community Centre. These projects were smaller of course but is surprising how much money can be raised by a group of determined people.

How much nicer it would be to have a Sports and recreational centre on the site, rather than a supermarket or housing filling up one of the last open areas available at such close proximity to the town. If we are to have another supermarket, let it be Jempsons on the site they have purchased behind South Under Cliff, lets face it, Jempsons already have interests in Rye and are locals who have built their business up from scratch and still pay individual attention to their customers. What other supermarket can you enter and be greeted by the owner?

What a lovely man Alf Horner was and as John and Mary commented, he would deliver to your door and give credit where it was needed.

I worked for my future in-laws at their grocery store in Cinque Ports Street for two years before marrying Jim (1935-37). I used to make deliveries on my bicycle, even when the order only amounted to a couple of Oxo Cubes and half pound of carrots, it was always delivered promptly. We worked from seven in the morning to eight in the evening, but I loved the job and made many friends. When we were married, on Boxing Day 1937, I had masses of presents including 14 table cloths.

Greengrocery was fresh every day and the majority of sales were to regular customers who sent in their orders which were made up in cardboard boxes and delivered by father-in-law with his horse and cart, brother-in-law George with a hand cart or my husband Jim in a small van. I delivered the small orders on my bike. I was taught that the customer was always right. There was a chair in the shop for the elderly customers and we gave Green Shield Stamps, one for every three pence spent. Books of stamps were cashed in for attractive household goods.

So much for the old days. I expect the youngsters of today will view shopping in that way as old fashioned but I bet they wish they could still pay the 1938 prices.


“Rye’s Own” April 2001

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