Cyclist & Printer
One of Rye’s best known personalities and a man whose ideas have influenced the town’s ways of life is Mr. Jim Foster of Udimore Road.
Many Ryers know him as the man behind the desk at Adams Printing Works, others as an accomplished conductor of the Methodist Choir and a further group think of him as a man on the Bench as a Justice of the Peace for Rye.
Jim Foster was born in Fishmarket Road in 1905 and educated initially at the Lion Street infants school, headmistress Miss Annie Longley, then at the Mermaid Street Boys School under Mr. W. Sprigg Walker, who was the organist at Rye Parish Church. Mr. Foster completed his education at Rye Grammar School, Mr. J. Molyneux Jenkins was the headmaster at the time.
When the first Great War broke out Jim was 9 years old and it was at this time he had his first experience of the printing trade. Working each evening after school at Deacons Printing Works he earned the princely sum of 1d. per hour. He continued working at Deacons through those war years.
Leaving school at the age of 15 in 1920 Jim Foster had already decided his career. He commenced a seven year apprenticeship at Deacons and learned the tricks of the printing craft at a very rapid rate.
His recreational activity is cycling and he joined the Cyclists Touring Club in 1923, he has recently been made a life member of this renowned club. In 1925 he was a founder member of the Rye Cycling Club and held the post of secretary for two years. 1928 saw Jim a member of the C.T.C. Relay team which rode around Britain.
Wedding bells rang out for Mr. Foster in 1929, he married Miss Doris Lancaster, a Rye girl.
Then depression reared its ugly head and changes took place in many local businesses. Mr. J. L. Deacon sold his printing works to Mr. H. J. Masters. Very shortly another change took place and the business passed into the hands of Arthur Adams.
Mr. Foster worked on through the upheavals of the early 30’s and became works manager in 1934.
War clouds gathered again and on the outbreak of war in 1939 Jim Foster joined the Auxiliary Fire Service and in 1940 he helped form the Rye Methodist Choir which gave many concerts around the district and held ‘sing songs’ on Sunday evenings for soldiers and war workers in the town. Mr. Foster conducted the choir through these war years.
Arthur Adams died in 1943 and Jim Foster took over the printing and stationery business of Adams and Son.
With the war years over and business taking a turn for the better, Mr. Foster with other Rye businessmen re-formed the Chamber of Trade, Jim became president in 1948. During the next few years the Chamber organised several successful Trade Exhibitions.
1948 was an important year for other reasons, with the help of his wife he formed the Rye Junior Methodist Choir with six members. This choir has been very successful in festivals and welcomed at many places for concerts ever since. He became a Justice of the Peace for Rye in 1948.
In 1956 Jim formed the Lorelei Singers, a semi-professional girls choir which ran very successfully for three seasons until too many of its number were married.
Jim Foster has been connected with the Rye Methodist Society for over 60 years and has been Secretary for 41 years. He is a keen Rotarian and a founder member of the Rotary Club of Rye and Winchelsea. He says that his life interests are Printing, Cycling and Singing, but there is an obvious omission from this list – Rye, a town that has been made the richer for his interest in its societies and affairs.
From the September 1967 issue of “Rye’s Own”
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