Look out of your window and up at the sky. Imagine you have travelled back in time to 5 June 1940. The Dunkirk evacuation between the 24 May and 4 June was complete. Churchill later described the retreat as “A miracle of deliverance” Continue reading Looking Back to 1940
In the nineteenth century, on a ridge of high ground, in the part of greater Heathfield known as Punnetts Town, there were two windmills. One ground the corn, but it is the other, the one that worked wood working machinery, that this piece of history is concerned. Continue reading Rise & Fall Part Two
The wedding of Kelly Lyons and Paul Benn took place on Saturday June 7th, at St Mary’s Church, Rye. Kelly is the daughter of Vanessa and Jim Lyons from New Romney, and Paul is the son of Pat and Steve Benn from Rye. Continue reading Married at St. Mary’s
I knew about the painting skills of Louis Turpin, indeed I have even sold his work under the hammer, but before the end of last month I had never heard him sing. What a talent, his power of delivery, great voice and musical ability puts many full time performers in the shade. I am told Louis has been performing around Rye and district for the past twenty years, somehow I have missed out on his musical talent.
Goodbye to a Rye Hero.
Frank “Pickles” Igglesden of 53 Marley Road died at the beginning of the month, he was 85.
Frank was a true Rye hero. I remember watching him play soccer for Rye United in the days of Bill “Blower” Pierce, Fred Masters and Ted Southerden.
Frank was no less of a hero when he fought a prolonged battle against cancer in the mid eighties and won.
He was an active man, even in his last year, becoming a member of the Rye Wheelers and doing long miles on his bike with and without company. He regularly rode to New Romney, Bexhill and Maidstone. He loved the countryside and was a fund of knowledge.
Sadly the cruel disease returned and Frank, brave as ever, could not beat it this time.
His two sons Roy and Eric, came from Singapore and Canada to look after him during his last weeks. He will be sadly missed by them, the rest of his extended family and his many, many friends.
Simon Paine is a name that will not be recognised in Rye but it was a great privilege for Jo’ and I, as friends, to be invited to a very special party at Ashford recently.
A year ago, at the age of forty, Simon lay unconscious in hospital after a lung transplant that was the only hope of keeping him alive. One year later the family laid on a unique party to celebrate his recovery. Relations attended from all over Britain and the world. Jo’ was re-united with her life long friend, Jo’ Coley, Simon’s sister. The two Jo’s had trained together at the Royal East Sussex Hospital to become nurses. That was in 1956. Both spent their working lives in different parts of the U.S.A. but they always kept in contact. We wish Simon and his wonderful family the very best of health and luck in 2004.
What a great job the restaurants in the town are doing. Parties in the pre-Christmas run up were even more prolific than usual. Indeed it was difficult to get a booking for four, even on a Tuesday evening. It was well worth the effort though, the standard of cuisine in Rye in more than excellent and the variety just grows and grows. Every taste is catered for. This is one trade that will not be affected by the out of town shopping centres.
Rye is at its best catering and looking after its visitors. Antique and collectors shops attract a new type of clientele, many newly interested in the wake of the myriad of television shows highlighting ‘treasures in the attic’. Rye has such a standing as a ‘collector’s town’ that even modern items that have come from a ‘house in Mermaid Street’ attract interest.
Rye In Bloom Party
Lorna Hall, Sue Manktelow, Sandra Pawsey and all the other hard working people on the Rye in Bloom Committee enjoyed a lively Christmas Party at The George Hotel in December. After a wonderful meal, interrupted only by a graceful ‘Conga’ led by Raine Goddard, the party danced the night away to the music of the in-house disco with Councillor Bantick out lasting many half his age in both stamina and enthusiasm on the dance floor.
Common Sense at the Town Hall
A proposal by Deputy Mayor Ian Potter that Rye should stop waiting for Rother or any other agency to provide adequate street lighting for Tilling Green and find enough out of its on meagre funds to at least install three or four lights a year was accepted by Rye Council. For years Rye have pressed all prospective sources and have received excuse after excuse. “It is quite clear to see” said the Deputy Mayor “That nothing is going to be forthcoming and we should do the job ourselves.” Fighting words which I fully endorse. This should be just the start. Rye Councillors must force Rother to restore power and responsibility to this town which had looked after itself very effectively for 900 years until 1973 when reorganisation of local government left Rye out in the cold.
The Car Parks alone could fund the proper maintenance of Toilets, Parks, Gardens and Sports Grounds in Rye.
Before 1973 just five office staff and eight men maintained the whole town to a standard far above that we are experiencing now.
In those days the Town Salts belonged to the people of Rye, we were told, in perpetuity! Now Rother are trying to charge the Bonfire Society £1500 for clearing up after the Fifth Celebrations. This would never have happened in Rye Borough Council days. The Bonfire boys used the site free as of right and cleared up after the event themselves.
Looking over the plan put forward by Millwood Designer Homes Ltd. I get the terrible feeling that it all might be a sprat to catch a mackerel.
I am assured by an eminent member of the Rye Council that the threat of flooding in the Tilling Green area would not be increased by holding water in The Strand. He tells me that if such a threat did appear it would be easy to empty the whole basin that would consist of The Strand and the Marina, before the waters rise to danger level. “Indeed, the process of letting the large amount of water free into the Rother would act as a scourge and clear the silt out to sea.” I hate to think of what would happen to the boats on the moorings at Rye Harbour.
On paper the scheme looks great, a footbridge from the Ypres Castle Inn across the road to the Fishmarket, where a newly constructed Community Hall, Heritage Visitor Attraction and Hotel would be waiting to greet anyone who strolled across the bridge.
There would be another footbridge across the Strand near an extended Riverhaven Hotel which would provide a safe route to the Tourist Information Centre and Mermaid Street. A large Retail Sales Area (Super market) Rock Channel area behind South Undercliff, a Doctor’s Surgery near Shipyard Lane, open amenity areas and car parks as well as the 100 berth Marina across the river.
The foregoing is the Sprat, the mackerel are the 100 houses to be built on the marina site and as many other houses that can be squeezed in behind South Undercliff.
My fear is that the project as a whole is not a viable financial proposition. A Rye fisherman tells me that inland marina would need to be dredged on an almost continuous basis. The other marinas in the area that are being cited as comparisons are all built in the sea. Eastbourne and Brighton being two examples. They require far less maintenance than an inland marina and have the advantage of access to the sea for many more hours over each tide. It may be that Rye will get the houses but not the amenities.
Very strict conditions should be made on the property developers. No housing should be built until the whole project is properly financed, suitable access to the sites are provided and strict guarantees that parts of the town will not be flooded as a result of any meddling with The Strand are in place.
In my mind there would be no suitable access to any site off the Rye Harbour Road until a proper roundabout at the junction with Winchelsea Road or a bypass road south of the town with a tunnel under the river is constructed. A compromise plan of introducing traffic lights at the Harbour Road junction would cause massive congestion in Rye during the summer season. This scheme should be dismissed.
I remember, back in 1970, there was a plan called the ‘Rye Draft Map’ (at the time “Rye’s Own” called it the Rye daft map) This proposed a ‘Through Road’ north of the town. The plan blighted property right up to the Millennium, when it was dropped.
I hope this ‘Rye Draft Plan’ will not become another daft plan just being a source of heated arguments and leading nowhere.
As John Izod said, Rye does need more amenities. It also needs more jobs and more powers over it’s own affairs. Rye Councillors should get together and thrash out their own plan for the future and provide a united front with an alternative scheme that looks after all the interests of Rye. Their plan should be of a more limited but practical nature. Then get all the architects, professionals, builders and other practical people of THIS TOWN to put it all together with a realistic costing. Ask the Rye Partnership to help with the financing and put the workers of Rye in charge of building it.
If you have any doubts about this scheme, just look at the town as a whole. It was planned by Ryers and built by the craftsmen of the town. They built one of the prettiest towns in England. Lets keep it that way.
In the words of a Bob Dylan song “You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone.”
2004 – A Year of Opportunity?
What will 2004 have to offer the people of Rye? I lake to take the optimistic view. In my lifetime I have learned you have to make your own luck and being positive about the future often leads to better things.
Rye can have a great year ahead. We have a good team of Councillors, led by a true Rye Mayor, Paul Carey. A combination of youth and experience and above all a keenness which is more indictable now than it has been for several years.
We also have a hard working Town Manager in Yolanda Laybourne who has achieved more than anyone expected in 2003 and has plans to publicise the town on an even greater scale in 2004.
Then we have Lorna Hall, another lady who is setting the town on fire leading the Rye in Bloom movement. Last year Rye won the ‘Southern Counties in Bloom’ title and in 2004 has been invited to take part in “Britain in Bloom.” Lorna’s enthusiasm is infectious and already has people in the town (including yours truly) convinced Rye is going to win.
What about Rye & Iden United? More than holding their own in the First Division of the Sussex County League – who would dare say that winning the league is completely out of their grasp?
I must not forget Rye Rugby Club. They have had a tough time in Sussex Division One and not won one league match until December when they fought with the courage and tenacity of an England team to beat Norfolk Arms 10 – 8 under the inspired managerial leadership of Tony Pierce.