The Last Rye MP-Notepad

This wonderful photograph from the Malcolm Turk Collection, is a potted history. There is so much information contained.

The first question is Where is It? That’s easy. Pearson’s Cycle Works later became The Central Garage in Cinque Ports he building that was demolished in 2002 “In readiness for a library to be built.”

How do we know the year? The clue is in then Cinque Ports Street election poster half way up the ladder on the right. George Loyd Courthope Was elected Member of Parliament for Rye in 1906. This contest, which included a gentleman called Hutchinson whose poster can be seen being hoisted by the team on the left, was the very last time Rye Borough returned its own M.P. After this, the last vestige of real power, gained in the days when the Cinque Ports Fleet was the only seagoing power which defended England against the French, Portuguese and Spaniards, was wrested away and became merged into the ‘Eastern Division of Sussex’. Although the division was still called the Rye Division the Ancient Town was not even the largest Borough in it.

George Courthope was Knighted shortly after representing Rye for four years.

Pearson’s seems to have closed, or perhaps was getting involved with the garage next door. The cycle trade was dropping away, it has always gone in cycles (no pun intended) and by 1906 the cycling explosion that had taken place at the end of the 1800’s was fading away. Mr. Pearson cycle builder probably lent his engineering talents to the new innovation, the motor car.

The Cyclist Touring Club emblem, wings and wheel, on the shop indicates that Pearson was an authorised CTC cycle shop. The Cyclist Touring Club had been founded 28 years prior to this picture being taken and the emblem itself was introduced in 1886.

There is a notice on the door, “Cycles Built” and underneath the letters B.S.A. This was a well known firm of cycle frame builders in the Midlands but their initials, far from proclaiming a gentle, quiet form of exercise stand for British Small Arms. Within a few years they would not be making many cycles.

On the side wall there is a permanent notice pointing the way to the Cinque Ports Hotel, no not the Cinque Ports Arms which was then the Railway Hotel, but to a large hotel that stood on the site of Rye Police Station. It was destroyed by German bombs in the Second World War along with the Regent Cinema.