From a water colour by Austin Bloomfield
The warehouses at The Strand still stand today. They are a reminder of Rye’s maritime past when many ships used to dock in The Strand and unload their cargos of grain, timber, basic slag, coal etc. into these and other warehouses and yards dotted around the area.
It was here that the Rye Barges would load and take cargos on the Rother as far as Smallhythe and Bodiam, on the River Brede as far Brede Bridge, via Winchelsea and Snailham and on the Tillingham to Leasam and Marley Farms.
The Strand warehouses have had many uses over the years besides doing the job they were intended for. Butcher Breeds was tried and convicted of murder here. (The new Town Hall was under construction at the time). In 1957 the whole of the Strand area was converted by a film company into part of the French town Dunkirk. Michael Balcon’s production, depicting the miraculous evacuation of the British Army from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940. The film was an outstanding success and employed many Rye people for a six week period.
Now the warehouses are used as Antique Shops and Restaurants. They are a huge attraction for the thousands of visitors that pour into the town beside providing valuable employment for Rye.
“Rye’s Own” May 2004
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