Pottering around museum

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Rye has had a long association with pottery dating back centuries. This theme is explored in a new major exhibition called The Pottery of Rye from Medieval to Modern at the Rye Castle Museum on East Street.

The museum has brought together a large collection of pottery including medieval pots that were excavated in the 1930s on the site that was the St Bartholomew’s Leper Hospital on Rye Hill. The hospital had been founded in the 12th century by the monks of Fecamp Abbey in Normandy and during the excavations the remains of four kilns were uncovered. Some of the medieval pots and their decoration are unique to the UK.

Another heyday for Rye pottery was in the 1940s when brothers Jack and Wally Cole established themselves in Rye and took on several young apprentices, who themselves went on to establish successful potteries in the town. The exhibition displays a large range of examples including pots first produced in 1950 painted by June Woolley that have stood the test of time and are still on sale today in Rye Pottery on Wish Ward.

The recent coffee morning held at East Street museum to celebrate the opening of the exhibition was attended by over 70 people during the morning of Saturday September 16. Visitors were able to view the new exhibition with coffee, teas and home made cakes on sale served by stalwart volunteers, raising vital funds for the museum.

East Street Museum will be open every day throughout the Rye Arts Festival 10.30am-4.30pm. The pottery exhibition will remain in situ. In addition there will be a talk by Josh Cole of Rye Pottery called Post War Rye Pottery & Its Unsung Heroes on Tuesday September 26. Seating is limited so book early on 01797 226728.

Photos: Kevin McCarthy

Image Credits: Rye Pottery .

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