In this unusual time when there are no distractions from bustling shops, cafes or attractions, perhaps you have time to stand and really take note of Rye’s architectural mix on your daily walk? We have put together a selection of ways to help you enjoy and explore the buildings around you.
Starting Next Week – Themed Town Walks
Local writer and historian Alan Dickinson, will be giving you some ideas for themed walks around Rye. As the High Street will be quieter than usual, he will be starting by highlighting some interesting shop fronts and the history behind them. Later articles will include Significant Houses and Industrial Rye.
Alan has written a number of books on Rye and his latest book Rye History Tour (available online) guides you through Rye’s streets and alleyways, pointing out the well-known and lesser known landmarks along the way.
Shapes, Colours and Materials
Several years ago I worked with the late John Griffiths on the design of the Rye Conservation’s previous website. John was president and chair of the society for many years. Not only did he have a passion for buildings, photography and telling humorous stories, but he embraced new technology. There was great excitement when he bought a new large colour printer and went about preparing his book called Shapes, Colours and Materials – a look at buildings in Rye. He illustrated how, as new materials were introduced, new houses were built in available spaces, or buildings were adapted, making Rye a fascinating mix of architectural styles. This book is available from the Rye Conservation Society for £3 but John’s images and work can also be seen here on the Rye Conservation Society website gallery. They make an interesting read so why not take a look before your walk and you may see things with a fresh eye?
A Collection of Postcards
The featured image above is from the Rye Conservation Society postcard collection which RCS purchased from Rye Auction Galleries. The cards date from 1902 to the 1970s and cover the streets and buildings of the town, mainly in photographs, but with a good selection of reproductions of watercolours and etchings. A selection of these can be seen online.
If you’d like to support the work of the Rye Conservation Society in protecting Rye’s heritage, they are welcoming new members. Details and an application form can be downloaded here.
Who Lived In Your Street?
If your tour makes you more hungry for more, the Rye Museum website is packed full of information about life in Rye – battles, the French, smugglers, medieval life and much more. For example, when you walk down Watchbell Street and past Hucksteps Row, where today you would find fewer that 10 people in 6 houses, Jean Floyd writes on the museum website: “In that year  a detour down Hucksteps Row would have found some 80 further residents, over half of them children, in 17 houses”. There is a lot of really interesting material on their website so do look.
Share Stories Of Your House
If you live in a historic building, we’d love you to share any stories you may have about the building or who lived there, together with with any old photographs. Get in touch with us as email@example.com or Submit a Story. We can put an article together if you are able to send us your story and some images.
Walk from the town
Now that walks can be longer you may like to go further afield and see Camber Castle, built for Henry VIII, as an artillery fort designed to guard the port of Rye. You can download the map for the Camber Castle walk from Rye railway station from the Sussex Wildlife Trust website. Their website also includes a monthly guide of what you can expect to see on your walk. What to spot each month. Enjoy.
Image Credits: Rye Conservation Society , Rye Conservation Society , Martin Bradshaw .