An article in The Times about Rye said: “It’s not been an island for some 700 years, but Rye, in East Sussex, still retains that feel: charmingly claustrophobic, strong community spirit, a touch eccentric.”
It is perhaps that eccentricity which continues to draw a mix of people to Rye today. Those born and bred in the area lament the loss of everyday shops whilst style-savvy city dwellers move in and open up interior businesses, popular with tourists and attracting a new crop of creatives.
It’s hard not to love Rye. Steeped in history it has a long list of famous residents, particularly writers and artists who came and stayed. Some, like Andy McDonnell, the Antiques Roadshow expert, one of the founding fathers of the Rye interiors scene, came to Rye to rent for six months and ended up staying more than 40 years.
This mix of Ryers, incomers, creatives and, as I learned recently, MI5 spies, often leads to differing views on how Rye should shape itself for the 21st century. Some want to keep it as it is and others welcome changes that could be brought about by high speed trains and newcomers. But what is certain is that there are many people in Rye who care very much about the place and want to make a difference. This desire to contribute, inspired our “Ryers Unwrapped” articles a couple of years ago and put the spotlight on individuals. We’re now planning to bring this regular feature back.
Do you have a story to share or would you like to nominate someone who you think has made a contribution to Rye and would be willing to be interviewed? If so, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may like another chance to read about the 16 people we interviewed then – all of whom have worked in different ways to support the town. Click here for the interviews.