Museum’s 90th birthday party

The Rye Town Crier and Honour Guard, with Chairman Jo Kirkham, await the arrival of the Lord Lieutenant

Rye Castle Museum held its 90th birthday on Saturday July 28 with a wonderful party at the East Street Museum. A change of location from the Ypres Tower was hastily made on Saturday afternoon, as strong winds would have made an outdoor event difficult.

Honoured guests included the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and his wife, Mr and Mrs Field, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, the Chairman of Rother District Council, Cllr Jonathan Johnson, and several Rye Town Councillors.

Other invited guests included Rosemary Bagley, whose late husband Geoffrey was instrumental in setting up the Museum again after the War and became curator for 38 years, and Pricilla Ryan, a great supporter of the Museum.

A Guard of Honour welcomed the Lord Lieutenant, provided by three Cinque Ports Volunteers and the Town Crier. A large party of over 60 Museum members and guests gathered inside.

Drinks and canapés were served to the group, provided by the Museum Muses ladies. Thanks go to them for the smooth running of the evening; everyone agreed it was a great success. Heather and Yvonne were dressed as suffragettes, which provided a good photo opportunity with Amber Rudd to celebrate two other anniversaries.

Jo Kirkham, Chairman of Rye Museum Association, gave a short history of the Museum and asked the Lord Lieutenant to propose a toast. He said he felt sure Her Majesty the Queen would also wish us well – which, as the Crown’s personal representative in East Sussex, he is permitted to do!

The Lord Lieutenant spent quite some time talking to guests and we were pleased that Amber Rudd, Counciller Johnson and our other guests were able to stay, as well.

The Museum was founded on July 28, 1928 in Battery House next to the Castle, where the grass is now. There was a direct hit by a 1,000lb bomb on the building in September 1942, which destroyed the Museum and badly damaged the nearby houses and chapel and the roofs of the Ypres and the Women’s Towers.

The Museum reopened in 1954. Guests were given a booklet, written by Jo Kirkham, outlining the full story of Rye Castle Museum, which is now available to buy.

A commemorative tile was on sale at the event, designed by Sarah Cooper and produced by Rye Pottery exclusively for the Museum. Only a few of the 50 boxed and numbered tiles are still available.

We wish continued success to the Museum and may it run for another 90 years and more!

I am sure the Castle will still be standing and ordinary items we use today will then be artefacts on display.

Photo: David Bookless


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