Have you actually looked at the Landgate recently? I mean properly looked, not just glanced up and sighed or fallen over the steps covered with pigeon droppings. It is a more than sorry sight. The weeds at the top are flowering vigorously and the pigeons are cooing over their young – and making more mess. The stones look as though they are coming loose and the mortar is falling out.
My family came over from Antigua in the last couple of weeks and could not believe the awful state it is in. They could not understand why no collection of local people had made it their business to chivvy, cajole or be downright aggressive in their approaches to any person, body or organisation who might have an interest in saving it.
In their view, and mine, what should provide a spectacular entrance to Rye Town is a sad, depressing eyesore. It is a condemnation of everything that leads to interested parties finding ways to avoid their obligations and the apathy that comes when energetic people have tried too long to make things happen.
Now, Antigua, an island in the Caribbean, is a poor country, very poor, in fact and a lot of their income comes from tourism, as it does locally, yet they manage to find enough money to keep the wonderful buildings in, for example, English Harbour up together. They do this through a combination of voluntary contributions, commercial support and government monies. The work is carried out by a mixture of paid staff and volunteers. They are led by someone who refuses to take no for an answer and has an in depth knowledge of the history, culture and archaeology of his native country. Perhaps we have too much history and too many historic structures in East Sussex.
I have now lived in Rye for five years, have read the reports in local newspapers, have watched the deterioration continue. I am told there is a support group, but I don’t seem to have heard their voices recently. I know that our local councils are cash strapped and struggling to meet their obligations, but is there no way of saving this wonderful and historic structure except by blasting it with water jets and continuing to hope it may become so decrepit it can be demolished ? Readers, tell me I am wrong.
Photos : Rye News Library