What to do with the Landgate?

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Where aircraft came down

It seems that Rother District Council now wishes to get rid of the Landgate after badly neglecting it – in much the same way as they passed on the Ypres Tower, post war repairs on the roof having not been very adequate it seemed.

At present though the Museum (not surprisingly) has expressed no wish to take on another Rother “cast off” , though another Rye Community Interest Company (CIC) has apparently made some enquiries.

However making good, and profitable, use of the Landgate may be a challenge. Access on both sides of the road to its entrances is poor and knocking new doors into ancient monuments can be frowned on.

But a solution (with hidden benefits) may to be to narrow the road so it is still wide enough for mini-buses (like Rye Community Transport) and sensibly sized vans and then put up safety railings so the entrances can be made to work.

The space above the arch may be limited though (and Rother to date has apparently excluded visitors – on safety grounds) – but could provide for a small exhibition maybe on a single issue and the town’s attractions might even be marketed on a 3-for-2 ticket covering Ypres Tower, the town model and the Landgate.

Rye’s big problem though (and a welcome one) is that it has, if anything, too much history – from 1066 and before to 1918 – and the period post 1918 is now becoming history.

Some aspects of more recent Rye are picked up in “Mapp & Lucia” exhibits and pottery products, but “frontline Rye” (apart from those on active service) seems neglected. There is no lack of information though. We have maps of where planes were shot down (see above), where doodlebugs (V1s) landed, and where the bombs fell – and lots of valuable research and documentation.

The war though was mainly in the air in 1940 and 1944 (which could be difficult to portray, but might be done with models, lights and multi-media) and maybe the Landgate could have a new lease of life as another viewpoint around the town, along with a cameo museum focussed solely on “frontline Rye” – in co-operation with our other attractions. What do you think ?

Photo: Ray Prewer

3 COMMENTS

  1. (I don’t live in Rye, but am a visitor).
    Have you ever contacted the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings? They may be able to assist with advice, information, funds, profile-raising nationally.

  2. I am not a Rye resident but live in Fairlight and have always loved Rye since I was a child living near Cranbrook. The Landgate is a lovely building and I have often wondered why it is not open and used in some way, so the ideas of a frontline museum exhibition above seems to be a great start and I would love to see something like this …………..

  3. After all the money R.D.C.has spent over the years much more attention should have been given to the upkeep of the Langate Arch.
    Had it been in Bexhill it would no doubt have been fully restored and regularly maintained, as the seafront etc is in Bexhill.
    Rother District Council should be ashamed of their selves letting such a national treasure slip into disrepair.

    SHAME ON YOU ROTHER DISTRICT COUNCIL

    Dave Benn

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