Heritage – old and new


As the new season starts with the first coachloads of students from across the Channel, the Heritage Centre has had a face-lift with re-pointing, sign repainting, the pegging of tiles and the replacement of weatherboarding – as well as staff changes.

Heritage Centre General Manager Peter Cosstick is retiring and new staff take over. The Town Council’s Policy Committee welcomed them and thanked Peter for his considerable contribution over the past eight years.

Rye’s town model attracts many visitors, but is a challenge to maintain

Last year was particularly difficult for Rye and southeast tourism in general because of terror attacks in Europe, train and ferry strikes, Channel Tunnel disruptions and Operation Stack with long tailbacks of lorries blocking many routes. Coach visits, by parties of all ages, but particularly students were affected.

The recent terror attack in London also gives cause for concern about the impact on tourism, but it was quickly out of the headlines and, to date, little effect on tourism has been reported – though last year’s disruptions and the continued presence of refugee camps across the Channel are expected to impact on visitor figures this year.

However Brexit has affected the value of the pound and it should be cheaper for tourists to visit so that may balance out the effects of last year’s problems.

Under Peter’s leadership the Heritage Centre, along with the town model, has continued to attract visitors and keep them informed and amused, despite losing all grant help from Rother District Council from 2009 and losing the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) work the same year to Tourism South East, which then closed the Lion Street TIC early in 2015.

Peter told the committee that it had been a challenging and rewarding time, he had worked with amazing and loyal staff, and it had been a pleasure to work with all those involved and support the town, and he would have very fond memories of his time here.

One of his most difficult tasks has been the maintenance of the town model (pictured above) as much of the lighting and sound equipment used in the regular history shows based round the model is in very confined attic spaces above the it, and cleaning the model itself means lying face down on a scaffolding frame put in place a few inches above so that each house and other parts can be dusted and cleaned. 

Photos: John Minter and Rye News Library

Image Credits: J.Minter .

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