Not just a lick of paint


The two figures above the entrance to the Pipemakers Arms in Wish Ward are getting a facelift. In their prominent position, they catch the eye of nearly every passer-by.

One is put in mind of a ship’s figurehead, though examples of two figures are not so common.  Were they real local characters? Members of the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipemakers and Tobacco Blenders perhaps?

Does anyone know their history?

Image Credits: Nick MacRae .

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  1. It’s good to see the Pipes getting a spruce up, not before time I might add.
    There will be many in Rye who spent their Saturday nights and Sunday lunch times in there, Sunday lunch would see a queue form at the side door waiting for twelve o clock opening, there were card schools at most tables and darts being played.
    The meat raffle was a popular and if you played a game of darts you qualified for the highest score with three darts comp at closing time, back in the day the pubs closed at two so it was drink all you could in two hours.
    A great pub, full of history and many will have stories of good times and not so good.
    You call it by its proper name but to locals of a certain age will always know it as “The Pipes”

  2. Quite agree with you Tony queuing up to get in the pipes on Sunday mornings I worked behind the bar in the pipes on a Sunday I could tell you some stories it certainly was a working mans pub. With the juke box blearing out, All the regulars who worked on the fields , building sites, and roads the pipes was there meeting place the floor was always wet and muddy on a rainy day you had to wipe your feet on the way out,
    We also had a sussex darts super league playing from the pipes traveling all over sussex as far as Chichester, with 11 other teams completing weekly.
    Our best dart player was a John Tolhurst no doubt about that many a time John would finish his game with a 12 or 15 darts in a 501 game ( that’s when he had hair )
    Also in the late 60s the pipes had a tug o war team traveling to different fetes locally
    Aways drawing a large crowds
    Good times, good fun never forgotten

    Vic vicarey

  3. Agree with Vic and Tony, proper pub with live music in the last 20 years. I must have done a ton of gigs there with the Rhythm Doctors over the years and always a cracking night. The saloon bar was great place to meet and drinks weren’t inflated London prices. End of an era and a real loss to the locals and live music.

  4. Its sad to see the pipemakers becoming a restaurant, haven’t we got enough of these in this town, Ralph made a good living from beers sales, and putting on live bands, for locals and visitors to enjoy, just another pub sadly gone the way of others in this town.visitors welcome and the rest of us, can go elsewhere.

  5. Fact of life John, not many pubs can survive on beer alone, like Vic said it was always busy lunch times with workers, not many willing to risk drinking and work these days, if you walk past there when it was open on a weekday evening and there wouldn’t be many in there so food is the logical way to go.
    Whether it’ll work in the winter remains to be seen but we should support it if we can.

  6. Will miss the fun times at the pipes, especially bonfire night ,thank you Ralf and John and all staff.It was the go to pub for many a Ryer.

  7. One of the great pubs of Rye – I remember it in the late 70s early 80s when big John and Brenda ran it: a real proper pub, and they loved me playing the piano and gigs with the Louis Turpin band, the great Jack Peach on drums: excellent times.

  8. Hello all
    Great to hear of the many memories of this fine old pub, and, fear not, it is not about to become a restaurant. Yes, we will be serving food but there will be plenty of beers as well 🙂
    We hope it will be a pub enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, – and don’t bid the bands farewell just yet either.
    We can’t wait to welcome you all back to the Pipes
    Dave and Sue,
    The Pipemakers Arms

    • How nice to get an update on your plans, good luck. Not like the George Hotel saga that is just dragging on and on with no generally read progress reports. Has been an eyesore for years now and prevented the roads in Rye from being repaired.

  9. Great to hear from the new owners of the Pipemakers, and to put all us synics right, yes we are all looking forward to visiting you when you finish your refurbishments, which were badly needed, and wish you every success in our town, and what a bonus for all if you can continue the live music on Saturdays, which was supported by so many locals, and out of towners

  10. Hi Dave & Sue, when do you hope to be open again? As previously mentioned we would look like to see the bands playing Saturday and even Friday nites again. It makes a great venue there. Plus food would be a great added trade. Hope all goes well with the refurb. All the best Dean & Tracey

  11. Great to hear about the promise of live music. I really miss summer afternoons in the garden of The Ypres, with bands on stage and half of Rye swaying away to music!


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