Tower holds no prisoners

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The pretty garden next to the Ypres Tower was used for this year’s Rye Castle Museum summer party. Held on August 5 on a gorgeous summer evening, it was full of enthusiastic members of the Museum, with excellent wine and cheese to supplement the conversation. Greeted at the door by Jo Kirkham, chairman of the museum board of directors, lots of friends and acquaintances met together in this lovely setting.

Jo Kirkham and Heather Stevenson enjoy the party
Jo Kirkham and Heather Stevenson enjoy the party

The Women’s Tower was also open, and everyone was encouraged to brave the steep steps to see it. It would have housed two prisoners on each floor and has a new audio programme describing the prisoners’ lives. It has a really interesting reconstruction of a fifteenth century herb garden in the courtyard, with all the plants carefully named. Sadly, the medlar tree looks rather out of sorts, but everything else seems to be thriving. In the Ypres Tower itself, the stillroom links to the women’s tower garden, by demonstrating the uses of some of the herbs planted there.

The Ypres Tower now has an interactive audio visual display, to help visitors unable to climb steep steps, or manage the rough floors. Easy to use and with an interesting commentary, this programme will definitely improve what is called “the visitor experience”!

As the sun sank and a chilly wind came up, the evening came to a very successful close. Everyone had thoroughly enjoyed catching up with old friends and making some new ones in this fascinating place and had the opportunity to check out the latest state of the towers themselves and the latest additions to the displays.

Photo: Gillian Roder

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