The Rye town model went back on display at the weekend after undergoing a face-lift.
Staff at Rye Heritage Centre, where the model and light show is housed, worked hard to get it looking its best before the big opening.
The Heritage Centre is a converted 19th century sail loft on the Quayside and home of the ‘Story of Rye’ Town Model Sound and Light Show – a totally unique ‘Son et Lumiere’ style 1:100 scale model of Victorian Rye that uses dramatic sound and light effects that brings to life over 700 years of Rye’s rich history and folklore.
The Town Model was lovingly hand built by local couple Joy and Ted Harland between 1973 and 1976. A retired teacher and keen amateur artist, Mrs Harland was inspired after travelling in France and Belgium by the ‘Son et Lumiere‘ shows she had seen to create an educational and entertaining equivalent for Rye.
Joy used a combination of written records, building surveys, aerial photographs and the Ordnance Survey Map of 1872 to recreate the Rye of approximately 1830 – the time she considered Rye to be at its most architecturally beautiful – and spent three years working tirelessly in her home to produce each and every detail to 1:100 scale.
Ted was a retired electrical engineer; he spent six months wiring in the lights and creating the original audio track once the model was complete.
The model is now housed in a purpose built theatre that can seat up to 40 people, with a beautiful backdrop of the surrounding countryside painted by beloved local artist John Izod.
The stories chosen by Joy and Ted for the show reflect some of the most dramatic episodes in Rye’s long illustrious history – from its early days as a coastal Cinque Port to a smuggling base of the 18th century, via French raids, monastic intrigue, two royal visits and a notorious local crime.
Rye Heritage Centre is owned and operated by Rye Town Council with the aim of promoting the local area for the bebefit of the local community. It is also the official visitor information point for Visit 1066 Country.
The first show is at 10am daily, then on demand or by prior booking throughout the day.
Last show: 20 minutes before closing time (4.40pm in Summer, 3.40pm in Winter). The cost is £3.50 adults, £1.50 children five - 15 and under fives free. See also: Man had knife in St Leonards pub