Not many people know about the lovely courtyard tea garden at the back of The Grange, designed by Lutyens it has flint and brick walls, niches, steps and slate paved areas. The food is delicious and the tea garden open to the public daily. However today The Preservation Society chaired by Chris Davidson (left) treated the volunteers that look after the Art Gallery and Museum to a garden party on the lawns beyond the wall.
Excellent food prepared by the people who run the tea garden and all the latest information including an update about Rottingdean’s windmill. Some of us had wondered why it had lost it’s sails. But now we know it is all part of conservation and restoration and they will be back at the weekend. It was interesting to learn of the enormous efforts members of the Preservation Society go to ensure such things as the windmill are kept spink and span – not least one of the committee of the Society a Colin Dellar, keeping a pot of black paint handy!
Valerie Whittle vice chairman oversees the Kipling Garden and told us of the sad demise of the mulberry tree. The roots had threatened to bring a wall down so sadly it had to be removed but a different tree will be planted in due course.
New exhibitions will include one commemorating the world of film with links to Brighton and we look forward to artifacts from the career of Dora Bryan, who is of course still alive. I love Dora Bryan and learned today that she was originally from Oldham, yes, she like many northerners really do have grit. I remember going to see her at least three times in the ‘The Water Gypies’ in London (I was a Londoner) and driving everyone silly with my rendering of ‘Why do they call me Lily’ – mimicing no doubt badly, the lovely Dora – I still know all the words!
Another film baserd in Brighton was of course ‘Genevieve’. That reminded me that my parents and I, Ron Field’s Marionettes, did a show for Kenneth Moore and his family and I still have a letter from him saying how much he enjoyed it.
Although our family did the puppetry for feature film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on Brighton’s West Pier, and Marcus did make request for the puppets to be part of the exhibition it came at very short notice and they were already pledged to elsewhere in September. Such a pity they would have loved to be of the same bill as Dora but then I think that that lady deserved the whole place to herself.
Perhaps they will still make an appearance at The Grange, before they end their lives at the Imperial War Museum who very much want them longer term.
Here the original characters visit the scene of their success a few years ago and the roundabout (below) with an army of tiny soldiers that appeared in the film. Other marionettes in my care, the Puppet Circus that went to Buckingham Palace in the 50s and the Violinist and Can Can girls, part of the set that appeared in Variety on the same bill as Max Miller.
Meanwhile we look forward to all the new art exhibitions and museum events including ‘The Kipling Festival’ next summer. Lots to interest and delight.
Anyway a sunny afternoon, lovely food and company. So now it’s back to taking my turn on the rota tomorrow, we welcome guests to the Gallery and answer any questions. Apparently there is often a space for new volunteers so if you fancy being one of them, why not pop in and see what it is all about?
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