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image credit: Alan Everard: Thames Sailing Barge

Review
ACAP (Arts, Crafts and Photographs)
New public bar, Bay Hotel, Pevensey Bay
Monday 1 July 2019

The new public bar at the Bay Hotel in Pevensey Bay is starting to buzz as a venue based addition.

The space pre-booked by the art group ACAP (Arts Crafts and Photographs), saw a number of established artists in the Bay working with their painting kits.. No doubt the inspiration will see the group build week by week, The re-location comes after six successful months at St. Wilfrid’s Hall.

Art, culture and literature in public houses has a long history in this country, some of this history extending back to before the time of Shakespeare

The Dog and Duck in Soho for example is a well-known watering hole with great literary associations, this was where George Orwell used to drink. It has an ornate Victorian interior – the pub is Grade II-listed and noted for its lavish tiling and grand mirrors. In its previous public house on the same site (the current pub was built in 1897, the same year coincidentally as the Bay Hotel), John Constable and Dante Gabriel Rossetti were regulars.

With a road named after Rossetti in the village (even if the council at the time could not be bothered to open an art history book and get the spelling right), the artists on their first meet this afternoon seemed more than at home as they raised a glass to their new venue.

The fixtures and fitting in the new public bar space have a lovely touch and they are strong. The colour scheme is light and rich blue and the industrial light and magic is well engineered.

Those big new lights are a textbook example of form and function. This is now a public bar for Pevensey Bay of the very best. This is what proper money can do when you do not want to show off.

The ‘grand old dame’, as manager Karen Hudson has christened the public house, is becoming more herself.

Regular visitor to the Bay, actor Peter Sellers, booked his father to stay at the hotel in 1960 and the area is blessed by art references, and literary references. Our territory is Goon Show land and the famous culture icon radio show in the fifties is littered with references to the locality.

These kinds of reference are part of the fabric and social soul of the place. One day perhaps the guest register will adorn one of the walls of the public bar. The lad himself, Tony Hancock, in his homberg hat could be pictured centre stage amongst the memorablia and magic lights. He stayed at the hotel in 1961, one of s number of famous people who walked the boards of the Bay Hotel.

Sitting in the new public bar at the Bay Hotel as the art group met to paint their wagons and Thames sailing barges, one thought came to mind.

She is coming home, she is coming home, footfall is coming home. The grand old dame of Pevensey Bay, painted fresh and flooded with the industrial light and magic of the set designer who has made the stage for the public bar at the Bay Hotel, looks very much the part now.

Next stop, a new banner, front of house.

The work when finished over the next six months will be worth every single expensive penny.

With the same spit and polish the Bay Hotel is coming home.

Anyone who saw the film Mr, Turner will know that JMW Turner (who came to Pevensey Bay around 1811), spat on his canvas to make the pieces of art work.

Anyone who has not seen the value of the changes happening all around them at the Bay Hotel has not understood the long term context with what is happening. The new for old Bay Hotel will have the power to be transformative to the fortunes of the visitor footprint to Pevensey Bay by the end of the year.

The jewel in our crown is beginning to shine again.

This is a an intelligent renovation, just now beginning to glimpse the light of day in terms of utilisation, and there is much more to come. The artist group ACAP is the first group to bathe in that light this afternoon.

Simon Montgomery
1 July 2019