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Tony-hancock
image credit: Tony Hancock in about 1963, source, wiki

The story about Tony Hancock and his stays at the Bay Hotel in Pevensey Bay in the mid-fifties, has attracted national interest this morning (21 February).—Bay Life, 21 February

Letter to Bay Life expresses national interest in pilot festival

Archivist, Tristan Brittain-Dissont of the prestigious Tony Hancock Appreciation Society writing to Bay Life this morning said “Hi – I was interested in your piece today about the Bay Hotel and its connections with Tony. If we could help with the exhibition that is being planned, please let me know”.

The organisers planning the pilot arts and literature festival have been notified of the interest and there is a hope that the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society may become involved in a part of the festival that will feature the work of Tony Hancock.

Organisers commented, “this is the third national organisation that has expressed interest in the pilot festival.

“II is becoming fairly clear that as a pilot festival of some description representing the eclectic mix of arts and literature heritage that is here in the soil of Pevensey and Pevensey Bay may be about to become a small winner”.

Organisers point to the interest in the arrival of the Bayeux Tapestry in the country in 2020 that will be one of the themes of the pilot festival, with “Ad Pevensae” appearing as a panel on the world heritage icon.

They are seeking to establish whether a festival of this description can bed down in the soil of the locality

They argue “with such rich pickings there is a lineage and eclecticism that could make the festival a small unique success`”.

Arts and literary figures and stories they group as a ‘rich mix that dates from 1080 and the Bayeux Tapestry”

They argue. with the attention of such a prestigious organisation such as the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society, that they are “moving into interesting company”.

The possibility that the pilot festival may have a small, national dimension is interesting and no doubt might prove to be attractive for people that might consider coming to stay for a few days in this wonderful small coastal location.

Organisers say, “Tony Hancock found us and stayed at the Bay Hotel. ”

“We can think of no more fitting tribute that having the privilege of the Tony Hancock Apprectaion Society with us this summer as part of the pilot arts and literature festival”.


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Details emerging of the ‘timeline’ plan to feature 7 key figures and stories with a known association with the locality for the festival

1. 1080—Bayeux Tapestry
Coming to this country in 2020, Pevensey is the only village to appear on the tapestry, at start of story so there will be major educational links here (we hope) with schools from across country from 2020.

2. 1808—JMW Turner
A largely unknown tiny sketch of St. Nicolas church spire in Pevensey (church dating from 1218) discovered in the vaults of the Tate, sketch appears to date from 1808-1812.

3. 1848—Pre-Raphaelite movement
Pevensey Bay appears to be the only village in England with two roads in parallel named after major pre-Raphaelite figures (Val Prinsep and Rossetti). Christina Rossetti was here having picnics with her aunt around 1840 as a child at Pevensey castle and writing to her brother in 1860 from a bed and breakfast up the road in Eastbourne

4 1908—Rudyard Kipling
Puck of Pook’s Hill is partly set at Pevensey castle (the gateway to the start of our 1,000 year story following the invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066), in the story the ‘Eastern Gate’ becomes “England’s Gate’ and the mythical gateway to ‘the Albion’, our imagined past

5. 1949—Narnia Chronicles
C.S. Lewis, family name of the children revealed in Book 2 to be ‘Pevensie’ (High Norman spelling of Pevensey), we hope to encourage Lion, Witch and Wardrobe fans from across country in 2019, 2020.

6.1951—Goon Show
Both Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan here in the summers of the fifties (one episode even called “The Pevensey Bay Disaster’). The show is littered with references to Pevensey Bay.

7. 1954—Tony Hancock
Now known to have frequented the Bay Hotel in Pevensey Bay on a regular basis as someone who stayed there in the early fifties at the time that Hancock’s Half Hour was becoming so popular.