Heathfield, Punnetts Town, Broad Oak & Cross In Hand

ST RICHARD’S CHURCH: Sunday, 9.45am Parish Eucharist with activities for children. Tuesday, 1.30pm St Richard’s Art and Craft Group in the church hall. Wednesday, 10am Holy Communion. Saturday, December 19, 9am Parish Prayers in Church. Sunday, December 20, 9.45am Parish Eucharist with activities for children. Sunday, December 20, 4.30pm Carol service.

ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH: Old Heathfield. Sunday, 8am Holy Communion (BCP), 11am Family Service with Communion. All welcome for coffee after this service. St George’s Broad Oak, 9.30am Family Service http://allsaintsoldheathfield.org/

UP UP AND AWAY: Make sure you purchase your Christmas Draw ticket this year as there are some fabulous prizes to be won and the draw is going to be made at the SPACE tomorrow, Saturday. You will be able to enjoy a musical presentation and enjoy coffee plus cakes. The Red Letter Day prize is something very special, imagine going up in a hot air balloon. This is your opportunity to put your name in the ring to enjoy a ride over the Wealden Countryside, with the air whistling through your hair and enjoying the great views with a sense of quietness as you glide through the air. Make sure you buy a book of tickets, these are available now from Keith Warner.

HISTORY SOCIETY: In this our last meeting until the New Year Brian Freeland gave us much food for thought in his talk History of Eastbourne Theatres. Mr Freeland explained how the power wielded by the Dukes of Devonshire impeded the development of Eastbourne as a seaside town. They wanted the land for sheep grazing and did their best to keep the people away, even insisting when the railway arrived that only first class tickets were sold to Eastbourne.

Entertainment, including theatre, was discouraged but its general popularity meant that it could not be stifled and by the latter part of the nineteenth century the New Hall in Seaside Road opened for drama and opera, the Britannia Hall of Varieties opened with a music hall licence and with the arrival of the moving pictures along came the Tivoli Cinema. To these were added a theatre on the corner of Devonshire Park, the Pier Pavilion featuring the Pier Revels and the Twinkle Show and the Hippodrome providing variety shows which attracted many of the big names of the time.

However, while many seaside towns upgraded and rebuilt their theatres Eastbourne did not. By the mid twentieth century the council owned the Hippodrome and the Devonshire Park Theatre to which was added the Congress Theatre. Although all these theatres have regular programmes throughout the year the older ones have poor sightlines, pillars which restrict the view and their backstage facilities are outdated. This means that many of the major productions cannot be accommodated and Eastbourne can only envy her more far sighted neighbours. Mr Freeland concluded that Eastbourne should look to the future and build a new theatre for the twenty first century.

We do not meet in December so the History Society wishes you all a Happy Christmas and hopes that you will join us when we reconvene on January 21.

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