Wivenhoe Arts Club 1966 -1976

A brief history and cartoon drawn by Tony Young

Page added by Pat Marsden

The Wivenhoe Arts Club celebrating 10 years of existence
From an original drawing by Tony Young owned by Lewis Footring and reproduced here by his kind permission

Front row l to r:
Kevin O’Malley, Brian Stapleton, John Motteram (seated), Jack Cross, George Gale, Roy Cross (kneeling)

Second row r to l:
Lewis Footring, Michael Heard, John Dan, Louis Claiborne, David Clarke, Billy Gillespie, John Holden

Back row l to r:
Chris Last, Bob Richardson, Hugh Bostock, David Dignum, William Dean, John Guest, Tony Rhodes, Derek Hawkins

Head on pikes (expelled members) l to r:  Ted Gittens, Denis Wirth-Miller

About the Wivenhoe Arts Club

The following text is taken from the Wivenhoe History Group Newsletter published in February 2014 and written by Chris Thompson:

The Wivenhoe Arts Club is part not just of our community’s history but also the stuff of local legend. It owed its origins to the discussions that took place in the Brewery Tavern at the junction of Brook Street and Anglesea Road back in the early-1960s. The Tavern was the haunt of workers from Cook’s Shipyard and of local artists of all kinds. Out of their evenings spent drinking and philosophising came the idea of forming an Arts Club. Fortunately, the Fleet Street columnist and journalist, George Gale, who lived at that time in Ballast Quay House, was willing to lease part of his property to the Club.

It was formally opened by the leader of the Conservative Party, Edward Heath, on 15th October, 1966. Artists like John and Pamela Dan, Tony Young, and Michael Heard as well as sculptors like Ted Atkinson and John Doubleday were stalwarts of the Club along with local luminaries like Dr and Mrs Dean. At its height, there were two hundred or more members. Exhibitions were regularly held along with annual ‘Gallery Gaieties’ directed by Jack Cross and marked by the verses of David Clarke, the curator of the Castle Museum in Colchester.
Sadly, the Club was not always a harmonious place: some people, some artists of national repute, were expelled and the Police kept an eye on its breaches of licensing hours. The beginning of the end came when George Gale’s marriage broke up and he moved away. There were disputes with the new landlord and eventually the Arts Club moved out. The end came with an exhibition and party at the Old Rectory late in March, 1984. The party is still remembered. So is the Arts Club!
This page was added on 17/05/2016.

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