Not the first time Eastbourne’s Towner gallery has not displayed items of public interest

From: Clive ABaldwinAberdale Road, Polegate

Friday, 26th April 2019, 12:23 pm
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 12:28 pm

I noted in Eastbourne Herald of 19 April, the article ”Towner rumpus over paintings”, where the Eastbourne Towner art gallery had been approached to hold a public display of paintings of the late John Powley, a local artist, whom died in April 2018, prior to the sale of the paintings to raise funds for The Friends of Eastbourne Hospital, and that the Towner, had refused.

It should be noted that it is not the first time the Towner has not displayed items of public interest.

The entire donated butterflies and moths collection (some species already extinct) was destroyed prior to the opening of the Towner in its current location, which had been donated when it was located in the Manor House in Gildridge Park, for the Eastbourne public.

I had chance to view the collection, with prior arrangement, in 1974,when my biology teacher, a Miss Mary Blackledge,of Cavendish School (then located in Melbourne Road), made necessary arrangements, as the collection was housed in several metal filling cabinets,in draws with protective glass lids, and was located in the office of the Towner, as room had yet to be found it,prior to the move to the current location.

It is somewhat a disappointment that the gallery, which was created to support local artists and donated collections, cannot find room to have the paintings prior to sale.

Mr Powley, was also a general surgeon of Eastbourne District General Hospital, working all day from Theatre six.

I know as I worked in the Operating Department for 40 years, prior to my retirement from the NHS in July,2018 (and a few months short of 41 years) and during those operating sessions which Mr Powley covered.

I own one of his paintings, which I purchased in Penn’s Gallery in Eastbourne, during the 1980s - a watercolour.

I made enquires to the Towner, when it first opened in its current location of the donated butterflies and moths collection and I was informed it had been destroyed during the move.

A great pity,as even more of the species on display then in 1974,have become extinct and today it would be priceless.