Bid to name a road after famous Ryer Alec Vidler

Alec Vidler SUS-140705-121228001
Alec Vidler SUS-140705-121228001

THE row over the name for a new Rye Street intensified this week with more calls for it to be named after famous Rye Mayor and theologian Alec Vidler.

Developers of the Valley Park estate, off Udimore Road, had asked Rye Town Council to suggest names for new roads on the estate.

The Town Council put forward the name of Dr Alec Vidler but this did not find favour with the developers due to the fact he had a religious background.

In a letter to the council , developers AronCorp said: “We are not happy about the religious background of Alec Vidler.

“We would prefer less contentious artists, authors and historical/military figures, in keeping with the rest of the street names on the development.”

One Rye councillor accused the developers of insulting a famous Rye family and now Cynthia Reavell, former owner of Martello Books in Rye, has added her voice to the debate saying the developers should be “ashamed of themselves”.

She said: “So, the developers of Rye’s Valley Park housing estate reject Dr Alec Vidler as a contender for having a road named after him, being unhappy about his ″contentious religious background″ Shame on them!

“His obituary in the local paper – he died, aged 91, in July 1991 – rightly called him ″one of Rye’s most respected citizens″, and recorded that he had served as Mayor of Rye in 1972-4; his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had also held that office before him.

“He was a scholar and theologian, with an awesome intellect, a questioning mind and, yes, liberal theological views.

“Malcolm Muggeridge once described him as a man ″who believed with all his heart and doubted with all his mind″.

“The Daily Telegraph recorded, in its obituary of 27/7/91, that he ″displayed a remarkable flair for discovering and encouraging writers who were looking at old truths from new angles.

“Vidler retired in 1966 to his old Rye family home, ‘Friars of the Sack’ in Church Square, where ″he kept bees, baked bread, entertained friends″, swam in the sea year-round, and continued writing. He attributed his vigour and longevity to daily cider-vinegar – on which he wrote a tract

“If the developers won’t re-consider and allow Rye to commemorate this brilliant, principled and distinguished national figure, then they can safely use the name ‘Vidler’ in celebration of Alec Vidler’s family and in particular his father, Leopold Amon Vidler (1870 – 1954). He was born in Rye; was Founder and first Curator of Rye Museum; was Mayor and was elected Honorary Freeman of Rye.

“A respected local historian, he wrote a scholarly History of Rye (first published 1934),

“ Leopold Vidler must surely be sufficiently worthy and uncontroversial for the developers. This would be a happy solution and no forenames need be specified in the road name.″”