WIVENHOE ARTS CLUB

1966 - ?

Brewery Tavern, Wivenhoe

Wivenhoe Arts Club owed its origins to the discussions that took place in the Brewery Tavern at the junction of Brook Street and Anglesea Road, Wivenhoe in the early-1960s, the Brewery Tavern was the haunt of workers from Cook’s Shipyard and of local artists of all kinds. Out of their evenings came the idea of forming an Arts Club when the Fleet Street columnist and journalist, George Gale, who lived at 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 15 October 1966. Artists like John Dan and Pamela Dan, Tony Young (1940-2017), and Michael Heard as well as sculptors like Ted Atkinson and John Doubleday (1947-) were stalwarts of the Club. At its height, there were two hundred or more members with regular exhibitions and annual ‘Gallery Gaieties’ directed by Jack Cross and marked by the verses of David Clarke, the curator of the Castle Museum in Colchester. However, 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. There were disputes with a new landlord and eventually the Arts Club moved out and the end came with an exhibition and party at the Old Rectory late in March 1984. Suffolk artists who exhibited with the Wivenhoe Art Club include Ted Atkinson and John Dan.