Posted on August 14, 2014

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Entering Deal Town Hall is an exciting prospect – after years of working in the area – this was the first time behind the scenes. Guided by Mike Eddy and Lorna Crow, Town Clerk we wandered around the Chambers and rooms housing a variety of artefacts and histories – including a committee room and prison cell. Once inside there is modesty and order in how the architecture and its occupancy perform, with light coming through tall as wide windows bouncing between the glass pictures and polished Belgian dark woods. Every artefact has a narrative; each underscores the complexity of time, geography and democracy in this seaside town.

As the nearby church bell tolled throughout the visit, WH Redsull struck a chord as Mayor for the duration of WW1 alongside the knowledge the building itself being converted, like many places at that time as a first aide station for troops returning from battle. Interiors filled with healing bandages and bureaucratic procedures, civic duties alongside bedside manners – simultaneity as a community came together.

Drawing the visit to an end, Lorna unfurled some recent exhibition panels and tabled a new publication by Judith Guant; Faces from the Front documenting the wrenching loss of lives from Deal and Sandwich. In examining these exhibition panels, an advert for the supply of Red Cross Uniform material from Clarabut’s in the High Street resonated. The realization of how coexistence in times of urgency occurs with economy and efficiency – a Draper & Clothier is also a Uniform store; a Town Hall is also a first aide station…