Top 3 reasons you should visit Liverpool and resources

Earlier this month we had reason to visit the UK’s 5th largest city. Home to an estimated half a million people, Liverpool, historically lays within the ancient hundred of West Derby in the south-west of Lancashire. Located on the Mersey Estuary, it is best known for being a major port, home to both Cunard and the White Star Line, as well as being the hometown of the Beatles, premier league Liverpool and Everton FC and Aintree Racecourse.

Liverpool celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2007 and was European City of Culture in 2008, from which it is still reaping the benefits, both financial and cultural, with 85% of residents agreeing Liverpool is now a better place to live. Having never visited the city before, we had nothing to compare it to, however, despite the Arctic blast coming in from the north, the welcome was warm, the streets clean (we even saw men hoovering the grass!) and the people happy and friendly, with a general buzz of commercial and cultural activity happening all around.

The reasons for visiting were a mixture of work and pleasure; to experience first hand the impact of cultural regeneration and associated activities and also to experience some of the lifestyle options now available, especially the Gin! Ok so we all like a G&T, but more than that, as we discovered in last months edition, Gin is experiencing something of a renaissance in popularity and what better place to experience this than in the hometown of Liverpool Gin.

So here are our top 3 reasons why we think you should also consider visiting Liverpool:

  1. Eating & Drinking

The restaurant scene in Liverpool city region is booming, with more places to eat and more international cuisines than ever before. One of the best districts to eat out is Hope Street; home to renowned restaurants the London Carriage Works60 Hope Street and The Art School, plus Hostthe Quarter and Frederiks.

In the business district, you can dine high above the city at Panoramic 34, or try Restaurant Bar and Grill, set in a beautiful old banking hall.

For more information:

  1. Gin

Gin is the tipple of choice for many Liverpudlians and the city has a plethora of venues catering to their passion, including;

Berry & Rye Bar, Berry Street

Red Door, 21-23 Berry Street

Jenever, 29a Hope street

Ceder Gin and Fire, 62 Duke Street

Filter & Fox, 27 Duke Street

The Hub, 16 Hanover Street

Thomas Rigby’s, 23-25 Dale Street

The Botanical Garden, New Bird Street

Old Blind School, 24 Harman Street

Jenny’s Bar, Fenwick Street

For true gin aficionados, you can also take Liverpool’s chauffer driven Gin Journey city tour. A weekly event that takes place on Saturday’s and visits 5 bars, sampling gin cocktails on route.

For more information and online booking:

Also see: &

  1. Culture

From world-class architecture, magnificent museums and music legends, Liverpool is a city with culture and creativity in its DNA.

Tate Liverpool is home to the national collection of modern art in the north, while The Walker Art Gallery, part of the National Museums Liverpool (NML), is home to renaissance masterpieces, Tudor portraits and one of the best collections of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art in the country. Also part of NML is the Museum of Liverpool, devoted to the history of the city and Merseyside Maritime Museum, which is located in the Albert Dock and contains a variety of objects associated with the social and commercial history of the port of Liverpool, including Slavery, Borders and Customs.

For more information:

Grade 1 listed Liverpool Cathedral is the Church of England Cathedral of the Diocese of Liverpool. Built on St James’s Mount and the seat of the Bishop of Liverpool, it is the largest Cathedral in England with past incumbents including the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd. and Rt. Hon Justin Welby. Other significant Grade 1 listed buildings include the Liver Building, Oriel Chambers, Albert Dock and Speke Hall.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is Grade II* listed. Officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Liverpool. To distinguish it from the Anglican Liverpool Cathedral, locals call it the “Catholic Cathedral.”

Half a century after The Beatles exploded on to the world stage, Liverpool is still making all the right noises musically. Whether it is blockbuster gigs at the Echo Arena; pitch-perfect classical performances at the Philharmonic Hall; The Beatles inspired Mathew Street scene or the understated cool of Camp and Furnace and Invisible Wind Factory, there is something to suit almost every musical taste and preference.

If you are a Beatles fan especially, you can also take a Magical Mystery bus tour of the Beatles Liverpool. You’ll see all the places associated with John, Paul, George and Ringo as they grew up, met and formed the band that would take the pop world by storm.

Tours start at the Albert Dock and you get to see the Beatles childhood homes, schools and colleges and get up close to places that inspired some of their most memorable songs, including Penny Lane and Strawberry Field.

For more information and online booking:

Published in Aspect County Magazine June 2017 edition




It’s easy to walk into a gallery or art fair and fall in love with a work of art. Making the decision to buy is significantly more complex. It is however a fact that the number of people buying original art today is on the increase.

There are a number of factors that have likely contributed to this rise, including increased interest in art; popularity of art-related television programmes and the explosion of art galleries on the internet.

In order to get a greater understanding of what motivates people to buy, we spoke to Colin and Linda Tucker, who purchased six original works by Simone Riley at lasts years PURE Autumn Art Fair in Battle, East Sussex:

Do you have some knowledge of art history or any art qualifications?

“No, absolutely not.

We like art galleries but we are not regular visitors; we go if we fancy a day out. We went to Tate Modern when it first opened in 2000 because Colin remembered it as a power station. So we went 50% to see the building and 50% because we’d never been to look at any modern art before.

The enormous bronze spider by Louise Bourgeois was on display in the Turbine Hall and we found that very impressive, but, the two exhibits that especially amused us and consequently we remember were a large exhibit which included a huge display of books and an installation of train track type mechanisms, which made a groaning sound you could hear very clearly all over the gallery.”

So do you now look out for exhibitions to visit?

“Not really. The only reason we came to the PURE Autumn Art Fair in Battle last year was because Colin saw the write up in Aspect County Magazine and the images of Simone’s work. He said ‘I really like that. There’s an exhibition on this Sunday shall we go? We’re not doing anything, it looks like a lovely venue and we could have afternoon tea in the Hotel.’

We enjoy looking in galleries in much the same way we visit Open Gardens and National Trust and English Heritage properties; very much for entertainment. We went to the Turner Contemporary recently and we visited the West End House Gallery in Smarden while we were on a gardens tour.

We also went to an exhibition in Salisbury recently. While having lunch we noticed a banner across the square saying art exhibition, so we went across and had a look. It was a photographic exhibition by local people, together with a collection of Black & White photographs from the 1960’s, featuring David Bailey, Mary Quant and the Rolling Stones and London landmarks such as Eros. It was so unexpected and really fascinating – we stayed for a couple of hours and chatted to the chap invigilating, who turned out to be Richard Dawkins FRS FRSL, the famous ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author, credited with introducing the term meme. It was his personal collection of photographs.”

How long have you been buying original art?

“We bought a Graham Clarke etching years ago, which is in the sitting room. While we were in Bournemouth on holiday in the 1980’s we also bought some watercolours, which are hanging in the entrance hall. It was a rainy day and we saw a sign saying exhibition. The artist was painting; I don’t think they were of anywhere in particular, just memories in his head – misty mornings, ponds and buildings with trees. They reminded us of our home and garden, so we ended up buying six and we still love them. We’ve had them reframed over the years to match the décor.

We have a small collection of old sepia photographs, of people and children that evoke memories of childhood and growing up. We also have some paintings of Kentish style houses, which appealed to us and a sculpture called the family which we bought from an exhibition in Staplehurst.

You purchased six pieces of original art by Simone Riley from the PURE Autumn Art Fair for your kitchen?

“Yes. We were delighted to find the pieces shown in Aspect County Magazine were still available for sale when we arrived at the show. It was even more pleasing to find several more available. The prices were very affordable, so we decided to buy all six, which we are absolutely delighted with, as they make a real impact in the room.

Having Vincent come to our home and hang them for us was the icing on the cake really and made the whole experience very easy. So much so, we would not hesitate to purchase again if we found something we loved.”

What do your friends say about them?

 “They are a real talking point. Even before they were hung on the walls friends and family kept asking about them and now they come in and say ‘wow, they look amazing.’

Thank you Colin and Linda for inviting us into your beautiful home and agreeing to talk to us. I think we can conclude that in your case, the reasons to buy original art have been essentially emotional.

Oscar Wilde once said “All art is immoral.” He might have also added that all art is emotional, including the buying and selling of it.

Buying original art is about having fun and being happy! It is an extremely pleasurable experience and it can evoke memories and emotions. Visiting exhibitions and art fairs and meeting artists is sociable and can be pleasingly diverting, especially art fairs which organise lots of extra activities for visitors such as workshops and talks and exhibitions in unfamiliar places, which can result in seeing and experiencing something new and quite unexpected.

Being able to admire the work you have purchased everyday brings with it a continued sense of happiness and satisfaction, which grows over time as the bond increases and the work becomes an element of your personal landscape. Being able to talk about artwork you own with colleagues, friends and loved ones gives life an enhanced sense of satisfaction and meaning and a personal sense of pride and fulfilment, both in terms of ones own taste and also in the social distinction it garners.

And if all that is not enough, there is no better way to add character, energy, stories and emotion to a home, than by purchasing original artwork!

Simone Riley’s work is currently available to view and buy at WING Art Gallery, High Street, Wadhurst and Chalk Gallery, Lewes.

If you are interested in buying original art, our personalised art advisory service gives you access to your own expert curator, free of charge. For further details please email:

Simone Riley

Simone has developed her own unique style and technique, creating images that sit between photography and fine art. Her compositions have a `painterly’ feel, slightly reminiscent of some of the `old masters’, but with a modern contemporary twist.

Her work invariably involves a combination of textures, layers and subtle colours. Always inspired by textures, she has built up an extensive photographic collection over the years, which includes images of old walls, peeling paint, rust, weathered wood and many other worn surfaces of various kinds.

Simone’s photomontage images are created by taking an original photograph and then building up overlays, always using multiple photographed textures from her own collection. Colour overlays/ alterations are also applied to all or just parts of the image. The finished artwork is therefore an amalgamation of many different layers, each with different effects applied, superimposed over the original image, with varying levels of translucency. Although these are digital works, all the images used are always her own, to ensure that the artwork is a totally `one-off’ original piece.

Simone is happy to work to commission.

Contact details:

Published in Aspect County Magazine June 2017 Edition

Exclusive Interview with Sir Quentin Blake by Lesley Samms


An undoubted national treasure, Sir Quentin Blake is passionate about Hastings, and that is why he has chosen Jerwood Gallery as the venue for his biggest and most ambitious show to date. Probably best known as an illustrator working with the likes of Roald Dahl and Michael Rosen, his exhibition The Only Way to Travel, opening on 14 June until 15 October, will show a completely different – and to many totally unknown – facet of his work.

Sir Quentin Blake is an artist and illustrator who needs little introduction. Such is his relationship with the British public that his work is as familiar as Marks & Spencer, Rolls Royce or Fox’s Glacier Mints. We think we know his work. Well, this new show at the Jerwood Gallery is set to change all that.

Invited by gallery Director Liz Gilmore to explore themes that concern him, Sir Quentin’s new exhibition at the Hastings gallery reveals his thoughts on mental health, the squeezing of creativity and the refugee crisis.

“He is an astonishing artists and draughtsman, with a unique style” says Gilmore. “Jerwood Gallery is renowned for championing the artistic spirit and allowing artists to have creative freedom. Following this tradition, seen most recently in our Keith Tyson and our crowd funded Paula Rego exhibitions; we were keen to ask Sir Quentin to create an equally ambitious show – of ‘serious art’.”

Consequently, The Only Way To Travel takes visitors on a journey through modern life and the creative mind. Featuring extraordinary beasts, machines or bizarre, narrative scenes, themes include people dislocated from their homes, loneliness, and depression, as well as energy and enthusiasm.

Jerwood Gallery wanted to give Sir Quentin the opportunity to explore these issues. The resultant pictures are sometimes serious but, in typical fashion, far from gloomy. He takes the viewer on a drawing journey, with images ranging from the size of a post card to a huge, 20’ by 9’ mural, which will be created in situ in the gallery using a cherry picker!

The Only Way To Travel is the 84 year old artist’s biggest ever UK show and will bring 100 pieces to Jerwood Gallery’s ground floor. It will feature clusters of new works inspired by the breadth of this exhibition’s brief.

“The hugely exciting aspect of this show is that Sir Quentin has produced this body of work that has not been constrained by the dictates of a specific commission,” Gilmore observes.

Aspect County spoke to Sir Quentin ahead of the show opening, to gain more of an insight into the man and the motivation behind this new body of work

Please could you tell us about your younger life and how this influenced you as an artist?

“ I was born in Sidcup and went to the local boys grammar school. My family were very nice people but did not share my interests, so everything I got, I got from school. I think education is very important. I had a very good art teacher and my Latin teacher, unusually for the time a women as it was the war years, introduced me to her husband Alfred Jackson, who was both a painter and a cartoonist, which gave me the idea that was something you could do.”

What is your earliest memory of drawing?

“I still have a drawing from when I was about 4 but I don’t actually remember doing it. I started drawing at school and drew for the school magazine and then, as a consequence of the meeting with Alf Jackson, I started sending drawings to PUNCH. These were quite bad drawings but when I was 16 I got one or two of them published and went on doing that for sometime.

I sort of got drawings published and then learnt to draw afterwards – in some sense it was like an apprenticeship.”

So after leaving school did you study art?

“No, I went to Cambridge, Downing College and read English.

I didn’t do much about art while I was there. I did some things for the student magazine. I wasn’t sure if reading English was the right thing to do at the time, but, I realised later that a close appreciation of words is one of the things an illustrator needs.

My options when leaving Cambridge were to become a teacher, which I would have been very happy doing, but, I knew I really wanted to draw and I had to see if I could do it.

I got some money from PUNCH and lived at home for a while and found I could survive and then I got into book illustration and that really was the start of everything since.

I have no formal art qualification but after I got my degree I went to Chelsea art school because I knew there was an art teacher there called Brian Robb who was a painter and illustrator. He became a mentor, which was very important and he was a friend ever after until he died. He was very good because he would say ‘don’t join my illustration class as you know too much already!’ but I used to show him my drawings and then later on he moved from Chelsea to the Royal College of Art. After a while he got me to go and teach part time there. So I went to help him and eventually when he retired I took over the department.”

What gives your life meaning and purpose – What gets you out of bed in the morning?

“Drawing drives me. I don’t work in sketchbooks – I use them for ideas but I don’t draw from life. I used to draw from life when I was a young man. I haven’t done that for years. I make it up.

I gave up the teaching many years ago now but I have over the last several years worked a lot on the campaign for drawing, giving lectures and I have been actively working on the BIG DRAW from the beginning. Sue Grayson Ford got me into it. I’ve also done all sorts of other things linked to and promoting drawing.”

Your work displays an innate sense of humour and fun– does this reflect your general personality and approach to life?

“I don’t know – I hope so. I can’t help but see the funny side. I started off doing jokes because it was something you could do. You do a drawing that makes someone smile, makes someone laugh – there may be a written joke associated with it – but what is more interesting is to make drawings that amuse people because of the drawing. Then if you go on from that you discover that humour is not just humour on its own, its much more complex than that and you elicit from people a whole range of emotions. Most of the books are cheerful and humorous but I’ve done lots of others, for example Michael Rosen’s SAD BOOK (ISBN-13: 978-1406317848).

One of the things I’ve learnt as I’ve gone along is the way drawings speak to people. I’ve done a lot of work in mental health, producing work for the walls and the reactions have always been extraordinary.”

You are well known for your work with Roald Dahl. How did the two of you meet?

“We met because the publisher put us together. It was Tom Maschler. He published me already and Roald went to him. The notion probably came from Gina Pollinger. In the beginning it was exploratory – the first book was The Enormous Crocodile (ISBN-13: 978-0141323756). We didn’t know it was going to be a collaboration at that stage. I then did another book and we actually got to know each other much better, really over The BFG (ISBN-13: 978-0141365428). I got into the way of going down to Great Missenden and it gradually built up and we became great friends.”

You are passionate about Hastings…?

“Yes. I went years ago. I didn’t mean to and I bought a house there. I used to share a house with a friend, John Yeoman, in Hythe and eventually we left because we found it too small. We found a bigger house in Hastings – It’s medieval practically. I’ve come to love it. There are fishing boats at the end of the road. I’ve gone to Hastings over the years and I’ve illustrated books there and it’s got more interesting over time; with the arrival of the Hastings Story Telling Festival and now the Jerwood Gallery. The Jerwood is at the bottom of my street and it’s wonderful.

I visit frequently. The sea is a constant; a strong presence in my work.”

Why now for this exhibition in Hastings?

Really it’s because Liz Gilmore told me to do it. But this is also a very good moment. In the past 15 years I’ve done an enormous amount of work for public spaces and those are drawings I do in the studio which are then enlarged. The largest drawing I’ve done to date like that was for St. Pancras Station in London, which was enlarged to the size of a five storey building.

I’ve done a couple of shows at the Jerwood previously, but, now Liz Gilmore has asked me to do very large drawings. This was fascinating to me as I’ve seen my drawings made very large but I’ve never actually created them very large in the first place. So this was an interesting opportunity. So I’m now doing drawing’s which are 10 x 15 ft and I’m creating others in watercolour, which is new to me at this size – 20 x 30.”

What attracts you toward drawing in large scale format?

“It was very exciting for me when Liz Gilmore invited me to produce very large drawings – as large as possible – to hang in the Foreshore Gallery. I thought ‘What a wonderful opportunity–why shouldn’t drawings be as large as oil paintings?’

These big drawings are very spontaneous, as I don’t have any way of preparing them beforehand (except perhaps in my head). They are improvised on the paper and there is really little chance of revising or correcting them, either. But it’s that element of risk that is part of the appeal; in that respect it’s in some ways like a performance. You see everything that happens.

“Another stimulus is that, at this scale, you have to rethink the drawing materials. What you thought was a big pencil suddenly looks quite small.

Many of the drawings are done with large brushes, and several with commercial decorator’s paint rollers or an ink dispenser. I’ve used things that are inexpensive and fun to use.”

What inspired the title of this exhibition?

“I chose the title because it gives me the opportunity of doing a number of different kinds of pictures on related themes. Many are comic fantasy, some are more decorative and others have a suggestion of metaphorical significance, which allows me to explore human situations and feelings. I thought also that the idea of ways of travelling was something that almost anyone of any age might relate to, and help to lead them into the pictures.”

Is there one piece in the exhibition that particularly stands out for you?

“There are going to be a hundred – It’s hard to pick one out as a favourite. I’m more concerned to get rid of the ones that aren’t good enough.”

What goals and ambitions do you have for the future?

“To keep going! I’ve made two books about my work – ‘Words and Pictures’ and ‘Beyond the Page’ and I am at work on a third, which will appear in 2018.

I have just re-illustrated The Minpins (ISBN-13: 978-0141501789), which is the only children’s book by Roald Dahl which I have never illustrated. It has lots of small drawings, and we are calling it Billy and the Minpins, to distinguish it from the Patrick Benson version.

But I’m most excited right now about the Jerwood exhibition – It’s been the most wonderful experience and opportunity.”

The Only Way to Travel opens on 14 June at the Jerwood Gallery, Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings TN34 3DW

For more information follow @jerwoodgallery on Twitter and visit

Interview © Lesley Samms 2017 Published in Aspect County Magazine June 2017 Edition



Top 3 reasons to visit Artists Open Studios plus visitor etiquette and resources

Home is where the art is…

Open Studios aren’t anything new. Sometimes also called Open Houses, artists have been opening their studios [and homes] to visitors for years. However, the trend for formalised Open Studio trails seems to be increasing year on year. This could be a reflection on the times we live and the current state of the economy, the decrease in galleries and gallery owners less inclined to try out new and untested artists, or it could just be that artists are more switched on and more organised now, with the internet facilitating easier and cheaper direct communication with the audience.

Whatever the reason, it’s great for those of us who thrive on the creative side of life and the surrounding spectacle, because Open Studios aren’t just a chance for artists to sell work. They are also an opportunity for artists to engage in conversations about their art directly with the public and for the public to catch a glimpse of both their unique process and their world; a real “fly on the wall” experience.

They facilitate a much more intimate “show and tell” art experience for all involved and one I personally highly recommend.

Spring and early Summer are peak season for Artists Open House and Studio events.

Some examples of forthcoming events in the southeast region:

So here are my top 3 reasons why I think you should also consider visiting Artists Open Studios:

1.  To have FUN

The definition of fun is amusement, enjoyment and playfulness.

Who doesn’t want to have fun!

Visiting an artist in their home or studio scores high on the fun meter, offering opportunities to observe art being created in real time, take part yourself and get messy playing with ink, paint and clay, just for pleasure.. with no agenda or pressure to be the next Picasso!

2. To feel GOOD

Visiting an artist in their home or studio is a relaxed and informal way to enjoy art just for art’s sake and therefore has the potential to make us feel good.

Buying the art we see, directly from the artists creating it also has the potential to trigger the release of further feel good endorphins.

3. To discover something NEW

Moving out of our comfort zone can be challenging. However, it can also be exciting and allow us to experience something new and unexpected

Discovering something new and unexpected can unlock hidden potential if we approach with an open mind and a positive constructive attitude.

Open studio/house visitor Etiquette

Don’t ask overly personal questions
Do ask about the artwork and the artists practice and methods
Be open-minded
Be honest but try to be constructive with any comments
Don’t rush
Don’t photograph or film without first asking the artists permission
Don’t post on social media without first asking the artists permission

Exciting times ahead for WING Art Gallery

Exciting times lie ahead for WING Gallery, Wadhurst as Dani Humberstone VP SWA joins the team from across the road at the ART SHOP. Dani will be painting in the gallery from the 2nd May, so why not pop in and see her and take a look at her latest work on the easel as it comes to life. The Gallery will also be open late night until 8pm on one Thursday every month; a perfect opportunity to meet friends and browse whilst sipping on a chilled glass of bubbly! See website for details and date announcements on facebook and twitter.

Dani has been chair of the annual September Art Exhibition since 2011 and owner of the ART SHOP for some 16 years. However, having recently taken up a council position and role of Vice President with the Society of Women Artist, based at the Mall Galleries in London, it is now time for her to make some changes and hand over the rains of these endeavours to new stewardship. Dani says of these changes “” I am really looking forward to being ‘Artist in residence’ at WING and bringing my experience of curating and managing exhibitions to the gallery – continuing to help WING remain a destination gallery for both makers and lovers of art”

The first feature exhibition of the 2017 season opened at WING on the 22nd April and runs until 13th May. Titled “The Sculpture Show”, it showcases the artwork of 10 talented sculptors including Peter Clarke, Jenna Gearing, Jonathan Hateley, Gavin Roweth, Genie Cutts, Camilla Le May, Mia Zervudachi, Ptolemy Elrington and Tom Nicholson Smith.

The gallery is available for private hire for events. They also host a range of workshops and classes throughout the year. If you are interested in hearing more or require further information, please email to join the mailing list or request a private hire events pack. You can also keep up to date with all gallery happenings on twitter, facebook and Instagram

The WING gallery team look forward to welcoming you to the gallery very soon.

WING GALLERY, High Street, Wadhurst TN5 6AA

Open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm

Published in Aspect County Magazine May Edition

DAVID HOCKNEY – If you haven’t visited already, hurry!

The superb David Hockney Exhibition at Tate Britain closes on 29 May. Late night openings, until midnight, are happening on Friday 26, Saturday 27, and Sunday 28 May 2017 and on the final day, Monday 29 May 2017, the exhibition will be open until 9pm. Last ticket sales and entry to the exhibition will be one hour before the stated closing times.

As he approaches his 80th birthday, this exhibition, organised collaboratively by Tate Britain, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, gathers together an extensive selection of Hockney’s most famous works celebrating his achievements in painting, drawing, print, photography and video across six decades. Throughout his working lifetime, Hockney has continuously changed his style and ways of working, embracing new technologies such as the Brushes app on ipad, as he goes along. From his portraits and images of Los Angeles swimming pools, through to his drawings, photography, Yorkshire landscapes and most recent paintings – some of which have never been seen before in public – this exhibition shows how the roots of each new direction lay in the work that came before.

Born in July 1937 in Yorkshire, David Hockney, OM, CH, RA is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. Educated at the Royal College of Art in London, alongside the likes of Peter Blake and Derek Boshier, he featured in the famous Young Contemporaries exhibition of 1961 that announced the arrival of British POP Art.

Hockney has lived much of his life away from the UK, mainly in California. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s however, he was a frequent return visitor to Bridlington and the West Riding’s, Yorkshire, visiting his now late mother and his friend Jonathan Silver. It was these visits that led to the monumental landscape works exhibited at the Royal Academy in 2012 as part of the David Hockney:A Bigger Picture exhibition. An exhibition that also included his first iPad drawings together with a series of films produced using 18 cameras, displayed on multiple screens to mesmerizing effect.

Following the landscape exhibition Hockney turned away from painting for a while and from his Yorkshire home, returning to Los Angeles. Slowly however he has begun returning to the quiet contemplation of portraiture, an initial collection of which were displayed at the Royal Academy in 2016 in an exhibition titled 82 portraits and 1 still-life. These works offer an intimate snapshot of the LA art world and the people who cross Hockney’s path. Each artwork is the same size, showing the sitter in the same chair, against the same vivid blue background and all painted in the same three-day time frame.

If you can’t make it to Tate Britain before 29 May don’t panic! Works by Hockney also feature in the Queer British Art 1861–1967 exhibition, which is open until 1 October 2017, also at Tate Britain. Featuring works from 1861–1967 relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) identities, the show marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England. Queer Bitish Art explores how artists expressed themselves in a time when established assumptions about gender and sexuality were being questioned and transformed.

Deeply personal and intimate works are presented alongside pieces aimed at a wider public, which helped to forge a sense of community when modern terminology of ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ and ‘trans’ were unrecognised. Together, they reveal a remarkable range of identities and stories, from the playful to the political and from the erotic to the domestic.

With paintings, drawings, personal photographs and film from artists such as John Singer Sargent, Dora Carrington, Duncan Grant and David Hockney, the diversity of queer British art is celebrated as never before.

Go to to download the full PURE Artists Directory

Published in Aspect County Magazine May Edition

Alternative Investments – Cautionary Tales and Tips

With Interest rates at record lows, many are now seeking to secure their financial future and pension fund by investing in alternative commodities such as wine, precious metals, gem stones and classic cars. Bearing in mind all investments can go down as well as up, we take a look at what is currently on trend with London investors, together with top tips for new investors and a few cautionary tales of past booms and their inevitable busts!


Fine Wine is a relative new comer to the mainstream investment offering, however, it has reputedly been one of the highest performing asset classes of the past 20 years. According to the FT, this trend began in the mid-1980s, when prices for fine wine began to rise in earnest. One factor behind this was the success of wine critics such as Robert Parker at predicting which of the top châteaux in Bordeaux would produce the best wine in a vintage. More collectors sought out the limited number of wines most highly regarded by these critics, boosting their value. A bull market in stocks and bonds in the decade or so that followed also helped spur interest in alternative assets.

If you have a taste for investing in wine, you must first understand how France’s premium wine market operates. The annual highlight of the wine merchant’s calendar is the en primeur market in Bordeaux, the closest thing the wine world has to a futures market. Every spring, the best of the region’s winemakers provide merchants with a chance to acquire their product early, before it even enters the bottle. The châteaux offer limited en primeur allocations to the market only through authorised French distributors known as négociants, who in turn offer the wine to other merchants around the world. Usually after about two years the wine is delivered.

A cautionary tale: 2011

Bordeaux en primeur had proved itself a reliable way to invest in wine until 2011, when demand fell away sharply at the front end of several average vintages. The Brexit vote of 2015 further compounded the problem, with a weak sterling making wine more expensive for UK buyers. On a positive note however, Bordeaux 2016 en primeur tastings have seen record attendance, with some producers saying it is the best vintage of their career…. Only time will tell if the markets agree and respond accordingly.

Cautionary tips for those considering buying wine for profit rather than pleasure.

Buyer Beware

  1. Ensure those you choose to invest through have specific criteria, against which wines are bought and sold and the associated costs are clear and transparent.
  1. Avoid unsolicited invitations to invest and make sure any company or individual you choose to invest through have a real office or place of business you can visit and independently verify.
  1. Make sure the wine you buy is held in a government-approved “bonded” warehouse and is fully insured against loss or damage.
  1. Always keep it real: it is riskier to invest in wines produced outside the top châteaux of Bordeaux, but of course these investments also offer the potential for high returns!

Bullion and Rare Diamonds

Buying bullion and rare diamonds for investment – what could possibly go wrong!

Bullion is gold bars, silver bars, and other bars or ingots of precious metal. The word bullion originates from the French Minister of Finance under Louis XIII, Claude de Bullion. The value of bullion is typically determined by the value of its precious metals content, which is defined by its purity and mass. You can buy gold bullion both as a physical asset from a dealer and via gold exchange-traded funds (ETF). Gold is considered a fairly safe investment, however, its trading value can be volatile. For example, in 2011 gold was trading at around $1,780 /oz., where as today it is nearer $1,250/oz.

The most important characteristics to consider when buying diamonds are the four C’s; cut, colour, clarity and carat. Diamond expert Antony Vanderpump gives his insight into the rare diamond market:

“A tin of beans and a penknife! That’s probably all you would wish for if you were washed up on a deserted island, but for those of us who live in the civilised world there are other priorities. In these days of low interest rates and zero returns, the smart money is looking at alternative investment opportunities. One opportunity stands head and shoulders above all the others, the rare diamond market. Sure, you need to have good advice and a trustworthy source, but the return on investment can be eye watering. Take for example the sale in 2015 of the worlds most expensive blue diamond. The now named “Blue moon of Josephine” is a whopping 12.03ct fancy vivid flawless diamond that achieved £33million when sold to a Hong Kong property magnet as a gift for his daughter!

Clearly, not everybody can run to this sort of cash, but knowledge of the diamond trade, which can be secretive at best, can offer amazing returns. There are a few (unregulated) diamond investment businesses that have sprung up recently, some of which have made the headlines for the wrong reasons. The main issue with investing in rare coloured diamonds is the “exit strategy”; you need to be totally confident that the stone you choose to sink you hard earned cash into is saleable and profitable. There is no crystal ball that we as diamond traders can consult, but years of watching trends has given us an insight into what is good and what is not. The first rule to procuring an investment stone is the certificate, and there is only one certificate the trade recommend, GIA (Gemmological Institute of America). All other certificates are second-class and, in most cases, no use when selling the diamond. The second rule is trust your diamond expert; he will be responsible for selling your stone and his knowledge will be based on this key issue. I would never recommend buying a diamond on the Internet, as diamonds must be visually inspected.

Coloured diamonds can start from just a few hundred pounds, but the biggest returns will always be on the larger more expensive stones. It is important to set a budget and ask your expert to find a stone within it. Rarity of colour (red, blue, green etc.) will affect the value of the stone, the secondary details of size and clarity will then adjust the price, but, always have in mind that if the stone is too obscure in shape and colour, you will limit the pool of customers when you come to sell your investment”.

Antony Vanderpump


Classic Cars






Many investment analysts are talking up the potential of classic cars currently. This market is primarily being driven (pardon the pun!) by our obsession with celebrity culture, so cars driven by our idols and heroes or featured in iconic movies are top of the investor wish list.

According to website, buying the best model you can find – even if you pay over the odds – is usually the best advice. But there are people who have bought with their heart, or even on a whim, who have made money.

There are lucky people who bought cars such as Dinos, built by Ferrari, for 40 or 50 grand and spent £100,000 having them brought up to top condition, and they are still sitting on a profit.

Like the Art market, the classic car market is often affected by appearance, image, scarcity, history and condition as much as the mechanical aspects of the car and sometimes whether it is any good to drive. Prices can go down, so the best advice is to buy a car you really want and regard any rise in value as a bonus. An added advantage of a car you will drive is that it will be exempt from capital gains tax, which currently only applies to vehicles deemed purchased solely for investment.

 A cautionary tale: the 1980’s boom 

The classic and exotic car market boomed famously in 1988, only to fall to Earth in the early 1990s with some prices collapsing by as much as 40 per cent. Cars like the Ferrari F40, which cost £193,000 new in 1988, saw their values reach nearly £1million – but 27 years later even the best are fetching only about £800,000. This time, so the theory goes, it is different. This time the price rises are not a bubble financed by borrowing because people are spending ‘real’ money; and with growing interest from emerging markets such as India there are potentially more buyers after the same number of cars…. As with the 2016 Bordeaux en primeur, only time will tell how accurate this speculation is.

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Published in Aspect County Magazine May 2017

“The Gin and Tonic has saved more Englishman’s lives, and minds than all the doctors in the Empire” Winston Churchill

2016 was officially the year of gin. According to figures released by the Wine and Spirit Association, gin sales reached an impressive £1 billion, with gin bought in shops increasing by 13 per cent and in licensed premises by 19 per cent. Overall, it’s thought that around 40 million bottles of gin were bought in 2016 – 7 million more than in 2012.

Reflecting this trend more and unusual Gin dens are popping up across the capital virtually on a daily basis! Here is a selection of some of our favourites:

 214 Bermondsey

Under Antico restaurant in Bermondsey you’ll find this secret gin bar where the G&Ts are taken so seriously, they’ve insisted on making their own homemade tonic, (created with specially imported quinine that allows the delicate gin botanicals to sing out). Test your taste buds with a blind gin flight of three different G&Ts. Try and make it down to a Sunday Social, with a weekly changing menu of gin tipples from £5 a pop.

214 Bermondsey, 214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ

Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour, Covent Garden

Head up the stairs at Mr. Fogg’s rowdy beer tavern and you’ll find this cosy old-world gin haven with fancy sofas, and one hell of a gin collection – there are over 315 bottles. You can also book onto a gin master class where you’ll get a full history of the good stuff while you sample a diverse range of gins from across the globe.

1 New Row, WC2N 4EA

The London Gin Club, Soho

This place is unassuming from the outside (it looks just like a standard London pub), but walk inside and you enter a 1930’s gin shrine. It doesn’t look like it’s changed since it opened over 80 years ago. There are 270 different bottles behind the bar, and cocktail recipes dating back to the 1800s. Every effort goes into making sure you have the optimum gin drinking experience, served with large cracked ice so your drink won’t dilute. The tonics, and even the garnish, are carefully thought out to match perfectly with your gin of choice.

 The Star, 22 Great Chapel Street, W1F 8FR

 Duke’s Bar


Although not a dedicated gin bar, Duke’s Bar has a special place in the history of gin. It was the place where James Bond creator Ian Fleming first conjured up the Vesper Martini cocktail “shaken not stirred”, of course. Fleming was a regular here, and seemingly little has changed in this cosy bar with the gin Martinis still famous the world over.

35 St. James’s Place, London SW1A 1NY

East London Liquor Company

Choose from three different gins distilled on site at this Bow bar housed in a former glue factory, or sample gin cocktails such as Red Snapper, Negroni or gin sours. With industrial features and a view of the stills, you’ll feel at the heart of the production process at East London Liquor Company – you can get an even better idea of how it’s made with the 90-minute Spirit of Gin Tour and Tasting.

Unit GF1, Bow Wharf, 221 Grove Road, London, E3 5SN

Sipsmith Distillery Tour

Discover the story behind the pioneers of London’s recent gin resurgence. Sipsmith became the first company to be granted a warrant to distil gin in London for 189 years when, in 2009, its distillery opened in Chiswick. Join one of the evening Sipsmith tours or book on the Gin Extravaganza to also visit one of London’s last remaining gin palaces for a three-course meal featuring gin-themed botanicals such as juniper and citrus.

Sipsmith recently also hosted hot Gin on the roof at Firmdale hotels Hamyard, which was a sell-out. Lets hope they do it again soon!

The Distillery, 83 Cranbrook Road, Chiswick, London W4 2LJ

The Distillery

The Distillery is a four-storey boutique hotel, dedicated entirely to the drinking of gin. The brainchild of the Portobello Road Gin company, in addition to the three guest rooms (which, naturally, are well-stocked with the nation’s new favourite drink), it also features a working distillery, two bars, a gin museum, an off-licence and a gin-making experience entitled ‘The Ginstitute”. It’s easy to see why its founders refer to it as a ‘gin palace’!

186 Portobello Road
W11 1LA

For our Sussex readers who now fancy a tipple, don’t fret the county has its fare share of award winning distilleries as well.

Blackdown Distillery, West Sussex

Nestled in the foothills of Blackdown Hill, set amidst sprawling ancient woodland near where Lord Alfred Tennyson once lived; writer of such epic works as Charge of the Light Brigade, is the innovative Blackdown Distillery.

Producing a luxurious collection of distinctive award-winning spirits, handcrafted in small batches in the oldest distillery in Sussex, Blackdown pride themselves on using only natural botanicals, focusing on quality and provenance.

They also use only British suppliers for their ingredients and packaging, ensuring their products are truly British.

Try before you buy!

Blackdown cellar door is open throughout the year. Check the website for opening hours. They also offer “click and collect”!

The Gin Tub (and Rum Cage!), 16 Church Road, Hove BH3 2FL

The Gin Tub in Hove has made headlines for filling the insides of its crimson and bare-brick walls with silver foil and it’s ceiling in copper wire to create a faraday cage, which blocks all mobile signal. The novelty doesn’t stop there. Each table is fitted with a faux rotary dial phone, which customers use to order from the bar, but also call strangers on other tables. (A landline has been installed, too, in case of an emergency.)

16 Church Road, Hove BN3 2FL

All about Gin – Myth and legend

The first confirmed date for the production of gin is the early 17th century in Holland, although claims have been made that it was produced prior to this in Italy. In Holland it was produced as a medicine and sold in chemist shops to treat stomach complaints, gout and gallstones.

Dutch Courage

English troops fighting alongside the Dutch in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) noticed that the Dutch soldiers were extremely courageous in battle. This bravery was attributed to the calming effects of the medicinal elixir known as gin, small bottles of which where carried by Dutch troops hanging from their belts. English troops soon followed their Dutch counterparts example.

Hot Gin and Gingerbread

Whenever the weather turned cold in 18th Century London, crowds would gather to explore the stalls and tents selling hot gin and gingerbread that popped up along the frozen River Thames, at what became known as the London Frost Fairs.

The Gin Craze and Mothers Ruin

Historians attribute gin as being England’s first drug craze and an early harbinger of binge drinking! Its consumption was particularly marked in women, thus its various female nicknames including Mothers Ruin, which is said to describe the disastrous effects on the family as a consequence of mothers drunk on gin.

Hogarth depicted the perceived evils of gin drinking in his etching and engraving ‘Gin Lane’, published as a pair with ‘Beer Street’ in 1751. The images were designed to advocate the merits of beer drinking, compared to the evils of gin drinking. Thus ‘Beer Street’ depicts happy and healthy residents going about their daily lives, whereas ‘Gin Lane’ shows shocking scenes of infanticide, starvation, madness, decay and suicide.

The Gin Riots

The Gin Act was introduced in London in 1736, in an attempt to tackle the burgeoning problem of alcohol abuse by the poor, widely attributed to gin consumption. The Gin Act made gin prohibitively expensive. A licence to retail gin cost £50 and duty was raised fivefold to £1 per gallon with the smallest quantity you could buy being two gallons. The Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and Dr. Samuel Johnson were among those who opposed the Act as they considered it could not be enforced against the will of the common people. They were right. Riots broke out and the law was widely and openly flouted, with gin production going underground and consumption continuing to rise.

The Gin Act was finally repealed in 1742 as unenforceable and a new policy, which distillers helped to draft was introduced.

The Birth of the Gin and Tonic

As the British Crown took over the governance of India, British immigrants began to struggle with the ravages of malaria. A local cure came from the bark of the cinchona or ‘fever’ tree, which contained the notoriously bitter quinine. To make it more palatable, sugar, lime, ice and gin were added – and the G&T was born. for further information and to download the 2016-2017 artist directory

Published in Aspect County April 2017 edition

Take away the heritage of people and they are easily persuaded. Karl Marx

Culture and heritage are important as they help us connect with others and give meaning to our lives through social values, beliefs, religions and customs. They link us to our past in order to give us a sense of identity, unity and belonging in our present.

We live our lives against a rich backdrop of historic buildings, landscapes and other physical artefacts of the past. But the historic environment is more than just a matter of material remains. It is central to how we see ourselves and to our identity as individuals, communities and as a nation. It is a physical record of what our country is and how it came to be.

Preserving and passing on this rich cultural heritage is therefore central to our sense of self and community and of critical importance to our sense of happiness and wellbeing. One educational establishment that truly understand and embrace the importance of preserving and communicating our culture and heritage is West Dean College near Chichester.

West Dean College is situated on the 6,350 acre West Dean Estate. Located on the south side of Chichester, between the villages of West Dean and Singleton, the estate was the former home of poet and patron of the Surrealists, Edward James, who inherited the estate from his father William Dodge James in the early part of the 20th Century. West Dean is recorded in the Domesday Book as a hunting park and one of the manors of Singleton, which was held for several centuries by the Earls of Arundel and the Dukes of Norfolk. William Dodge James purchased the house, park and gardens from Frederick Bower in 1891, appointing Ernest George and Harold Peto as architects, tasked with making substantial changes to both the exterior and interior of the house.

Founded in 1971, West Dean College is part of the Edward James Foundation and is internationally recognised for teaching heritage conservation and creative arts. Underpinned by the vision of its founder Edward James, who formed one of the largest collections of Surrealist works during his lifetime, the College aims to inspire creativity, champion traditional art and craft practices and advance the care of heritage objects. It is a truly unique place to study, visit or stay; a centre of excellence, creativity and tranquillity.

The Edward James Foundation is a registered charity run by a senior management team led by Chief Executive, Alexander Barron ACA, and supported by Francine Norris BA (Hons) MA FRSA, Director of Education and Ian Graham, Director of Property and Campus Operations.

Speaking recently about the vision and ethos that underpins West Dean, Francine Norris said:

“The things that I think are important and make West Dean distinctive as an art college are to do with the sense of place and the focus on skills. I think both of those things make the experience of people studying here very particular and very different to what they might find if they were to study in the mainstream art education sector at the moment and it is what attracted me to come and work at West Dean myself.

What I have seen over the last 20 years in art and design education, due in part to government policy, is a stripping out of skills training and development, with an emphasis placed instead on conceptual skills often removed from the materiality of actually making work.

This has resulted in frustration amongst some students; disappointed at the lack of practical skills they are learning and unable or disinterested in operating in a more academic environment. What we do here is provide a combination of short and long courses that promote inclusivity and enable access for a wide range of students.

We offer over 700 short courses per year, so students can effectively build their own programme, based on their unique needs and abilities. Our Diploma programmes provide a more structured framework with personal tutoring to support those who want to develop an individual creative practice. While the most advanced courses are our Masters programmes, which provide a rigorous critical and conceptual approach but still underpinned by a commitment to developing material processes and making.

The vision that still shapes West Dean College is that of its founder Edward James. He was a significant patron of the arts during the 1930’s supporting writers, composers and artists from across Europe. As war loomed, he saw first hand the impact of the rise of Nazism on some of his friends and protégés. His concerns at the prospect of losing a generation of the most creative people, with skills and ideas lost and humanity set back, are recorded in a letter he wrote to his friend, the writer Aldous Huxley in 1939, and this is when he first proposes the idea of creating an artistic community at West Dean. This really is the founding document for the College today and continues to influence our approach and ethos.”

To read more about West Dean College:

The Foundation also comprises West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studios.

West Dean Gardens and Estate

West Dean Gardens is one of the best-restored gardens open to the public today. Rich in creative and social heritage its most distinctive features include 13 restored Victorian glasshouses housing orchids, fuchsias, figs, vines, melons and chillies, the award-winning Walled Kitchen Garden of classic Victorian design and a 300 foot-long Edwardian pergola designed by Harold Peto. There is also a circular 2½ mile arboretum walk set in 90 acres of beautiful parkland, offering stunning views of the South Downs and a route passing Edward James’ grave.

West Dean Gardens are open to the public February to December. Access to the Gardens on event days is restricted to those with tickets. This applies to West Dean Arts and Craft Festival and Chilli Fiesta. Dogs that are kept on a short lead are welcome in the Gardens.

West Dean Gardens restaurant and shop are open to the public when the Gardens are open. Generally between 10.30 am – 4pm Monday – Sunday including Bank Holidays.

See website for full details of opening times and entry charges applicable:

The School of Creative Arts collaborates and holds regular exhibitions of work by major outside artists as well as students and tutors of the College.

Current partner exhibitions

Location: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Dates: 11 February to 28 May 2017


The exhibits come from the collections of British aristocratic poet Edward James (1907-1984), British artist Roland Penrose (1900-1984), British collector Gabrielle Keiller (1908-1995) and German entrepreneurs Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents an unprecedented survey of the Surrealist movement with masterpieces from four famous European collections. The majority of artworks have rarely, or never been exhibited publicly and will disappear behind closed doors again at the end of May 2017.

See website for further details:

Location: Two Temple Place, London

Dates: 28 January to 23 April 2017-02-27

SUSSEX MODERNISM – Retreat and Rebellion

Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion, examines why radical artists and writers were drawn to the rolling hills, seaside resorts, and quaint villages of Sussex in the first half of the 20th century and how, in the communities they created, artistic innovation ran hand in-hand with political, sexual and domestic experimentation.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Hope Wolf, Lecturer in British Modernist Literature and co-Director of the Centre for Modernist Studies at the University of Sussex.

See website for further details:

West Dean Tapestry Studio

West Dean Tapestry Studio is one of only two professional tapestry studios in the UK. Since 1976 the Tapestry Studio has worked with contemporary artists and designers to translate their images into woven tapestry. Following completion of 23 tapestries for the Henry Moore Foundation in 1987, the Studio has worked with artists John Piper, Howard Hodgkin, Tracey Emin, Eileen Agar, Martin Creed, Matty Grunberg, Philip Sutton, Bill Jacklin and Adrian Berg.

Current partner event

Location: Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham

Dates: Tuesday 4 April – Saturday 1 July 2017

Artists Meet Their Makers by West Dean Tapestry Studio

This exhibition will shine a light on both artist and Master Weaver with equal intensity, exploring how a dialogue and language is established between both parties. Works, samples and the development of colour palettes on display will include commissions with leading contemporary artists Tracey Emin, Michael Brennand-Wood and Henry Moore and new commissions with Rebecca Salter, RA and Biggs and Collings.

See website for further details:

– Deborah Ravetz –

Deborah is a current residential student at West Dean College studying for an MA in Fine Art.

In her book, The Field Guide to Getting Lost (2003) Rebecca Solnit writes
”To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery” (p.5).

In her work Deborah tries to abandon herself to the discipline of being lost by painting and then over-painting, losing the first image in order to make and find a richer one. For her this is
a practical and a visual way of celebrating the positive outcomes of being in “uncertainty and mystery.” It seems that between her and the painting there is an element that could be called chance, but it could also be called grace. for further information and to download the 2016-2017 artist directory

Published in Aspect County April 2017 edition/ Articulate

The craft beer revolution is real and happening in a bar near you right now!

– The Arbitrager – London –

The London craft beer scene has been growing at an astonishing rate over recent years. Unlike traditional British beer, craft beers are interesting, progressive and often quite hoppy, made by small-scale breweries. An increasing number of London bars and pubs are now specialising in craft beers and they can also be sampled direct from source at the many independent brewery taprooms now open to the public.

Here’s our pick of some of the best in and around London town:

The Arbitrager, Throgmorton Street EC2N 2AN

Located at the very heart of the city in Drapers’ Hall on Throgmorton Street, the Arbitrager is a long established favourite haunt of the city set. Open Monday – Friday 12 noon – midnight, it serves London beers from London breweries, London distilled spirits and London made charcuterie and cold bar snacks.

BrewdogSoho, Poland Street, Soho W1F 8QG

Brewdog is a Scottish brewery whose success has been significantly supported through their ground breaking “Equity for Punks” shareholder scheme. BrewdogSoho opened in 2015 as a consequence of the “Equity for Punks IV” fundraiser, supporting growth from 2 shareholders, 2 employees (plus one dog) and 0 bars in 2007 to 32,000 shareholders, 540 employees (plus one dog) and 44 bars in 2015.

Located minutes from Oxford Circus, Piccadilly and Leicester Square and open every day, BrewdogSoho has a super cool vibe in keeping with the atmosphere of the surrounding streets.

Howling Hops, Queens Yard, Hackney Wick E9 5EN

Located in a large Victorian warehouse space in a unique and vibrant (their words!) part of town, beer is dispensed direct from a row of 10 serving tanks located behind a 10 metre long bar, the first of its kind in the UK.

Open to the public from 12 noon, 7 days a week

Wild Card Brewery and Tap, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, E17 9HQ

Wild Card Brewery was founded on the back of a hobby that got way out of hand! Starting out as cuckoo brewers trading on the back of a personal credit card, the outfit is an unlikely success stories that punches well above it’s weight. With the backing of peer-to-peer lending from local supporters, the brewery moved into it’s own site in Walthamstow in January 2014 where it operates a six brewers barrel kit.

At the weekend, they close the brewery and open the bar! The bar sells a full range, plus an ever-changing selection of stuff they love from other microbreweries. If beer isn’t your thing, they also have a range of ciders, spirits and wine. If you’re in a rush, or having a party you can buy bottles of Wild Card Brewery beer to takeaway and if you’re hungry DoughBro Pizza serve up awesome wood fired pizza from the car park most weekends….

And if you’re really getting into the idea of making craft beer yourself, you could participate in a “Brew a Beer experience day” – £89 for a full day of mashing, sparging and boiling up the perfect brew.

The craft beer revolution has not been restricted to just London though! The Beer Awards were officially launched at Craft Beer Rising 2016, the UK’s largest craft beer festival, highlighting its global popularity.

UK winners included:

Purity Brewing Company, Upper Spernall Farm, Warwickshire, B49 6JF

Based on a working farm in the heart of the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, Purity was established in 2005. Committed to brewing beer with a conscience, their mission is to: brew great beer without prejudice, with a conscience and with a consistency and an attention to detail, which is second to none.

Purity beer can be purchased throughout the UK (check website for details), online or from their brewery shop. Purity also offer a “Puritan” membership scheme and brewery tours.

Sharps Brewery, Rock, Cornwall PL27 6NU

Sharp’s Brewery was founded in 1994 in Rock, Cornwall by Bill Sharp. His mission from the outset was to make exceptional beer on the North Cornish Coast.

Sharp’s beer can be purchased from hostelries throughout the UK (check website for details), directly from the on site brewery shop and alongside a range of craft beers at the Sharp’s pub; The Mariners in Rock, Cornwall; a collaboration with Chef Nathan Outlaw.

And for East Sussex readers now craving a craft beer, we have our very own selection of independent brewers to choose from, including:

The Long Man Brewery, Church Farm, Litlington, East Sussex BN26 5RA

The Award Winning Long Man Brewery is based in the Heart of the South Downs National Park. Their beers are available throughout the UK (check website for details) and can also be purchased online.

The Three Legs Brewing Co, Udimore Road, Broad Oak, Rye, TN31 6BX

Three Legs Brewing Co. and tap located in Broad Oak, Rye. Also selling a small selection of hand picked wines and locally sourced apple juice, the Tap is open Thurs – Saturday (check website for details).

Hammerpot Brewery, Arundel Road, Poling, West Sussex BN18 9PY

Founded in 2005 by Lee Mitchel, Hammerpot ales are truly Sussex born and bred. The ales are brewed near the tiny hamlet of Hammerpot, just outside Arundel, using water from the South Downs and carefully selected hops, malted barley and wheat. Production is sustainable too –from traditional hand bottling through to ensuring the spent grains from production become feed for animals on the local farm.

Many of the ales are named after local and historic events, which are an important part of Sussex heritage. They can be found in public houses and independent retailers across the south of England and can also be purchased online, at farmers markets and at “pop-up pub” (check website for details).

Published in Aspect County Magazine March 2017