Surprise over shut gallery

AS a purely amateur fan of the arts, I decided to combine a trip to Hastings on Friday to see The Pretty Things with a visit to the Jerwood Gallery which has acquired iconic status in the south east almost akin to the Turner Gallery in Margate.

Having paid to park my car, I was astonished to find that entrance to the gallery was prevented by an iron gate and that it had been closed all week to allow a change of exhibitions. Looking through the windows the only sign of life I could see was a man setting up a camara on a tripod in an otherwise empty exhibition room.

Looking on line I discover that Hastings is bidding to be a future City of Culture but the Jerwood is again closed for a week in July at the height of the holiday season. What happens to the staff during these closures?

Surely part of the building could be kept open?

At least The Pretty Things - performing a gig at the Carlisle Club as part of their 50th anniversary tour - were in splenid form and treated the sell-out crowd to a performance that belied their advancing years.

The Carlisle Club, with its biker clientele and skull and crossbones decor, would not pretend to be an arts centre. But, surely, if Hastings is to win the accolade it seeks it needs to realise that a commitment to culture is not part-time.

MAURICE CHITTENDEN

Woodlands Close

Teston

Maidstone

Kent