The Primitive Methodist Chapel, Eaton St Torpid,
prior to conversion to 'The Alex'
Queen Alexandra Arts Centre
When the Primitive Methodist chapel on Station Street, Eaton St Torpid, was declared redundant permission was sought to demolish the building and replace it with a fire station and other mundane modernities. However in the parallel universe of Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway this was averted. Instead a local benefactor generously acquired the building and converted it into a venue for art exhibitions. In honour of the wife of King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra (1844–1925), who was rather fond of staying in the village, it was named the Queen Alexandra Arts Centre.
Unfortunately no one considered the pronunciation of the acronym, with the consequence that the centre is usually referred to as 'The Alex' – Queen Alexandra being known to her immediate family as 'Alix'.
Thanks to the Curator, Ms Cynthia Smythe-Smith FRSA, and her indomitable assistant, Judi ('I only came for a holiday but entered a timewarp'), 'The Alex' is well-regarded in the north-west Norfolk region and beyond as a centre of excellence for the arts. The many notable exhibitions include:
- Angi Werhil: specially commissioned series of screen prints of lavender and lavender soap wrappers
- Mickey Rothko-Turner: 'Commanding Seascapes'
- 'Shorebirds and waders': woodblock prints with an ornithological inclination by Ibis Whimbrel
- 'Pressed or waxed?': botanical specimens prepared by the Rev Crispin Wilberforce
- Evan Weglow: 'The Nude Revealed'
- Chas Hackney: 'Portraits of My Brother'. A retrospective of Chas's series of paintings of his more famous younger brother, Dave. Also included 'Cosi and Kiwi Scrivener with Todger (1970–1)'; 'Susanna getting out of Elder's pool' (1966); 'Peter getting into Nick's poo' (1969).
- Trudy Emett: 'Railway Carriages I Have Ever Slept In' (installation)
- Jim Pepper: lithographs and monoprints of Norfolk churches
- 'Just a Little Pink': representative examples from the Dame Edna Cartlidge Collection of hats and coats
- Dick Short: 'Neep', 'Spring', 'Lavender Spiral' and 'Inverted Oak' (intertidal installations near Holme-next-the-Sea)
- Tony Gumley: 'Buxom Ladies' (beach sculpture at Holme Pier Point)
- Modern Islamic Tagines (in collaboration with Aga Cookers and the Aga Khan Museum)
- Barbara Hapennyworth: 'Found Forms and Vacant Voids' (previously unexhibited early drawings)
Some of these exhibitions were organised in conjunction with The Collection in Lincoln, Nottingham Lakeside Arts and Oakham's Goldmark Gallery.
- Bulrush Dining Room: the original Art Deco designs by Charles Rennie Ibberson for the now-demolished Canidringham Hotel in Brindlecliffe, with reconstructions of the stylised kingfisher stained-glass light-fittings and eponymous bulrush-motif chairs.
In addition there are frequent exhibitions by local artists and not-so-local artists who depict local scenes, including the hardier sort of en plein-air painters.
While you are at The Alex don't forget to visit the Ace Caff, with a collection of vintage playing cards displayed under the glasstop tables.
Menu de l'Année
- locally-sourced lavender and seaweed soup
- dogs in duvets canapes
- elver en gélatine tapas
- traditional Yorkshire soufflés with shallot Brontë gravy
- poached eggs with toasty soldiers ~ legally-sourced eggs also available (cost supplements may apply)
- spinach and fettuccine noodles with veriyuki sauce
- aduki bean burger with steak tartare relish
- flame-cooked chicken brûlé á la Solanaceae ~ served with brinjals, deep-fried solanum tuber goujons, lycopersicum condiment and garnished with white nightshade
- pescetarian pinkies ~ orthogonal cod pieces alluringly coated with aureate bread crumbs, served with oven-roasted broccoli florets and caper-infused mayonnaise
- baguettes and focaccia with a choice of fillings, including
- lavender and goat's cheese melt
- avacado in piquant guacamole dressing
- triple-smoked butternut squash mash with habanero chilli
- tuna in BBQ sauce with grilled sweetcorn coleslaw
- borscht in salsa sauce
- traditional British Rail-style pickle-with-hint-of-cheese sandwich ~ subject to availability of stale bread
- banana and bacon trifle
- Black Forest sundae
- Wensleydale cheese and crackers
This website does not gather or store any visitor information.
Text and previously unpublished images copyright Bob Trubshaw 2018–2019