Lewes History Group talk: Amon & Amon Henry Wilds, architects of Lewes and Brighton – Monday 11 March 2019, 7:00 for 7:30pm

Sue Berry: Amon and Amon Henry Wilds of Lewes and Brighton, entrepreneurial builders and architects c1790-1855

Dr Sue Berry will talk about the builder-architects Amon Wilds and his son Amon Henry, who worked in Lewes and then in Brighton from c.1790-1855. In a highly competitive market, this self-taught pair were remarkably successful and many of their buildings stand today.

Amon Wilds came to Lewes in about 1790 and began work as a carpenter before branching out into building and development. His earliest projects included small houses in East, Lancaster, St. John’s and Sun Streets and Pleasant Place, and in 1806 he rebuilt the nave of All Saint’s Church that we see today.

By 1811, Amon Henry Wilds had joined his father and examples of their joint builds also survive in Lewes.

In 1817 the Wilds moved to the far bigger resort of Brighton to work for Thomas Read Kemp, the developer. The Wilds designed and built his villa and chapel and probably laid out Kemp’s very ambitious ‘Kemp Town’ for him. They also built speculatively in Brighton themselves, but after an argument over one project in 1824, the duo split up. Amon Henry teamed up with architect Charles Busby (of Brunswick Town fame) but this didn’t last and he went on to work in Surrey, Ireland and elsewhere.

This talk is based on Sue Berry’s research, a considerable amount of which was published in the Sussex Archaeological Collections of 2012, and which has been enhanced by more recent work.

Lewes All Saints Church before and after building of new nave

Images show All Saints Lewes before the nave was demolished (left) and replaced by the Wilds with the current galleried ‘preaching box’ nave (right)
Right: All Saints by Petrie c1805; Left: All Saints after 1895, both courtesy of Sussex Archaeological Society

All are welcome from 7.00pm for free refreshments and updates on the Group’s activities. The talk will begin promptly at 7:30pm and will finish by 9.00pm.

There is an entry fee for these meetings, payable at the door, of £1 for members, and £3 for non-members.

Venue: The King’s Church building on Brooks Road, Lewes, BN7 2BY. (Between Tesco car park and Homebase)

See the Meetings page for a list of  forthcoming monthly talks organised by the Lewes History Group.