Friends of Lewes new season of talks, 2018-2019

The new season of events begins with the Lewes Heritage Open Days from Thursday to Sunday 6th – 9th September 2018, organised by the Friends of Lewes.

Saving Fitzroy House, Lewes“Saving Fitzroy House” is the subject of a talk by Eleanor Austin and Marcus Taylor on September 13th. This event will be at Trinity Church, Southover, at 7:45pm. (right)

In the centenary year of the Representation of the People Act 1918, Frances Stenlake will speak on “Women’s Suffrage in Lewes” on October 24th, at 7:45pm in the Town Hall Lecture Room.

On January 17th  Norman Baker, our former MP, will give a personal view of our town, “Lewes Looking Back and Looking Forward”, 7:45pm in the Town Hall lecture Room.

Provisional: February 13th will see an eco-themed evening with a number of speakers on themes including Litter-free Lewes, local water quality, and an update on our recent tree survey as part of the Urban Arboretum project. More details of this will be available later in the year.

Further events will be announced in due course.

See the Friends of Lewes Diary of Events for details





The history of Pipe Passage explained

The pedestrian way that leaves the upper High Street beside the Freemasons Hall and connects to New Road is Pipe Passage – and its history is now explained in an information board, recently put up by the Friends of Lewes.

For most of Queen Victoria’s reign clay pipes were made and fired in a large kiln on the western side. Though only part of the remains of this is now visible, the board explains the manufacturing process through text, illustration and photographs.

Pipe Kiln in Pipe Passage, Lewes - information board
Information board put up by the Friends of Lewes

The story behind the names of other streets in Lewes is fascinating too and can be followed in the revised edition of The Street Names of Lewes, published by Friends of Lewes and available from the Tourist information Office.





The Friends of Lewes Society’s comments in response to the formal consultation on the submitted Lewes Neighbourhood Development Plan, July 2018

The South Downs National Park Authority published the submitted Lewes Neighbourhood Development Plan for public consultation which ran from 11th to 23rd July 2018.

The plan contains planning policies on Housing, including allocations for at least 220 new homes in Lewes, as well as policies on Low Cost Housing, Ecosystems Services, Heritage, the Environment, Sustainability, Design, Working & Shopping, Getting Around and Local Green Spaces. Once adopted, these policies will be used to determine planning applications locally along with the South Downs Local Plan.

The Friends of Lewes Society’s comments in response to the formal consultation on the Submission Lewes Neighbourhood Development Plan, July 2018 [pdf 122kb]

Lewes Submission Neighbourhood Plan June 2018 cover

Further information on the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan is available from the website

Friends of Lewes responses to consultations




New book on the Lewes Town Hall Pictures

Sarah Bayliss: The Lewes Town Hall Pictures: Stories behind our paintings

Three significant paintings from Lewes Town Hall: ‘The Visit of William IV’, ‘The Protestant Reformers’ and ‘The Battle of Lewes’, have been restored by the The Hamilton Kerr Institute, part of the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge.

These paintings  relate specifically to important historic events that helped shape the cultural identity of Lewes.

Lewes Town Council has published a book putting these 3 paintings in the context of more than 30 others which make up the Town Hall’s collection. Researched and written by Sarah Bayliss, this book was designed by Mick Hawksworth, with photography by Tom Reeves of Edward Reeves Photography.

The book is available from Lewes Town Hall for a voluntary contribution.

Bayliss - Lewes Town Hall Pictures




Canon O’Donnell Hall renovation nears completion

Canon O'Donnell Hall renovated July 2018Canon O’Donnell Hall renovation finally nears completion.

After years of delay while the development of this prominent building was considered, then reconsidered, it stood in a sad and empty state. Most long-time Lewesians have a memory of this place and it was a shame to see it derelict for so long.

Friends of Lewes, along with others, consistently opposed demolition and favoured careful renovation. After more than 15 months of work on it, it is good to see 4 housing units added to the town’s stock and this ‘gateway’ building looking good again.




Two new historic plaques for Lewes

Two new historic plaques went up in Lewes last week – one relates to the Maltings in the castle precincts and the other on the deservedly garlanded Depot.

The Town Council started this scheme a good number of years ago and, in cooperation with research by Friends of Lewes, there are now 49 of them.

For the full list of these and others, see our Historical Plaques web page.

Depot and Maltings plaques, Lewes