Reeves Lightbox Exhibition – Lewes High Street: Retail Retold, 5-29 September 2019

An exhibition of 80 pictures displayed as lightboxes along the length of Lewes High Street and surrounding streets.

The images come from the archive of Edward Reeves Photography, the world’s oldest surviving photographic studio, and show pictures of the town and people of Lewes taken in the High Street from 1860 – 1960.

The Lightbox Project started in 2014, and since then has mounted annual exhibitions placed in windows up and down the streets of Lewes.

Retail Retold focuses on the importance of the High Street, which is central to the social and economic life of our community. Special emphasis is given to the more sustainable way in which previous generations traded and shopped,  and highlights ever changing lifestyles.

The original glass plates were digitally scanned and enlarged to reveal previously unnoticed details.

Map at Reeves Archive website, click map to enlarge


Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 1 August 2019

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 1 August 2019: 

SDNP/19/03583/PRE: PRE-APPLICATION ADVICE: Erection of Free Standing Mcdonald’s restaurant with drive thru lane, car parking and associated works. Land adjacent to Davey’s Road Brooks Road.
SDNPA do not accept representations on pre-applications for advice. The Committee felt that as the area immediately adjacent to the proposed site is changing from industrial to residential use this is an inappropriate location for a two storey restaurant. Furthermore there is already severe traffic congestion at times associated with Tesco and Aldi and the additional traffic generated by the development would make the situation unacceptable.

SDNP/19/02857/FUL: Proposed demolition of existing garage and erection of 2.5 storey, split-level dwelling house. 42 St Annes Crescent.
Friends of Lewes have reservations about the compact design of the development which is unsympathetic to the neighbouring buildings and risks over-development. The Society also has concerns over the impact of the construction on the mature trees adjacent to the development and the damage that will result to established root systems.

SDNP/19/03340/HOUS: Erection of outbuilding to replace existing shepherds hut. Old Malling Farm, The Old Parlour Old Malling Way.
Friends of Lewes object to the felt roof covering proposed and considers traditional roofing materials should be used.

SDNP/19/02950/ADV: Proposed fascia and hanging signage. 50 High Street.
Friends of Lewes object to the large size of the hanging sign and consider it should be reduced in size.

SDNP/19/03225/FUL: Proposed car park with new height barrier and gate with associated hard landscaping. Western End of Priory School Playing Fields Mountfield Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the use of non-permeable surfaces in this development. All surfaces should be permeable and self-draining.

SDNP/19/03247/FUL: Demolition of Church Hall and garage and the erection of a pair of semi-detached 3 bedroomed houses. St Johns Church Hall Talbot Terrace.
Friends of Lewes have no objection in principle to the redevelopment of this site. However the Society objects to the design which is out of context with adjacent buildings and is an inappropriate design solution. It considers the car parking provision should be removed as it pushes the building back from the existing building line and prevents the roof ridges running parallel to the street.

SDNP/19/03314/FUL: Replacement of existing Fascia, projecting and ATM signage, works to include the preparation and decoration of existing shopfront and replacement of existing ATM and surround. 59 High Street.
Friends of Lewes have no objection to the signage proposed provided it is not internally illuminated.


The Committee examined the following applications and had no observations to make:

SDNP/19/03127/LIS 169 High Street.   Brick work repairs.
SDNP/19/03128//HOUS 126 Western Road.   Replace and modify front door
SDNP/19/,03190/LIS 114 High Street.   Toilet and sink, connect pipe, shower, secondary window glazing and rooflight.
SDNP/19/03192/HOUS & 03193/LIS Remedial works to repair water damage.
SDNP/19/03303/HOUS 1 The Villas, Grange Road.   Gates, window and patio doors, replace raised bed.
SDNP/19/03379/HOUS 11 Cranmer Close.   Single storey front extension and garage conversion.
SDNP/19/03497/DEM 22 King Henry’s Road.   Remove conservatory.

Planning Application Approved

Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 4 July 2019

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 4 July 2019:

SDNP/19/03045/ADJAUT: Redevelopment of ‘former auction rooms’ into ten residential units comprising two no. two-bed split-level apartments, four no. three-bedroom houses and four no. four-bedroom houses. Garden Street Auction Rooms Garden Street.
The Friends of Lewes Society has reviewed the revised scheme and maintains its objection to this development. It shows no material changes from the original scheme other than the block of flats adjacent to the station, which have been reduced from four floors to three. The Society considers the proposal to be an inappropriate design solution for this important site which remains unacceptable. The visual images clearly illustrate the use of very hard detailing for a housing scheme with raised walls separating the individual units and the use of cobbles throughout, with minimal landscaping. This approach is more suitable for an office or commercial development rather than a residential scheme.

One of the delights of Lewes is the glimpses one gets of the South Downs between and above developments. One such place is by the Southover Grange Gardens gate at the top of Garden Street where the view of the chalk face rising above the Cliffe is good. The development will block this important view and the wonderful golden glow of the chalk, seen at sunset, will be lost. Strategic Policy SD6: Safeguarding Views in the emerging SDNPA Local Plan is intended to conserve and enhance the ‘Breathtaking views’ referred to in Special Quality 1 of the National Park and the ‘Scenic quality’ which forms the second factor of Natural England’s evaluation framework for natural beauty. A requirement for development ‘not to harm the visual integrity, identity and scenic quality of the National Park’ is included in the policy. The Society strongly believes that the proposed development is in breach of this policy.

On matters of detail, the Society’s concerns have been ignored regarding the lack of consideration of the relationship of the development within the immediate townscape context and also the need to relate to the Garden Street frontage with its significant change of levels. The extensive use of timber shingles is not suited to curved buildings and would be both difficult to install and to maintain between units that are very close together.

The elevations showing the likely impact of the proposals on the overall setting remain inadequate, in particular the “Elevation from Southover Road – North”.

In summary, the Society considers the development proposed to be contrary to Policies ST3 (Design, Form and Setting of Development), H5 (Development within or affecting Conservation Areas of the Lewes District Local Plan and Strategic Policy SD6 (Safeguarding Views) of the emerging SDNPA Local Plan.

SDNP/19/02293/HOUS: Replacement of existing timber frame windows with UPVC casement windows. 73 Western Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the use of uPVC windows in the Conservation Area. Traditional timber windows should be used.

SDNP/19/02691/HOUS: Proposed single storey side and rear extension and gable roof extension, 2no roof lights to the front and dormer to the rear. 9 Fitzjohns Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the scale of the proposed dormer which is too large and does not conform to the recommendations set out in the Friends of Lewes ‘Planning Advice for Dormer Windows’.

SDNP/19/03073/ADV: Proposed fascia sign to front elevation. 48 Malling Street.
Friends of Lewes object to the size of the lettering proposed, which is too large; smaller lettering would be more appropriate.

SDNP/19/02989/HOUS: New dormers to front and rear roofslopes, roof extension at rear, various external changes at rear of property. 8 Grange Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the design of the rear dormer which is too wide and too high. Furthermore, the roof extension that extends beyond the dormer is of a strange design, too fussy and will look out of character. The existing hipped roof to the rear, which is shared with the neighbouring property, will be interrupted and the remaining roof structure will appear out of place.


The Committee also examined the following applications and had no observations to make:

SDNP/19/01744/HOUS 22 The Gallops. Single storey extension.
SDNP/19/02752/FUL Trinity St John Sub Castro Parish Church, Lancaster Street. Interpretation panels.
SDNP/19/02775/HOUS 7 Pelham Terrace. Rear dormer, demolish shed, build single storey rear extension, replace windows and doors, external and internal alterations.
SDNP/19/02798/HOUS & 20799/LIS Malling Deanery, West Wing, Church Lane, South Malling.   Entrance gates.
SDNP/19/03044/ADV 20-21 High Street (formerly Steamer Trading).   Signs.
SDNP/19/03002/HOUS 18 Highdown Road.   Two storey side extension.
SDNP/19/02803/FUL Southover Pumping Station, Kinston Road.   Chlorine dosing and storage kiosk.
SDNP/19/02813/FUL & 02860/LIS 191 High Street.   Remove chimney stack and chimney breast.
SDNP/19/03016/HOUS & 03017/LIS 65 Southover High Street.   Two storey rear extension.
SDNP/19/03062/FUL 54 St Anne’s Crescent.   New dwelling.
SDNP/19/03134/LDE 22 Talbot Terrace.   Retain single storey rear extension.
SDNP/19/02862/LIS 140 High Street.   New WCs.

Planning Application Approved

Lewes Heritage Open Days, 12-15 September 2019

Heritage Open Days celebrates England’s architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public, or charge for admission.

Eighteen historic Lewes buildings and tours will be accessible over this long weekend. Some are not normally open to the public, and for others, their usual entry charge has been waived for this event.

There are a range of guided tours, and for some, advance booking is essential.

Booking opened on 8 July 2019. Please book by 9 September 2019 for all venues except for: Lewes Prison (book by 6.9.19 Sold out), Lewes Town Hall (by 11.9.19), and Barbican House Library (by 12.9.19) – please check the booking page for details.

Brochure, full details, and how to book your place for tours 

An opportunity not to be missed!


The Workshop (Jonathan Swan), The Croft, Edward Reeves

Lewes Heritage Open Days is organised by the Friends of Lewes


Photos of Lewes High Street from 1860 to 1960 – Friends of Lewes talk, Thursday 12 September 2019, 7.45pm

Tom Reeves: Retail Retold – Life on Lewes High Street

Tom Reeves shows images of the town and people of Lewes taken in the High Street from 1860 to 1960.

The images are from the Edward Reeves Archive, a collection of historic images from the world’s oldest surviving photography studio.

This talk is linked to the new lightbox exhibition which runs from the 5th to the 29th September 2019, featuring 80 lightboxes in windows up and down Lewes High Street.

The exhibition will focus on the importance which High Streets – now very much under threat – have in the life of a community.

Special emphasis will be given to the much more sustainable way in which generations before us did their shopping.

Lewes High Street, Tom Reeves talk
Lewes High Street and clock, c. 1936 (detail)
Image courtesy of Edward Reeves Photography

Venue: 7:45pm at Trinity Church Southover, Southover High Street, Lewes BN7 1JH

Entry: Open to all – admission free to Friends of Lewes members, £3 for non-members

Tea & coffee in the interval

See the Diary page for a list of  forthcoming events organised by the Friends of Lewes.



Rowland Halls – A Sussex Architect: Exhibition and Talk, September 2019

Rowland Hawke Halls (July 1879 – March 1919) was a Lewes architect working in the Arts and Crafts tradition in the decade before the First World War. To mark the centenary of his death, two events are planned:

Exhibition of drawings and photographs – Tuesday 10 to Monday 16 September 2019, 9:30am to 4:00pm

On display will be Halls’ designs for local buildings, and previously unseen material from the family archive.

Venue: Lewes Town Hall, High Street, BN7 2QS

Entry: Free


A talk on Rowland Halls: A Sussex Architect – Wednesday 18 September 2019, 5.30-6.30pm

Event at The Keep, Falmer

Architect Rowland Halls died in a motorbike accident in March 1919, aged 39. He had spent most of his life in Sussex, where he designed many Arts and Crafts style houses, as well as public buildings such as the Council offices in Fisher Street, Lewes.

Halls celebrated traditional crafts; many of his buildings used local materials and were decorated with scenes from Sussex life and nature.

This talk, by his grandson David Scott Cowan, will explore Halls’ life and work, referencing his letters home from France and Belgium in WWI, as well as architectural plans, watercolours and other material from the East Sussex Records Office at The Keep and family archives.

Entry: £5, which includes the parking fee

Booking in advance is essential via The Keep’s website or call 01273 482349

Venue: The Keep, Woollards Way, Brighton,  BN1 9BP

Rowland Halls exhibition and talk, September 2019
Click image to enlarge



Lewes History Group talk: Stories Behind the Lewes Town Hall Paintings – Monday 9 September 2019, 7:00 for 7:30pm

Sarah Bayliss and Wenda Bradley

Pictures have hung in Lewes Town Hall for more than 120 years and an analysis of the collection helps tell the history of our town. Three of the most important oil paintings have recently been restored with Heritage Lottery funding and their subjects stand out as depicting key moments and influences on local as well as national culture, from The Battle of Lewes to the Protestant Reformers to The Visit of William IV and Queen Adelaide. Other paintings in the Town Hall collection contribute to a rich visual heritage, ranging from images of famous men and two women, shipbuilding, orientalism, cricket, Bloomsbury and Bonfire.

A book has been written about the collection by journalist Sarah Bayliss, with educational materials prepared by Wenda Bradley of Artemis Arts. Their September 2019 talk for Lewes History Group will reveal colourful stories about the paintings’ subject matter, the artists and the generous benefactors who have donated such a variety of art to the people of Lewes.

The Visit of King William IV and Queen Adelaide to Lewes, 22 October 1830, by Archibald Archer - detail

King William IV ascending the steps of The Friars and being welcomed by Lewes’s MPs and High Constables, 22 October 1830. (Detail from painting by Archibald Archer)

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.