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




First World War workshop, Imperial War Museum, London, 27 September 2018

Friends of Lewes is affiliated to the national body for Civic Societies, Civic Voice.

Through them, members of the Friends of Lewes are invited to a free workshop on September 27th at Imperial War Museum, London to hear from some of the inspiring volunteers about the ways they are commemorating the First World War.

They will also use the event to show how the First World War centenary is engaging new audiences and consider how we ensure people stay involved in the historic environment sector once the commemorations are finished.

If you have yet to engage in the commemoration, please do attend these events as it will be your chance to see how others, in the final year of the centenary are remembering the former members of their community.

Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

If you have any queries about the event and the First World War Memorials Programme, please do not hesitate to contact  or by ringing 0121 792 8177.




Friends of Lewes co-operating to tackle litter

Litter-Free Lewes is a group of active volunteers which formed on Facebook only a few months ago, but it has won the support of Lewes District Council and sponsorship from the town’s civic society, the Friends of Lewes, in recognition of the impact it has had.

Litter-Free Lewes’s hi-vis jackets have been printed following a donation of £100 from Friends of Lewes.

Litter Free Lewes jackets donated by Friends of LewesRegular litter-picks, equipped by the council, have targeted specific parts of town, revisiting them as necessary. As many as 20 people at a time have joined in clearing litter, and some pieces found can be identified as many years old. Recently there have been sessions on Landport, Brooks Road, Pells and in the tree-belt by the A27 by-pass. Hundreds of bags of litter and fly-tipping have been cleared or recycled.

Friends of Lewes also provided £15 in book tokens to pupils of St Pancras Primary School, who designed posters for Litter Free Lewes and which will provide books about the environment.



If you know of an area in the town that needs the group’s attention, you can find them on Facebook or by e-mailing





Litter Free Lewes childrens’ posters

The children of St Pancras Catholic Primary School designed some posters for Litter Free Lewes: to publicise the “Keeping Lewes Special” message through disposing of litter thoughtfully.

Litter Free Lewes poster by Emily G. 2018Friends of Lewes rewarded the pupils with some book tokens, which they are going to use to buy some books which will help them to learn more about caring for our environment.

All of the children’s posters can be seen on the Litter Free Lewes Facebook page or on the Friends of Lewes Flickr page.




Poster by Emily G.





Lewes Heritage Open Days, 6-9 September 2018

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 opens on 16 July 2018. Please book by 3 September 2018 for all tours except for: Lewes Prison (book by 1.9.18 – NB already fully booked, 30.7.18), the Police Headquarters (by 30.8.18), Lewes Town Hall (by 4.9.18), and Barbican House Library (by 5.9.18) – please check the booking page for details.

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

An opportunity not to be missed!

HOD 2018 Lewes

Southover Grange, Heritage Walks, Police Headquarters

Lewes Heritage Open Days is organised by the Friends of Lewes