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.

Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 6 June 2019

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 6 June 2019:

Weeks ending 7, 13, 20 & 27 May & 3 June 2019

SDNP/19/02185/HOUS: New first floor extension to existing single-storey house including timber cladding with black window frames, photovoltaic panels mounted at new roof level, new ground floor entrance lobbies and replacement windows, with timber spandrel panels to match new first floor extension, new sedum-planted roof coverings to existing flat roofs, and general improvements to hard landscaping to front of house.  4 Park Road.
A range of views were expressed on the application with no one strongly objecting to or supporting the proposals. Following a lengthy discussion it was felt that the new owner is entitled to alter the house to match current lifestyles provided that this is done with sensitivity and respects the qualities of the existing house. The design of the new cantilevered box was felt to be in keeping and the scale, materials and flat roof were in the same idiom as the original John Schwerdt design. There was concern that the planners had influenced the design with the introduction of ‘playful’ elements such as brise soleil etc. There was a strong view that the detailing will determine whether the design is successful. Given the heritage important of the building it was agreed that the following neutral representations should be submitted that do not object to the proposals but articulate the concerns raised about details of the design:

The Schwerdt house in Park Road is an important heritage building in Lewes which has survived virtually unaltered since the 1960’s. It is a high quality design that is an excellent example of the optimism of the period; the self-effacing, rational elevations and simple materials look almost Spartan by current standards. The Society recognises that the new owners have the right to alter the house to meet current lifestyles. It does not object in principle provided it is done with sensitivity, respects the qualities of the existing house and does not have a significant adverse impact on neighbours. The Society was concerned to read in the Design and Access statement that pre-application advice encouraged adding “an element of playfulness to the ‘austere’ design of the extension” It considers the scale, materials and flat roof of the first floor proposed should be in the same idiom as the Schwerdt design and respect the heritage of the original building, both internally and externally. The success of the design is dependent on the detailing of the building which the Society has been unable to assess from the drawings submitted with the application. It would welcome more details being provided.

Week ending 7 May 2019

SDNP/19/02039/FUL: Proposed extension of existing workshop, and subsequent change of use to create 1 x two bedroom dwelling. 1 Morris Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the mix of modern and traditional design of this development which does not fit in with the surrounding area. An alternative design that is more sympathetic to adjacent buildings in the Conservation Area is required.

Week ending 13 May 2019

SDNP/19/02205/HOUS: Proposed loft conversion with formation of rear dormer and roof extension. 32 The Meadows.
Friends of Lewes object to the proposed box dormer which is too large and does not conform to the recommendations set out in the Friends of Lewes ‘Planning Advice for Dormer Windows’. The design, which includes altering the hipped roof to a gable end, will make the pair of houses unsymmetrical and visually unbalanced.

Week ending 20 May 2019

SDNP/19/02239/HOUS: Proposed erection of a two storey side extension. 51 Hawkenbury Way.
Friends of Lewes object to the felling of the mature tree that is covered by a TPO as it sets a precedent for felling mature trees in favour of development. It would take a considerable time for any replacement tree to have the value of the existing mature tree, e.g., in terms of carbon sequestration etc. The i-Tree Eco Survey, Lewes has identified the need to almost double tree canopy cover in the town from 11.5% to at least 20%. The development proposed is contrary to the need to improve the situation.

Week ending 27 May 2019

SDNP/19/02464/FUL: Proposed replacement railings and gate to rear entrance, proposed planting boxes to front elevation and proposed lighting to front elevation. 65 High Street.
Friends of Lewes have supported and commended much of the restoration of the former Post Office. However it objects to the proposed railings to the rear elevations which it considers are too big and elaborate. Simpler railings are required that are more in keeping with the area. The Society also objects to the uplighters to the first floor windows which are contrary to the Dark Skies Policy of the National Park. Finally, the planters proposed at ground level are considered inappropriate in this location.

Week ending 3 June 2019

SDNP/19/02253/FUL: Replacement of two second floor sash windows (West elevation) including associated making good/decorations. Flat 3, 10 Waterloo Place.
Friends of Lewes support the renovation of windows at this property. However, it comments that the proportions of the replacement windows proposed are not Georgian and the renovations present an opportunity to get the design of the windows right, historically.


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

SDNP/19/01582/FUL  4 Old House Courtyard, Southover High Street.   Single storey rear extension.
SDNP/19/02057/FUL 9 Nevill Crescent.   Erect three bedroom house.
SDNP/19/02117/HOUS 75 Valence Road.   Single storey rear extension.
SDNP/19/02419/HOUS 70 Houndean Rise.   Double storey rear extension, rooflights, rear and side dormers.
SDNP/19/02080/FUL Undercliffe House, Malling Street.   Vehicular crossover to formalise existing access.
SDNP/19/02406/FUL & 02407/LIS 22 Sun Street.   Refurbishment.
SDNP/19/02476/HOUS 51 New Road.   Rooflight and rear dormer.
SDNP/19/02480/LIS Pelham House, St Andrew’s Lane.   Alter window opening to form double doors.
SDNP/19/02557/FUL 35 Friars Walk.   Air source heat pump in service yard.
SDNP/19/02616/FUL & 02617/LIS 16 Southover High Street.   Repainting exterior.
SDNP/19/02033/FUL The Moorings, South Street.   Retain replacement of scaffolding poles, gates, scrap iron and rocks with sandbags.
SDNP/19/02298/ADV Southdowns Business Park, Unit 5, Brooks Road.   4 non-illuminated fascia signs.
SDNP/19/02316/LIS 73 High Street.   Internal alterations.
SDNP/19/02266/HOUS 51 Leicester Road.   Replace outbuilding.
SDNP/19/01967/HOUS 55 Priory Street. Replacement front door.
SDNP/19/02210/HOUS 1 Juggs Close. Single storey rear/side extension.



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 opens on 8 July 2019. Please book by 9 September 2019 for all venues except for: Lewes Prison (book by 6.9.19), 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


Lewes History Group talk: The Rise of Thomas Paine – Monday 8 July 2019, 7:00 for 7:30pm

Paul Myles: The Rise of Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, the political activist and a founding fathers of the United States, lived in Lewes from 1768-1774, during which time he wrote ‘The Case of the Officers of Excise’, a pamphlet condemning corruption within the customs and excise service, and developed some of the ideas that ultimately led to American independence.

Thomas Paine artist unknownIn this talk Paul Myles, a native of Lewes, will discuss the research for his new book on Paine, exploring the influence of radical newspaper The Sussex Weekly Advertiser and the revolutionary spirit of Lewes, as well as the wider political situation that inspired Paine to leave England for America.

Copies of ‘The Rise of Thomas Paine and the Case of the Officers of Excise’ by Paul Myles will be for sale on the day.

Image of Thomas Paine (artist unknown) by courtesy of the Sussex Archaeological Society


Doors open at 7:00pm and all are welcome 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.


Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 2 May 2019

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 2 May 2019:

Week ending 16 April

SDNP/19/01760/LIS: Proposed replacement rear single and two storey extension. Internal modifications and restoration, external works. 32 Friars Walk (Friends Meeting House).
Friends of Lewes consider the rationale behind the proposed changes has been clearly explained and the scheme is presented with exemplary clarity, greatly assisted by the perspective views. The proposed extension, although large, remains subsidiary to the existing Meeting House and is clearly distinguished from it by the choice of different materials and unmistakably modern detailing. The new entrance façade created on the northern side of the building, facing onto the library, is largely successful and the Society is generally supportive of the proposals. It does however have reservations about the form of the proposed curved roof over the extension, which it considers forms a most uncomfortable knife-edge junction with the existing pitched roof. The Society suggests that a simpler form, still in a modern idiom, could resolve this junction in a more convincing manner. It also has reservations about the proposed landscaping shown in the perspectives. Whilst appreciating that these are probably only illustrative, it feels that as drawn they look fussy and ill considered.


Week ending 23 April

SDNP/19/01867/HOUS: Construction of a separate timber frame garden studio [annexe] within rear garden of existing dwelling. 27 Newton Road.
Friends of Lewes have no objection in principle to this development. However, it objects to the design as it finds the proposed pop up tower intrusive on the open space adjacent to the boundary of the development.


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

SDNP/19/01432/HOUS 4 The Meadows.   Wooden fence.
SDNP/19/01574/LIS 19 Eastport Lane.   Re-roof and install new glazing and doors to extension, rooflight and internal alterations.
SDNP/19/01596/LIS Flat 3, 10 Waterloo Place.   Replace windows.
SDNP/19/01579/HOUS 3 St Andrew’s Place, Southover Road.   Rooflights, rear dormer, infill extension, insulation and redecorate front.
SDNP/19/01721/CND Styles Field development. Remove condition 17 of application SDNP/14/01199FUL (CO2 % standard for the development following changes to code).
SDNP/19/01766/LIS Meadow Barn, Landport Farm Road.   Convert barn to garage/workshop with annexe.
SDNP/19/01728/HOUS 3 Gundreda Road.   Demolish conservatory and erect rear extension and terrace.
SDNP/19/01735/HOUS 20 The Course.   Single storey side and rear infill extension.
SdDNP/19/01797/LIS & 01803/LDP 4 Sun Street.   Replacing conservatory with extension and internal alterations.
SDNP/19/01828/LIS 182 High Street.   Replace windows.
SDNP/19/01828/LIS 182 High Street.   Internal alterations to Courtroom.
SDNP/19/01922/APNB Housedean Farm, Brighton Road.   Steel portal framed livestock building.
SDNP/19/00126/HOUS 1 Hawkenbury Way.   Front porch and internal alterations.
SDNP/19/00577/HOUS 15 Fitzjohns Road.   Single storey rear and side extension, loft conversion and rooflights.
SDNP/19/01427/HOUS Ousedale House, Offham Road.   Retain mobile home.
SDNP/19/01481/PA3A Prezzo, 173 High Street.   Change of use to financial services.
SDNP/19/01551/HOUS 31 De Montfort Road.   Loft conversion with front rooflights.
SDNP/19/01889/HOUS & 01890/LIS Green Passage House, 49C Cliffe High Street.   Partial cladding with natural slate tiles.
SDNP/19/01950/FUL St Anne’s Church, Western Road.   Handrails to steps to porch.
SDNP/19/01965/HOUS & 01966/LIS 30 Lansdown Place.   Internal alterations, replace door and window.
SDNP/19/02015/FUL Caburn House, Brooks Road.   Alteration to car park entry point and new delivery door in lieu of window.
SDNP/19/02016/HOUS 32 Nevill Road.   Two storey and single storey rear extension.
SDNP/19/02041/FUL Lewes YMCA, Westgate Street.   Replace windows and dooors and fill in ground floor rear windows.
SDNP/19/01742/HOUS 8 St John’s Hill.   Replace rear extension.
SDNP/19/01759/FUL 32 Friars Walk.   Replace extension, internal and external works.