Lewes History Group: Bulletin 28, (9 November 2012)

1.   Next meeting, Monday 12 November 2012: ‘Yes, the Nevill Estate does have a History!
2.   1930s Aerial View of the Downs (Nevill) Estate
3.   Lewes History Group Inaugural AGM (by Ian McClelland)
Lewes Postcards: South Street, Cliffe (by Ali Harris)
Ballard’s Brewery (by John Davey)
6.   The Southover Gallery (by Margaret Pokorny)
7.   Lewes Bonfire (by Ann Holmes)
8.   Bonfire Postcards from 1910


1.   Monday 12 November, 7.30 p.m. at the King’s Church Building, Brooks Road
Ann Holmes & Sarah Hitchings       ‘Yes, the Nevill Estate does have a History!’    including the Nevill memories of Brian Beck

Although the Nevill is the past or present home to quite a proportion of our members, it was not obvious in advance that one of the most productive of our Lewes Street Stories projects has been the investigation of the history of the Nevill Estate. This is an excellent time to record this, while there are still at least a few people who have lived on the estate since its earliest days. This will be a team presentation, and contributions from the floor will also be welcome.

As usual all will be welcome, and we shall be serving coffee and biscuits prior to the talk.

2.  1930s Aerial View of the Downs (Nevill) Estate


The ‘Downs Estate’ under construction in the mid-1930s. Image supplied by Robert Cheesman.


3.  Lewes History Group Inaugural AGM                           by Ian McClelland

At the October meeting I summarised the work of the ‘Terms of Reference’ working group. There was general agreement that the group should be organised in a more formal way than currently, as this would qualify us for grant support, and that we should move ahead with implementation. To this end the Terms of Reference group has drawn up a preliminary ‘constitution’. A copy of the Version 1.0 is attached for comment. Printed copies will also be made available at the November meeting. Consequently the inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Lewes History Group will be held as part of the December meeting. There are three key issues that will need to be agreed.

(i)           Approve the Terms of Reference.
(ii)         Appoint officers for 2013, for which some additional volunteers will be needed. I have already mentioned to John that I am happy to volunteer myself for the position of Chair.
(iii)          Approve the membership subscription(s) and meeting entry fee.

If you are interested in offering yourself for one of the officer positions please contact John Kay.

We look forward to your continued support and your participation in the AGM.


4.  Lewes Postcards: South Street, Cliffe                                        by Ali Harris


  Image courtesy of Linda Weller

This lovely view of South Street is taken from outside No. 5/6 South Street, looking south. The Fountain Inn is on the left, next to a shop advertising ‘Nectar Tea’ (now the chippy).  Opposite is a butchers advertising ‘home killed meat’. On the side of the cottages at the entrance to Timberyard Lane there is an advertising board showing ‘For Sale / To Let’ but I can’t make out any more details.  Underneath the board is some signwriting for ‘G Newington’, who were Lime Manufacturers in Glynde.


5.  Ballard’s Brewery                                                                            by John Davey


Detail of the image courtesy of Linda Weller shown to us by Ali Harris in Bulletin no.27

The ‘General View of Lewes’ postcard in Bulletin no.27 is an interesting one because of its clarity – even with a 500% enlargement!

I think that the building you’re looking at immediately below the left of the three windmills on the track to Kingston is part of Ballard’s Brewery that stood in Bell Lane, behind the line of properties on the North side of Southover High Street. In my youth, I can recall seeing a building very similar to the one in the postcard – it was by then part of the Scent Factory.


6.   The Southover Gallery                                               by Margaret Pokorny

I have bought a drawing by Duncan Grant that has on the back a cover of a catalogue saying it was from an exhibition held at the Southover Gallery, 7 Southover High Street, in February 1975. The exhibition was held to celebrate the 90th birthday of Duncan Grant, who was a member of the Bloomsbury Group based at Charleston, and the father of one of Vanessa Bell’s children.

Number 7 is on the section of Southover High Street that turns sharply north at the roundabout, heading towards Southover Grange, two or three houses north of the ‘King’s Head’. Does anyone have any memories or this gallery or, better still, know anything about the exhibition? If so please contact me at mpok384[at]verizon.net.


7.  Lewes Bonfire                                                                                     by Ann Holmes

Source: 1 November 1935 Sussex Express

Lewes will have its usual invasion of sightseers for the “Fifth” next Tuesday. It is not possible, of course, to see all the sights, but by strenuous walking at least two of the principal bonfires and fireworks displays can be seen. Walking is the only way to get about the town on that night, for so dense are the crowds that it is quite hopeless to go sightseeing by car. There are some Lewes bonfire boys who have never seen any display but that of their own society. A member of the Commercial-square Society said the other day that he joined the society when he came to the town 30 years ago and as he has always taken part in his society’s celebrations he has never seen anything of the others. He expressed the view that the younger generation have not the same keenness for “Bonfire” as the old hands. Surely the young people are not going to let “Fifth” gradually die out in Lewes?


8.  Bonfire Postcards from 1910

The two postcards below, offered for sale on ebay last summer, both illustrate the 1910 Bonfire celebrations. The first, unused but dated in the caption, shows the Cliffe tableau titled “Popery on the rocks”, with a banner reading ‘NOT WANTED “EVICTED MONKS” ‘


The second postcard was posted from Lewes on 11 November 1910, with a message indicating that the event shown is the Lewes bonfire wheelbarrow race.



John Kay




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