Lewes History Group: Bulletin 55, February 2015

Please note: this Bulletin is being put on the website one month after publication. If you would like to receive the Bulletin by email as soon as it is published, please contact the Membership Secretary about joining the Lewes History Group, and to renew your membership at the start of the calendar year.

  1. Next Meeting, Monday 9 February: John Kay ‘The Tory MPs for Lewes, 1874-1997’
  2. Sir H. Aubrey Fletcher thanking Lewes electors in January 1906
  3. Lewes Postcards on Ebay
  4. Miscellaneous trades in Lewes, 1867 Kelly’s Directory
  5. Lewes Football in 1893
  6. Lewes Museum in 1934
  7. Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 152


Next Meeting 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m.    Monday 9 February
John Kay                           The Tory MPs for Lewes, 1874-1997

Lewes prides itself on being different and, despite being in the prosperous Home Counties, it is over 20 years since it last elected a Conservative M.P. However, for more than a century, from 1874 to 1997, it was represented by seven successive long-serving Tories, sandwiched between the Liberal Lord Pelham and the Liberal Democrat Norman Baker. At first inspection these seven Tories seem a rather typecast group – privately-educated, well-heeled and well-connected country gentlemen with Oxbridge or military backgrounds. Without exception, they appear establishment figures. Peer a little closer and the homogeneity disappears, allowing the individual characters to emerge. Some had real accomplishments to their credit, though none achieved high office. It may not have helped that several were hardly Tories at all in their political beliefs. One was a direct descendant of Earl Grey (of the tea) and another of Nell Gwynne. Yet another was the godfather, and the early political patron, of a Prime Minister whose name you will recognise.

As usual the meeting will be at the King’s Church building, Brooks Road, and all will be welcome. Coffee and biscuits will be served from 7 pm.


  1. Sir H. Aubrey Fletcher thanking Lewes electors in January 1906


Before TV, election results were announced in public, outdoors, in front of County Hall. Note the high proportion of women, ineligible for the vote until 1918, amongst those gathered to hear the outcome.


  1. Lewes Postcards on Ebay


This view taken after the fire at the Bear Hotel shows the twisted footbridge collapsed into the river.


This view of Cliffe High Street, published by Boots Cash Chemists, is postmarked 1907.

Both postcards are from Tony Durrant’s Lewes post card collection, which he is dispersing.

  1. Miscellaneous trades in Lewes, 1867 Kelly’s Directory

The directory shows all the usual trades one would expect in a busy market town, many of them with multiple competing suppliers. There were however, amongst the butchers, bakers, grocers, solicitors, doctors and dentists, some more unusual businesses, a sample of which are below.

  • Adkins Edward, gun maker, archery, cricket & fishing tackle warehouse, 194 High street
  • Barratt James, surveyor of turnpike roads, Castle precincts
  • Beach & Johnson agricultural machine makers, Southover
  • Berry Lydia, (Mrs.), berlin wool & fancy repository, 26 High st [Berlin wool is a style of embroidery]
  • Blagrove Daniel, photographer, 73 High street
  • Browne & Crosskey, warehousemen, clothiers, outfitters, general drapers, cabinet makers, carpet & furniture warehouse & agents to the Royal Exchange Fire & Life lnsurance Company, 214 High street; Eastgate street & Friars’ walk
  • Browne Henry, chaff cutter, Lancaster street
  • Burgess Silas, millwright, High street, St. Anne’s
  • Chatfield Edward, coal, timber, & slate merchant, steam saw mills, ship & barge builder & ship owner, North street; & at South street, Eastbourne
  • Cheale & Sons, agricultural implement makers & agents for the sale of patent & all other agricultural implements, Southover
  • Colwell Thomas & Son, barge & regatta boat builders, South street, Cliffe
  • Corner Geo. tobacconist & tobacco pipe maker, 153 High st
  • Cox James, grocer & shoe maker, 1 Wellington street & 1 Abinger place
  • Cuckow John, herbalist, 14 North street
  • Curtis John & Son, rope & twine manfrs. 22 High st. Cliffe
  • Davey George Middleton, watch maker, silversmith & dentist, 195 High street
  • Drewitt Richard, race horse trainer, High street, St. Anne’s
  • Every John, jun. iron & brass founder, manufacturer of agricultural implements, stoves, grates, ranges, & hot water apparatus for conservatories &c. Phoenix Iron works, near the bottom of North st.; residence, High st
  • Fairhall John, tripe dresser & neats foot oil manufacturer, 2 Lancaster street
  • Fold James, chimney sweep, White hill
  • Francis Anne (Mrs.), haberdasher & servants’ registry office. & depot for Christian Knowledge Society, 175 High st
  • Funnell John, jun. coach maker & wheelwright, Crown lane
  • Gibb Thomas, bill poster & crier for the Hundred of Ringmer, North street, Cliffe
  • Hadlow Thomas, cowkeeper, 11 Abinger place
  • Harris Cornelius John, boot & shoe maker & collector of Queen’s taxes, 2 North street
  • Higham Samuel, barge builder, East street
  • Hillier William, dyer & scourer, 169 High street
  • Hillman Robert, lime burner, coal & corn merchant, importer of artificial manure, ship owner &c. North street, Cliffe
  • Hoadley,Thomas, farrier & truss maker, Station street
  • Hollyman Richard, pawnbroker & clothier, 28 High street
  • Holman Frederick S. paper hanger, undertaker &c. & keeper of the county hall, High street & West street
  • Hurrell William, jobmaster & livery stable keeper, livery & hunting stables, Station street
  • Jeffery Henry, jun. wholesale & retail tea dealer, grocer, provision & pickle merchant, wholesale oil & italian warehouseman & manufacturer of southdown mushroom catsup, 177 High street
  • Kemp Arthur, plumber & glazier & bird & animal preserver, 88 High street
  • Lenny George, coach builder & farmer, High street; farm at Hamsey
  • Lewes Bath Association (limited) (John Smith, sec.; Henry Norman, keeper), office, 17 High street; baths, Friars’ walk
  • Lewes Co-operative Industrial & Provident Society (Limited) (Henry Pumphrey, manager), 3 Norfolk street
  • Lewes & East Sussex Permanent Benefit Building Society, (John Smith, sec.), 17 High street
  • Lintott Samuel, photographer, 4 Mount Pleasant
  • Lloyd James, gun maker, 2 Station street
  • Luckin Ann (Mrs.), stay & corset maker, 15 Friars’ Walk
  • Lutman John, watch & clock maker, 164 High street
  • Martin Joseph, town carter & general dealer, 9 Waterloo pl.
  • Medhurst Samuel & Son, millwrights, engineers, appraisers &c. High street, St. Anne’s
  • Miles Esther (Miss), wardrobe dealer, West street
  • Miles Joseph, supervisor of inland revenue, 8 East street
  • Miller Edward, landscape photographer, 26 Friars’ walk
  • Morris Benjamin, maltster & accountant, High st. Southover
  • Newton John, confectioner & ginger beer maker, 156 High st
  • Nye William, carver & gilder, High street, St. Anne’s
  • Parsons John Latter & Charles, statuaries, stone & marble masons & slate merchants, Eastgate wharf, Eastgate street; & at Terminus road, Eastbourne
  • Pickett Henry, musical instrument maker, 52 High st. Cliffe
  • Piper Richard, french polisher, 15 East street
  • Reed John, cowkeeper, 18 New street
  • Reeves Edward, photographer, 159 High street
  • Robinson Samuel, confectioner & barge owners, 32 South street, Cliffe
  • Savage Solomon, stationer & rag dealer, Fisher street
  • Sheppard Charles, watch maker & jeweller, 68 High street
  • Shoosmith Joseph, cattle salesman, St. Martin’s la. High st
  • Skinner Edward, clock & watchmaker, 35 High street, Cliffe
  • Solomon Samuel, watch maker & silversmith, 1 High st. Cliffe [predecessor of W.E.Clark’s]
  • Stanford Charles, cowkeeper, Eastport lane, Southover
  • Starnes Samuel, pianoforte tuner, 14 & 15 Lancaster street
  • Stephens George, coach painter, Market lane
  • Tanner Stephen, watch & clock maker, High street, Cliffe
  • Tidman John, chimney sweeper, White hill
  • Verrall John Frederick, clerk of the race course, 209 High st
  • Watson Edmund, surveyor of taxes, High street, Southover
  • Wilmshurst, John & Son, fruit & egg merchants, 5 High street, Cliffe
  • Wood Charles, cowkeeper & town crier, Dolphin lane


5.   Lewes Football in 1893

The local newspaper reported the results of a number of local football matches. The Lewes Ramblers had played a hard fought nil-nil draw against the Phoenix Ironworks, though the referee’s decisions had given rise to some unpleasantness. However, the Southover Stars had beaten the Cliffe Stragglers 9-0. Both matches had been played on the Race Hill on the previous Saturday. In another match at Floods Bottom J. Smith’s XI had beaten Commercial Square 3-0. All the teams played in the traditional 2-3-5 formation.

Source: 3 March 1893 Sussex Express, courtesy of Hilary Smith


  1. Lewes Museum in 1934

The 1934 local directory called ‘Pike’s Blue Book’ notes that Lewes then had a museum, under the auspices of the Lewes Scientific and Literary Society. It was located in the Old Council Chamber, in the Market Tower, and had a collection of Sussex birds, comprising over 600 species, and other natural history exhibits. It was open to the public, free of charge, on Mondays and Fridays from 11 am to 1 pm and 2.30 pm to 4 pm, and also during the autumn and winter on Monday evenings from 6.15 to 7.45 pm. The Hon. Sec. was Mr E.J. Bedford.


  1. Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 152

The 2014 volume of Sussex Archaeological Society’s SAC has just been circulated to members, and includes two articles directly relevant to Lewes history.

To mark the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes there is a major new article by David Carpenter and Christopher Whittick. It is published as vol.152, pp.39-65. This updates David Carpenter’s 1987 interpretation to include the most recent research and discoveries, about both the battle itself and the role it played in the 13th century political settlement.

The second Lewes article is by Frances Stenlake, the speaker at our February 2013 meeting, and is titled: ‘The lady fired splendidly: Lewes and the Women’s Suffrage campaign’. It is published as vol.152, pp.139-152. Frances notes that Lewes was not in the forefront of either the Suffragist or Suffragette movements, though some activists of both genders were imprisoned in Lewes Prison and suffragettes appeared not infrequently as Bonfire effigies.

Kate Fowler-Tutt, headmistress and suffragist, photographed in 1913 by Edward Reeves
(photograph removed from online Bulletin)


John Kay

Contact details for Friends of the Lewes History Group promoting local historical events

Sussex Archaeological Society
Lewes Priory Trust

Lewes Archaeological Group and go to ‘Lectures’
Friends of Lewes
Viva Lewes

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