Lewes History Group: Bulletin 69, April 2016

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: 11 April 2016, Stewart Angell, ‘The Secret Sussex Resistance’
  2. L.H.G. Bulletin Index
  3. The Mayors of the Borough of Lewes, 1881-1974 (compiled by Graham Mayhew)
  4. Dragoons on the Move
  5. Sale of the Dripping Pan
  6. A Victorian banknote from the Lewes Old Bank
  7. The Racecourse in 1871 (by Henry Martin)
  8. A Lewes Desert Rat
  9. Reel Lewes (by Ruth Thomson)


  1. Next Meeting 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m.                       Monday 11 April

Stewart Angell           The Secret Sussex Resistance

Relatively few people have heard of the Home Guard ‘Auxiliary Units’ of World War II. Formed in 1940 they were to be the British Resistance, countering a German invasion by delivering guerrilla warfare tactics throughout their localized areas. Stewart started researching the Sussex Auxiliary Units in 1992. Four years later, following extensive interviews with original patrol members and many hours in the field looking for the remains of their secret hideouts, his findings were published as ‘The Secret Sussex Resistance’ The presentation will highlight his research findings and how strategically placed Lewes would have been had a German invasion taken place.

Stewart is a founder member of the Sussex Military History Society, a member of the Council for British Archaeology South-East and a long-time member the underground exploration group Subterranea Britannica.


Image © Stewart Angell

As usual the meeting will be at the King’s Church building, Brooks Road, and all will be welcome. We shall be serving coffee and biscuits prior to the meeting.


  1. L.H.G. Bulletin Index

For my own purposes I have put together a series of working indexes for the Bulletin, the main ones being Lewes people and places mentioned and the topics covered. These are ‘living documents’, continually being updated, and typically a little behind, so the most recent Bulletins may not be included. My working format does not readily lend itself to online publication, but if you would like to know whether the Bulletins make any reference to a person, place or topic near to your heart, please do email me at the address at the end of the Bulletin. While the indexes are not perfect (especially the topics index), this is probably a lot quicker and easier than ploughing through the nearly 70 issues of the Bulletin now online.


  1. The Mayors of the Borough of Lewes, 1881-1974 (compiled by Graham Mayhew)

Source: ESRO P410/2, which includes a photograph of each mayor.

The following list encompasses the 40 men and 2 women who served as Mayor of Lewes during the period of the Borough of Lewes. The dates below are the years of election – the mayoral year started in the Spring.

Most mayors served for 1-3 years. The longest tenure was that of Charles Doland Crisp, who served for 11 years in three periods, while George Holman served 7 years in two periods. The shorest tenure was that of Kenneth Charles Day, who served for only 2 months in 1968. The first woman was Anne Dumbrell, chosen in 1963. Many of the names will be familiar.

1881 Wynne Edwin Baxter 1929-1930 Thomas John Frampton Carter
1882 Walter Francis Crosskey 1931-1932 Albert Turner
1883 Caleb Rickman Kemp 1933-1934 John Charles Kenward
1884 Joseph Thorne 1935-1937 Ernest Trayton Hall
1885-1887 Joseph Farncombe 1938-1944 Charles Doland Crisp
1888-1889 Thomas Reader White 1945-1946 William Ewart Witcher
1890-1891 John Buckman 1947-1948 Dick Whittington
1892-1893 Edward Hillman 1949 Charles Doland Crisp
1894-1895 George John Wightman 1950-1952 Hereward Eric Parrish
1896 Frederick Flint 1953-1954 James Bennett
1897 William Gates 1955-1958 George Edward Hayward
1898-1900 George Holman 1959 Patrick C J Nicholl
1901 William Gates 1960-1961 Reginald Herbert Yarrow
1902 George John Wightman 1962 Hubert Cassimer Woolmore
1903-1904 John Henry Every 1963 Anne Dumbrell
1905-1906 John Miles 1964-1965 Arthur Charles Barber
1907-1910 George Holman 1966-1967 Herbert A Baker
1911-1912 Hugh Stott 1968 (Apr-May) Kenneth Charles Day
1913-1915 Thomas George Roberts 1968 Arthur Charles Barber
1916-1919 Arthur Ebenezer Rugg 1969-1970 Reginald Herbert Yarrow
1920-1921 Charles Patrick 1970 William James Greene
1922 William Canadine 1971 John E Tilbury
1923-1925 Charles Doland Crisp 1972 Beatrice Temple
1926-1927 Arthur Norman Innes 1973 Arthur Frank Hayward
1928 John James Lister    


  1. Dragoons on the Move

On Wednesday and Thursday last Lord Albemarle’s Regiment of Dragoons marched from this town to Basingstoke, etc, Hampshire; and yesterday a Troop of General Hawley’s came out of Kent to relieve them.”

Mounted troops of Dragoons were regularly rotated around army bases at home and abroad. In 18th century Sussex they were a key resource used to combat smuggling.

Source: 10 May 1756 Sussex Advertiser


  1. Sale of the Dripping Pan

After the 1893 death of Lewes banker George Molineux, a partner in the Old Bank for more than 40 years, his properties in Lewes, Isfield, Ringmer & Barcombe Mills were put up for sale by auction. As befits a man whose career had included railway promotion, the advertisement featured their proximity to the railway stations at Lewes, Barcombe Mills and Isfield.

Amongst his properties was “The Far-Famed ‘Dripping Pan’ field, one of the institutions of the town of Lewes, used by the Priory Cricket Club for over half a century, with the ‘Mount Field’ and residence in the occupation of Mr Geo. Lenny, together 10 acres 0 roods and 12 perches, within 200 yards of Lewes Railway Station.”

Also sold in Lewes were another 10½ acres of ‘accommodation brookland’ nearby, adjacent to the Convent Garden and Priory Ruins, and a delightful villa residence known as ‘Woodbine Villa’ in Spences Field, Southmalling, in the occupation of Mr C.J. Berry. George Molineux had purchased the Dripping Pan, Mount Field and Convent Field in 1878.


  1. A Victorian banknote from the Lewes Old Bank


This £5 banknote was  issued in September 1868 by the Lewes Old Bank whose partners were then Thomas Whitfeld, George Molineux and George Whitfeld. It carries the signature of George Molineux and is valued at £400-£500. An 1882 £5 banknote issued by the same bank, with the partners George Molineux, George Whitfeld, Philip H. Molineux and Francis Barry Whitfeld was sold by Bonhams for £1,292. If you have one lurking in a drawer look after it!


  1. The Racecourse in 1871

 “Upon what is called Spittal Hill, about a mile west of the town, Lewes has a capital Race Course. A commodious stand was built by subscription in 1772, and recently another, upon a more extensive scale, has been erected. Races take place here on the two days following those of Brighton, under the able superintendence of J.F. Verrall, Esq, the much esteemed Clerk of the Course and Manager, and excellent sport is afforded.”

Source: Alderman Henry Martin, ‘The History of Brighton and Environs from the earliest known period to the present time’ (1871) p.206


  1. A Lewes Desert Rat

Source: 13 Mar 1942 Sussex Express

 “Lewes Officer’s Death: Popular Motor Engineer. Lieutenant H. Newham, RASC, is reported to have died of wounds received on active service in the Middle East, at the age of 42.

 Lieutenant Newham was the popular manager of the Lewes branch of Messrs Mansfields, motor engineers, for the past 18 years and was a member of the South Saxon Lodge of Freemasons. He served in France in the last war, having joined at the early age of 16 years. His knowledge of motor engineering and his realisation of the urgent need of skilled soldiers prompted him to offer his services in the Officers’ Reserve, and on the outbreak of hostilities he undertook active service overseas.He was an enthusiastic yachtsman and within a few days of taking his commission in the RASC volunteered to help in the evacuation of Dunkirk and St Valerie. His boat, one of many little boats that went to St Valerie, managed to rescue 16 wounded French soldiers. Those who knew him will extend their sympathy to Mrs M. Newham, his wife, who is well known as an organiser and voluntary worker, and who has taken a large share in the civil defence of the town.”


  1. Reel Lewes                                                                       (by Ruth Thomson)

The Depot, a new independent cinema, will open in Lewes in early 2017. While waiting for it to be built, a group of local film makers and others interested in local history have formed Reel Lewes, to investigate and celebrate cinema-going of the past in Lewes. We will make a film and gather interviews and resources for an exhibition, ready for the Depot opening.

We need your help. Do you remember going to the cinema in Lewes? Did you go to the Cinema de Luxe on School Hill? Do you remember Fatty Briggs or Ice Cream Lil with the flit gun? Or did you go the Odeon? Do you remember the ushers, usherettes and their uniforms? Did you go to children’s’ Saturday screenings or rehearse for shows in the foyer? Did you ever watch a film during an air-raid?

If you, or anyone you know, remember these cinemas in any way, it would help us very much if you got in touch, just for an informal chat to start with, maybe an interview later:

Please email: reellewesinfo [at] gmail.com or phone Jane or Tony on: 01273 477776


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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LewesHistoryGroup
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LewesHistory




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