The Pells of Lewes: Pool, Park, People, Places

A book published by the Lewes History Group on 1 September 2020.

As part of the Lewes History Group’s Street Stories series about our town, this book uncovers change and continuity in ‘The Pells’, the original name for this spring-fed landscape.

It documents with maps, artwork, documents and photographs, how the uses of this area changed over time – looking at long-gone features such as sacred springs, medieval swanneries, a river navigation lock and a paper mill – and how these have contributed to the current landscape and natural history.

The Pells of Lewes - book coverIt also tells the story of the 19th century ‘pleasure grounds’, swimming pool, and recreation ground – remarkable achievements for a small market town.

The story includes the history of the former farmhouse, the oldest dwelling in the Pells, once part of the Shelley family’s domain, and reveals how the Lewes Cattle Market Company, which bought the farm as a site for a cattle market, became an accidental housing developer to help pay its bills.
Click on image for a sample page

The richly-illustrated, 160-page book covers many other intriguing elements of the Pells and can be ordered now at £12.50 using this order form, and available from the Tourist Information Centre, Skylark, and the Pells Pool Kiosk.

Press coverage:

Readers’ comments:

  • “Has any town parish, anywhere in the world, been given a treatment as visually stylish and as humanly fascinating as this? The Pells of Lewes, packed with fine-grained, thought-provoking research, is a model of how to do it for local history. East Sussex’s county town has always been just a little bit proud of itself. One of its quarters has now got reason to be yet more so!” Julian Bell
  • “Very many congratulations on a really professional publication. It is a delight both to read and to look at. A real triumph. Thank you all so much, it must have been quite a task but it was certainly worth it.” DO
  • “I’m very impressed by the book and look forward to reading it in detail. A splendid piece of work.” VG
  • “LOTS of wonderful comments re book – have given the 4 I bought as presents and recipients all delighted!” MG
  • “I bought a copy of the book yesterday, and what impressed me most, apart from the physical book itself, was the continuous sense of the Pells community one had when reading the history and looking at the photos.” JD
  • “Superb! Well done to all involved in research, writing and producing this.” GL