Fire, Wind and Rain – Events in Grange Road

Grange Road history>>Events in Grange Road

Grange Road has witnessed a number of memorable events; some natural, some accidental and some celebratory. As the images here show, they include flood (1960 and 2000) and hurricane (1987) as well as the incident of the overturned grape lorry.

Floods hit Grange Road in the autumn of 1960 and 2000. St Pancras Gardens, The Course and Grange Road gardens were also badly affected at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Winifred Martin's diary entry for January 1925

Photo – B. Millmore

A Grange Road resident writes in her diary how her new garden flooded in January 1925. ‘Mr Reid to witness our signatures on garden contract. Left it at Blakers, Mended gloves. My new garden flooded.’ (January 1925)

Entry in Winifred Martin’s diary for January 1925. Winifred lived with her sister Olive at 6 Grange Road. (click to enlarge)


In the 1960 Floods many gardens were underwater at both ends of the street.

“The Winterbourne culvert got blocked up and the water came up through the stream with a high tide and rain.”

Residents and former residents remember how the Winterbourne overflowed during the 1960s floods. Some people were rescued by boats. With three feet of water in the basement kitchen many families had to live upstairs. One former resident recalls how they “balanced the cooker on a piece of wood over the bath and everything had to be brought upstairs”. Following the flood, “the electrics had to be redone and all the rooms scrubbed out”.

Photos of 1960 Lewes flood
Photos – right: J. Robinson, left: © Edward Reeves, Lewes (click to enlarge)

In 2000 the flood damage was not as extensive as it was forty years earlier, but it still affected one Grange road property and also many gardens.

2000 Lewes flood St Pancras Stores Millmore garden strip
Photos – left: J. Downie, right: P. Millmore (click to enlarge)

When asked what events people remember in the street, the incident with the grape lorry is frequently cited. One former resident (a child at the time) thinks this incident occurred either in the summer of 1970 when she finished primary school or in 1971 shortly after her cat died on 23rd July.

In her late father’s written account he recalls a ‘Spanish artic” that turned over driving into the western end of the road from Rotton Row. It reminded him of the film Whisky Galore with residents coming out to see what had happened. There were trays and trays of yellow seedless grapes.  Another former resident recalls how ‘the driver had tried to turn into Grange Road’ and how everyone ‘rushed out to see if the driver was alright.’ Apparently they gave away the grapes and her mother made wine with them.

Grape lorry incident in Lewes strip
Grape lorry and children in Grange Road Photograph: J. Crowther (click to enlarge)

1987 tree clearance in Lewes_Millmore

Photograph: P. Millmore

In 1987 a number of trees blew over in the street during the hurricane. It was impossible to drive out of the road at the Southover Grange end until the trees had been cleared.


Left: Tree clearance in Grange Road 1987 (click to enlarge)


Southover Bonfire Society 2014_Millmore

Photograph: B. Millmore

Celebratory events include the annual torchlit procession of Southover Bonfire Society down Grange Road. The tradition continues today following the re-formation of the Society in 2005.


Southover Bonfire Society in Grange Road November 2014 (click to enlarge)