Lewes Street Stories: East Street, and Albion Street

 

This project has been ongoing since early 2019.

East Street was originally part of the Priory’s acreage and then Southover Manor.  It became known as ‘Durrant’s Field’ and then ‘Poplar Row’. Following its development by a group of master craftsmen led by Amon Wilds in the early 1790s, it became known as East Street. The buildings on the north side comprise the only known staggered mathematically tiled terrace in the country and is possibly the first significant example of speculative building in the town, as well as representing the First Phase of Lewes’ ‘New Town’ development. Amon Wilds went on to develop other parts of Lewes, and, with his equally well-known son, much of Regency Brighton.

Albion Street was built on land formerly occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during the 12th century, and subsequently, from Tudor times by an inn known as the ‘Turk’s Head’ which included a large garden running north to East Street. The fashionable unified stuccoed west side of Albion Street was developed in the early 1820s by James Berry. Other notable buildings have appeared and disappeared since then. The High Street entrance to Albion Street was originally flanked by Regency House to the west which remains, and to the east by the original Albion House until it fell into disrepair and was replaced by the current Clifford Dann office in the 1960s.

The streets have seen some events of note during the past couple of centuries as well as housing some people who have made significant contributions to the community.

So far mainly maps, fine art and photographs have been used as principle sources for research but newspapers, deeds and the census remain as major sources to be explored to find information on individuals and buildings. Any form of presentation of findings, other than on the Lewes History Group website, remains to be decided, but will probably be virtual. An exhibition of initial findings was held in the Lewes Town Hall’s Yarrow Room in September 2019 and a talk was given to LHG on Zoom in June 2021.

If you have any information about these streets, or material to share, please do get in touch with researchers Sarah and Peter Earl using this form: