Walk - The Pubs of Lewes

The late Lesley Davies was told by his grandfather many years ago that Lewes once boasted seven churches, seven breweries and seventy pubs. So in 1977 he made himself busy tracing the whereabouts of all those hostelries: in fact he found that in 1890 the town had 66 public houses, of which 21 are still running. He wrote a book about his findings, which has been revised by The Friends of Lewes and Andrew Whitnall. Tonight Whitnall is giving a guided tour divulging the wealth of information he has gleaned about the subject. The walk starts in the Dorset Arms and winds round to the Swan, where refreshments will be taken.

Whitnall now probably knows more about pubs in Lewes than any other person (in a purely historical sense, of course). We’ll not divulge too much of what he says, because we don’t want to detract from his walk. But for instance, you know the white lion in the car park near the bottleneck? That was the sign for a pub called the White Lion that was there until the slum clearances. The inhabitants were moved to Landport, and the Tally Ho was built to replace the pub – there is still a white lion on the wall there commemorating the fact. And you know which pub has had the most names? It’s the Meridian, on Western Road, formerly the Pewter Pot, the Rifleman and The Hole in the Wall, and originally a canteen for the workers building the prison. More about this next week, when the book comes out. AL

Closing time: Last orders for the White Lion were back in 1954

Meet at the Dorset Arms
When? 6pm
How Much? Free to non-car users