Hibbert Room opening - Westgate Chapel
The trustees of the Westgate Chapel, on the High Street next to Bull House, have announced that they are opening up a new space for performances and rehearsals – the Hibbert Room, until recently used periodically as the space for the Fair Trade market. If you ever went to that market you’ll remember a dowdy, tatty, unlooked-after spot, which now has been completely transformed. The walls have been painted white, the wooden panelling has been exposed, the wooden floor has been stripped and painted and the stage area is being adapted so as to be usable for performances. Its high ceilings suggest good acoustics. It’s a top spot, basically. The rent is negotiable, and unlikely to be steep.
Westgate Chapel, appropriately enough, opened in November 5th, 1700. It became the most popular worshipping place in Lewes, which was at the time a great home for religious dissent and non-conformity. The chapel itself has long been used for a fortnightly Unitarian congregation, whose numbers have recently dwindled to six. The most interesting feature of the space is the stained glass East Window (pictured), a memorial to John and Elizabeth Every, designed and made in 1923 by Clayton and Bell, responsible for the Great West window at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge. It is uncertain whether Tom Paine, who lived next door, went to the chapel. But it’s pretty likely that if he did attend services, he’d attend them here. AL