Oral histories wanted!

Ale_v3_webOral histories wanted!

We’re looking for people in the Lewes area (Including wider East Sussex) to record their memories of ale and brewing in the region, rural life and trades, hop picking and hop picking holidays, working as a dray man, a cooper, in a brewery, or in a Maltings, or anything related to this theme. We want to tlk to everyone!

This is for the Ale and Hearty project which you can see more about herehttps://strikealight.org/projects/ale-and-hearty/

Our trained interviewers will come and record your experiences for 1-2 hours in the comfort of your own home. The recordings will then be archived at The Keep – the new East Sussex Record office in Falmer.

We also hope to include some of these memories in our project exhibition in September in Lewes and to create some postcards about this subject too. All participants will be invited to attend our project celebration in January 2014.

If interested in taking part, or if you know anyone who might be relevant to the project, please contact aleandheartylewes@gmail.com for more information.

Reminscence facilitators needed!

IMG_9386Nicola-01Ale and Hearty History Project

Volunteer Roles: Reminiscence Facilitator


Strike a Light is a not for profit community arts organisation, based in Sussex, that uses peoples life stories and memories to engage a wide range of groups in creative and heritage activities, and making art to transform public and private spaces.

The ‘Ale and Hearty’ Project will encourage engagement, learning and enjoyment in the diverse brewing history of Lewes, and its legacy, through interactive creative heritage activities and exhibitions, enriching the lives of people in East Sussex through shared historical appreciation. It will work in partnership with East Sussex County Council, Lewes District Council, U3A, Harvey’s Brewery, local schools and community groups.

The engagement of new audiences will be through oral history testimonies, creative workshops using archive material, reminiscence sessions, a photography exhibition and performance.

The Reminiscence Facilitators will play a central role in this project, setting up (with project manager support) and facilitating up to 10 weeks of activities in Cooksbridge and Ringmer from May- August 2013.. Following free training, the interviewers will:

  • Travel to Cooksbridge/Halland to facilitate a reminiscence group of older people about rural and local life (with relation to the project theme).
  • Ensure that the consent forms are signed by each participant
  • Deliver activities each week for ten weeks
  • Take photos of the sessions
  • Record any key related memories, which will then be included in the photo exhibition.
  • Scan photos where necessary.

Skills Required

A willingness to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Listen to other people’s stories without judgement
  • Work with a wide range of different people
  • An interest in local history
  • Excellent communication skills
  • A positive and imaginative approach to volunteering
  • Good interpersonal and team working skills


Training will be provided by the Ale and Hearty Project Manager, in:

  • Aims and Objectives
  • Facilitating reminiscence groups
  • Creating plans of activities

Volunteer Roles – Reminscence facilitator

Ale and Hearty launch

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“Wine is but single broth, ale is meat, drink, and cloth.” – 16th century English proverb.

The Ale and Hearty project held a project launch for 90 people in Lewes on Friday March 8th, to promote a year of exciting, free events and activities aimed at celebrating the heritage of the brewing and related agricultural industries in Lewes.  The launch event took place at the Linklater Pavilion.

 The busy evening played host to talks from Miles Jenner – the Chief Executive of Harveys Brewery, and Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe, Mayor Elect of Lewes, Sussex and ale themed folk songs from the group Emily and the Hares, an exhibition and slide show, ale to drink gifted from Harveys, and local cheeses from the High Weald Dairy, the unveiling of a new logo, and a raffle which raised £185 towards a companion education pack to go out free to Lewes primary schools. The event was an opportunity to find out more about this new project, and how to get involved.

Through this event, we celebrated memories and stories, from a time when Lewes laid claim to nine local breweries, unearthing the hidden history of one of the main industries of the town over the last 300 years.

The project, from arts and heritage organisation Strike a Light, aims to encourage participants and visitors to share memories of local brewing, ale, and agricultural and brewery working life. Strike a Light said ‘We really enjoyed meeting new project participants, visitors, volunteers and all interested in Ale and Hearty activities. We had a great deal of enthusiasm for the event, and with the help of generous local Lewes businesses, raised money towards supporting local educational projects too!’



Photo collection point begins

Photo Collection point

The Ale and Hearty project is holding a FREE fortnightly drop-in Info Point at Lewes Library between March – June 2013.

photo collection point posterWe will be providing information on project activities, and collecting material and copies of YOUR photos. These will form part of our photographic exhibition taking place in Lewes venues in Autumn 2013.

Share old photos, memories and experiences. We’ll be scanning and photocopying images to help build the archive of Lewes brewing history. Our project team will be at Lewes Library between 10-12pm on the following dates:

Wed 13th & Wed 27th March        

Wed 10th & 24th April                                                                       

Wed 8th & 22nd May                                                                           

Wed 12th & 26th June           

All welcome!


New Fabrica events from Strike a Light

Fabrica Dec 2011-076 Fabrica Dec 2011-113This afternoon, we’re thinking about a theme for the next Fabrica gallery’s  Growing an Older Audience event organised by Strike a Light on June 13th from 1-4pm. Any suggestions welcome!

We’ll also be showing a film in the evening as usual for £1 from 6.30pm with refreshments included. The film title will be announced in May 2013. Watch this space….

See here for some of our past Fabrica curated events which are free and open to all.


A history of beer

We have Veronique Poutrel of ESCC to thank for this image of the history of beer. Very useful for us given Strike a Light’s Ale and Hearty project in Lewes, East Sussex, and a nice historic edge to the theme. There’s going to be a lot of ale related posts this year we can tell!


Vintage Mobile Cinema

Bus-restored2Our favourite moving cinematic venue, the Vintage Mobile Cinema is in London this month. This will give you a chance to see it before it comes further south to our own Heritage Open Days event in Lewes, East Sussex in September 2013.

St Patrick’s Day Festival, Trafalgar Square, London – Sunday 17th March, 12pm – 6pm

The St Patrick’s Day Festival is a family day out that celebrates Ireland’s culture, including displays of dance, music, comedy, films, and a farmers’ market. There’s also the St Patrick’s Day Parade, which takes place every year in London, involving marching bands, floats, street theatre and more. The parade begins at 12 noon in Piccadilly, and proceeds to Trafalgar Square.

We’ll be screening a whole mixture of different short films, including films for children, so come along and enjoy the St Patrick’s Day fun. And best of all, it’s all free!

Trafalgar Square, London, 12pm – 6pm. Free entry

See you there!