Tag Archives: Lewes

Ale and Hearty hosts—the Vintage Mobile Cinema (for Lewes Heritage Open Days)

HODS weekendA free weekend cinema experience in Lewes, for Heritage Open Days on 14th & 15th September

The Ale and Hearty project hosts the Vintage Mobile Cinema, showcasing a bespoke short film celebrating bygone days of hop-picking, brewing and Sussex traditions, with vintage footage.

Come see our secret cinema and fascinating cinematic archive over the weekend, and enjoy the luxury of the red carpet treatment! We will be showing the film three times per hour, daily.

The Vintage Mobile Cinema is a 22 seater cinema open to all:www.vintagemobilecinema.co.uk/events

This event for Lewes Heritage Open Days, is part of the Ale and Hearty project celebrating lost breweries and brewing in the Lewes area.

Event at:  

Harveys Brewery car park,                                                                                                                       Corner of North Court & Harveys Way,                                                                                             Lewes                                                                                                                                                                            BN7 2JW

(No parking available at venue)

On: Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th Sept 10.00-4.00pm

To find out more, please contact Ale and Hearty Project Coordinator:                           aleandheartylewes@gmail.com

Ale and Hearty is a Heritage Lottery Funded Lewes based  project, looking at the heritage of brewing in the town.


Heritage Open Days in Lewes

Ale and Hearty meets the Vintage Mobile Cinema

Harveys Brewery VMC logocar park, Corner of North Court and Harveys Way, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2JW

This event is part of the wider Ale and Hearty event, celebrating lost breweries and brewing in the Lewes area. As part of this we are hosting the beautifully restored Vintage Mobile Cinema and showcasing a specially made short film in the Harveys Brewery car park, Lewes for the Ale and Hearty project on Sat 14th and Sun 15th September 10am-4pm as part of Heritage Open Days this year.

The film will be around 17.5 mins long and eulogises about bygone days of hop picking, brewing and local sussex traditions with vintage footage taken from local sources including the Screen Archive South East. The Vintage Mobile Cinema is a 24 seater mobile cinema open to all.  We’re really looking forward to it!

Come and see our secret cinema and some interesting archive footage over the weekend and enjoy the luxury of the red carpet treatment! This is a short event. we will be showing the film three times an hour each day for a six hour period so it is accessible for little people who are easily bored. The cinema itself is a thing of beauty and of interest to everyone.

Please note this is an event takes place outside in a working brewery car park so parents must be responsible for their children. All safety precautions necessary have been taken. Event suitable for ages: 5 to 18.

Opening Times

  • Saturday 14th September: 1000-1600
  • Sunday 15th September: 1000-1600

Access Information

Unfortunately due to the age of the Vintage Mobile Cinema there is no accessible provision for this event. We do apologise for this. The nearest municipal access toilet is on Market Lane, Lewes BN7 2NT Disabled parking is available in the Harveys Way car park, Lewes BN7 2JW which is next to the Harveys brewery venue. This is an NCP car park.

Additional information

Max 24 people per tour/event. The Vintage Mobile Cinema is the only surviving unit from a fleet of seven Ministry of Technology mobile cinemas built in 1967. The 22-seat cinema has been meticulously restored to its former glory, and now features state-of-the-art surround sound, HD digital projection and a comfortable climate controlled environment for the audience.


Walking to this event, walk along Cliffe High Street, past the Harveys Brewery shop on your left, then take the little ‘twitten’ or alley way North Couth just after also on the left (with Bills restaurant on your right). Through North Court, walk to the end. To the right there is a municipal car park, to your left is the back entry delivery park for Harveys Brewery for deliveries – the Vintage Mobile Cinema is in there.

Absolutely NO parking available in Harveys Brewery car park. Pay parking is available in the next door NCP car park on Harveys Way. Details here: http://en.parkopedia.co.uk/parking/carpark/phoenix_causeway/bn7/lewes/


Ale and Hearty launch event – Friday 8th March 6-9pm Free

Friday 8th March: Ale and Hearty project launch

An event tailor-made for nostalgic Lewesians, as the Ale and Hearty project launch heralds the excuse (as if any were needed) for a year-long celebration of the town’s renowned brewing heritage. With all sorts of activities being planned to commemorate what was formerly a burgeoning industry (the town supported no fewer than nine working breweries) it looks like 2013 may be a fine vintage for ale drinkers, artists and social historians alike.

All welcome but please email aleandheartylewes@gmail.com to be added to the guest list.

At the Linklater Pavilion, from 6-9pm on Friday March 8th.

From an article in the magazine Viva Lewes

Ale and Hearty

20090817105011_breweryslide1.small.jpgAle and Hearty – A social and agricultural history of Brewing in Lewes.

This project from Strike a Light  started in January 2013 and will last for 12 months. It is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and other local organisations.

What is the project about?

The project focuses on the history of brewing in Lewes and its related industrial and agricultural links from the 18th Century to the present day, a period of some 200 years. It focuses on the community of Lewes; working life in relation to Breweries, agricultural workers and rural life and trades. It also links in with abstinence and religious culture locally at the time, as well as a clear relation between trades and society through social clubs.

Breweries, a history

The breweries also made ginger beer, a non-alcoholic drink popular with young people and teetotallers. As a town which has historically been linked with the brewing trade through companies such as Tamplin & Sons, and Harvey’s, a proposal for such a project is timely. ‘Lewes is famous for having its own brewer, Harvey’s, which has been open since 1790 and still continues to make beer today. Still run by the Harvey family, the brewery is the last of the town’s original 19th Century breweries’. These breweries were the Southdown Brewery, Lyells, Beards Brewery, Harvey’s, VerrallsBallards, and the Bear Yard Brewery. This document will document these dynasties and record their importance locally.

Lewes and brewing

lyalls steam breweryLewes to a great extent was built on a brewing heritage and made its fortune through the creation of ale, and ginger beer. There is a rich ale drinking tradition in the town with many independent public houses.

Brewing originated as an everyday domestic activity needed to produce a liquid that was most people’s staple drink ‘small beer’. In the medieval era, brewing on the largest scale was carried out in monasteries such as in Lewes Priory. By the 18th century the more formal, purpose-built brewhouse had become an integral part of the offices typically found at the large country house. Country house breweries (such as Beards Brewery), were still being built in the mid 19th century, and this type of brewing carried on regularly until the early years of the 20th century. In addition, Lewes was famous for the production of ginger beer, a non-alcoholic beverage popular with young people and teetotallers.

Ale- an industry

This industry was created by a robust rural agricultural trade, that of growing hops, barley and brewing malt, locally in ‘The Maltings’ building (now East Sussex Record Office). Lewes wasn’t an important industrial centre, its inhabitants being largely concerned with agriculture. But the vogue of Lewes as a residential and marketing centre made brewing a profitable industry and led to the establishment of a good many breweries and inns. Of these in 1765 the chief were The Star and The White Hart, but the White Horse, Dog, White Lion, Ship, Castle, Dolphin, Crown, and Lewes Arms.

verrals brewry demolition

Related industry resulting from this trade locally included Blacksmith trades, Coopers, Malthouse workers, coppersmiths, brewery engineers, brewery architects, and local agricultural workers. This, therefore focuses on lifestyle, social history, architecture and the industrial revolution, where there was a clear relation between trades and society with work beanos, social clubs and trades unions surrounding this.There is a strong affection for local brewing shown through CAMRA membership, regional beer and ale festivals and a side effect of membership of the towns many Bonfire societies who all have ‘home’ pubs for meetings and tradition’s sake.


This is a subject rich in potential archive material which reflects national as well as local trends. It gives a profound insight to the changes in society from the time of the industrial revolution to the present day. This project supports and facilitates the archival and contextualisation of material related to the social history of brewing. Archival material includes existing photos, business ledgers and records, deeds of title, written text and contracts available at East Sussex Record Office, Sussex Past andAccess to Archives.

History provides examples of Government promoting the availability of beer as opposed to spirits in an age of industrialisation and highlights issues of responsible drinking within communities – a message which could provide a backdrop to alcohol awareness workshops in local schools, along with the history of the Workhouse, Vagrancy, and the Inebriates Reformatory in Lewes. We believe passionately in the opportunities which this provides to enrich the heritage of Lewes for present and future generations.

The study of brewing and its related consequences in Lewes will enhance the social history of the town and highlight its industrial archaeology as well as creating an understanding of social change, bringing to life some vibrant personalities of a bygone age. It aims to also create an historical understanding of alcohol in society and the evolution of public houses and their changing community roles.

This project will engage communities, especially rural outlying agricultural communities, often marginalised, and work together with them to explore and share their hidden histories. This project’s activities will enrich local heritage, make heritage activities more accessible to people living in rural areas, and provide opportunities for them to develop new skills and interests.

In terms of official recognition of heritage, Harvey’s Brewery is a Grade II* listed building. Harveys Brewery in Lewes is the oldest brewery in Sussex, dating back to 1790 and is a key partner in this project. Its rich heritage is passionately carried through to the present day. Beard’s Brewery is a Grade II listed building, and Beard’s Brewery Store is also a Grade II listed property in Lewes. In addition the Old Brewery House is Grade II listed. East Sussex Record Office, a partnership organisation for this project is based in The Maltings building in Lewes, itself a Grade II listed building. This project would link these buildings together, celebrating this industrial architecture.

What will happen:

During 2013, we will be –

* Collecting 20 oral histories about breweries in Lewes and related experiences for archival
* Creating a photographic collections of images of breweries and related working life (collection point monthly at Lewes Library)
* Setting up a photographic exhibition (to be housed by ESCC libraries service)
* Generating information for a booklet about the subject.
* Putting together information for a Key Stage 2 educational pack
* Designing a postcard series

As well as involving :

* Running 20 free group reminiscence sessions about rural crafts and brewing in Cooksbridge and Halland
* Putting on a weekend Heritage Open Days film archive screening about brewing in partnership with the Vintage Mobile Cinema in September 2013
* A walking tour of breweries past and present
* Archival material at East Sussex Record Office

Get involved!

To find out more about this project, to get involved, or to contribute or loan material, then do please contact us here for more information. We’ll be creating a calendar of activities throughout 2013, as well as an exhibition. Watch this space to find out more!

You can also find out how to get involved with this project as a volunteer and access free heritage based training skills on this following page.

southdown brewery

With thanks to East Sussex Record Office, and Lewes Library Local studies department for related material.