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Greetings from Lewes!

August 7, 2010

I find that one of the best things about being away from a place for a while is that, when you return, in addition to turning up and down all your old favourite corners and ducking your head into your old favourite places, odds are there’s also going to be a new gem or two to discover. So it was when I hopped on the bus to Lewes in East Sussex – a  small town with beautiful winding streets, a fantastic cafe by the name of Bills (no relation to Granger), a castle, Anne of Cleves’ house, cute little artsy shops and second hand bookshops aplenty.

The new gem I found is the Tom Paine Printing Press, “Peter Chasseaud’s project to set up a working 18th Century style wooden Common Press.” From the outside it looked brilliant, and on the inside was a quiet, magical, and – yes – slightly intimidating space that made me feel like there’s a lot I need to learn about printing presses and how they work. Watching and re-watching Stephen Fry explore the story of the Gutenberg Press is, quite clearly, not enough anymore.

Amazing, right? There are two presses, the wooden ‘Common’ press as well as an 1843 Albion press, and numerous prints, books, pamphlets and posters. Their website says that it is intended that the common press “will be available, with proper induction and supervision, for local writers and artists to use for the production of their own books, pamphlets, broadsheets and prints,” which kind of rocks my world – how amazing is it that a town has this resource? You can find out more about the press and the history of Tom Paine here, and visit their blog too!

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2010 1:09 am

    I haven’t been to Lewes since about 1985 when I was lucky enough to be there overnight for Guy Fawkes and to visit some people who were leads with the Royal Brighton Opera Society. I had no idea Anne of Cleves lived there … I’ve had a life long interest in history and I wish I’d know when I was there. PS Terrific photos. I love Lewes … ithas the best Guy Fawkes ever.

    • Francesca permalink*
      August 8, 2010 8:07 am

      Ooh, thanks, good to know! If I’m still around in November (unlikely) I’ll check it out! xo

  2. August 8, 2010 4:09 am

    What a gorgeous place! I love the top shot the very best!

  3. August 8, 2010 1:27 pm

    Gosh, I MUST go there – it looks INCREDIBLE!!! Your photos are divine!!

    • Francesca permalink*
      August 8, 2010 10:55 pm

      Thanks Tracey! It is indeed a lovely place to visit! xo

  4. August 8, 2010 9:44 pm

    Your photos make me swoon Francesca!

    • Francesca permalink*
      August 8, 2010 10:56 pm

      Golly! That’s a compliment if ever there was one. Thanks Debra! xo

  5. August 9, 2010 12:38 am

    I agree! The Tom Paine Printing Press looks like a serious find. Lovely photos.

    • Francesca permalink*
      August 9, 2010 7:58 am

      Thanks so much, Micheline! xo

  6. barb ziemer permalink
    August 10, 2010 6:17 am

    i grew up in lincoln, england, and your first image just got me. it reminds me of the steep hill walk to the lincoln cathedral… beautiful photography – made me long for my second home! barb ziemer

    • Francesca permalink*
      August 10, 2010 11:22 am

      Hi Barb, England does do cobbled streets and pretty hills wonderfully well, doesn’t it!

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