Box I

The Invasion of Lewes — the town opens its doors

D8861/009 — The Pells, 2017


‘Sussex Express 17 September 1914 — Lancashire Clogs & the Corporation Baths’ — Richard Attlee, Actor.

Audio transcript at bottom of page


‘Sussex Express 17 September 1914 — Items in Brief’ — Richard Attlee, Actor.

Audio transcript at bottom of page


“Lancashire Clogs


The majority of the men are waiting for uniform, and at the present stage they do not look much like “Tommies.” Many of the Lancashire lads are wearing clogs, and the clatter of them on the pavement is indeed strange to peaceful Lewes. Their brogue, too, requires some grasping, but still more difficult to understand is that of the Welshmen from Llanelli and other mining districts. In their own words, “Everybody’s happy,” a shortage of money being their only complaint. They parade for drill morning and afternoon, some going on to the Downs and others to the Convent Field. When off parade it is a common sight to see rows of men sitting in a shady spot on the pavement, while others find resting places elsewhere. The climax comes at night, when the town is thronged with the visitors, who entertain the populace to the latest poplar songs and mouth organ selections. “It’s a long way to Tipperary” goes down well with the boys, while “Are we down-hearted?” is taken up with enthusiasm. The Y.M.C.A. Room and various Parish Rooms are thrown open to the troops for reading, writing, and recreation, so altogether they are not having a bad time. In St. John’s Terrace one householder has given up the front room to the lodgers, and passing the house on Tuesday morning our representative saw through the open window four of them engaging in a quiet game of cards. They are quite at home.


Under the direction of the Borough Inspector (Mr. A. Ward), the necessary sanitary arrangements have been made, and the Corporation have thrown open the open-air Swimming Baths to the troops. They are largely patronised crowds flocking to the water for a dip (and incidentally a bath throughout the day). The public houses close at nine p.m. and the men have to “turn in” by 9.30. Early closing might be hard on the publicans, but it is a wise move on the part of the Authorities, and one which has been put into operation in other places where troops have been billeted.”


“Items in Brief:


Mr W.N. Barnard (Lewes) is rendering service to the troops as bugler instructor.


There was an amusing incident on Tuesday afternoon, one of the soldiers undertaking haircutting in the streets.


Some of the troops have been paid at a table erected in the street.


Almost every ”Tommy” you meet is smoking, and even cigars are not beyond some of them.


It is quite like old times to hear the Naval Prison bell ringing our once again.”