“Stories seen through a glass plate, 1916: Lewes remembers”
Lewes, East Sussex is not only a beautiful town but one that embraces its cultural heritage with real grace and ferocity. I spent the day walking around admiring the exhibition of 80 light boxes that have been placed in 65 windows throughout the town. The images vary from portraits of soldiers and their families, civilian life during the war and photographs of the thousands of men stationed in the town.
The exhibition showcases work by Benjamin Reeves, who is the grandfather of the present owner, Edward Reeves. The quaint studio in the heart of Lewes is believed to be the oldest continuously operated photographic studio in Europe. It houses over 150,000 glass plates and 200,000 digital and film files. It is a record of the daily life of Lewes as well as a potted history of commercial photographic practice.
Volunteers have researched the stories behind the photographs, helped to construct the lightboxes and install them in various windows. The beauty for me was accidently finding a mini story in a shop next to the items they were selling. One minute I would be admiring a stunning piece of jewellery, and the next reading about a nurse in the war. It was unexpected and gave the whole exhibition a curious nature, not dissimilar to an historic treasure hunt around the town.
The exhibition will continue until the 20th November, I highly recommend a visit to this pretty historic town as a way of remembering the men and women who fought for us during the war. It is a fitting tribute. Lest we forget.