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The Alfriston & Cuckmere Valley Historical Society

The Historical Society was formed in 2003 to help preserve and promote the rich heritage of this beautiful downland village and the adjoining Cuckmere Valley. We have regular meetings at which visiting speakers talk on a wide range of local and national historical subjects. We also organise mid-summer and Christmas events with historical themes.

Committee Members 

Chair: Bill Rendall

Hon. Secretary: Susan de Angeli 01323 870466

Hon. Treasurer: Hilary Rawlins

Ian Chopra

Jackie Hurwood

Sandy Hernu

Become a Member

To join the Historical Society please contact our Secretary Bill Rendall.

Annual Membership is £15 single and £25 for a couple.

Archive - 2023 Events
Thursday 16 March 2023 at 7.30pm

The Ouse Valley Past Life and Times

Speaker: Ian Everest

The River Ouse, near Lewes, 1900

​Ian will present old photographs and cine film to offer a glimpse of the less well-known aspects of life in the Ouse valley between Lewes and the sea.  Areas of interest will include the agricultural, aviation, sporting and artistic heritage of the area.

Ian has a long family history in farming and attended Plumpton Agricultural College in the 1960s.  After further agricultural work he became manager of Newhaven Fort in 1987 and a Town Clerk in 2001 before retirement in 2011 to become a public speaker.

Thursday 11 May 2023 at 7.30pm

The Quakers in World War One

Speaker: Frances Hurd

​​Frances will describe how The Society of Friends (Quakers) has taken an active role in providing care for those affected by war since the 18th century, setting precedents for many charitable organizations.  She will explain how their achievements are extraordinary for such a small organization.

Frances has a PhD in History and is especially interested in the impact of war on individuals.  She was an OFSTED inspector for 19 years.

Lewes Station, 1900

Lewes Station, 1900

Thursday 15 June 2023 at 6.00pm

Dinner followed by
The Early Railways of Sussex

Members and guests.  Payment for the dinner will be required in advance; further details to be announced

Speaker: Kevin Gordon

The evening will comprise a dinner at Deans Place Hotel followed by a lecture from Kevin on the history of railways in Sussex.  He will discuss the early railways of the United Kingdom and how they reached and spread across Sussex.  

Kevin is a retired British Transport Police Officer who worked on
the railways for over 30 years.  He is a local historian and former
chairman of our Society.

Thursday 12 October 2023 at 7.30pm

Berwick Church Restoration

Speaker: Peter Blee

The world-famous Bloomsbury paintings in Berwick Church have recently been repaired and restored as part of the Berwick Project.  Structural improvements to the church have also been made to conserve the paintings.  Our speaker will describe the Berwick Project and illustrate its importance for preserving one of the most important church decorative schemes in the country.

Peter is Rector of St. Michael and All Angels Church, Berwick and author of “The Bloomsbury Group in Berwick Church”.

Most events start at 7:30pm and take place at

Deans Place Hotel, Seaford Road, Alfriston BN26 5TW


Admission: Members free, non-members £6,

except where indicated

Programmes may be subject to change for unavoidable reasons. Please check nearer the date. Evenings typically finish by 9:00pm.

Thursday 20 April 2023
at 7.30pm

Annual General Meeting 

followed by

A Passion for Piers

Speaker: Jackie March-Hobbs

After the AGM, Jackie will present her talk about the history of pleasure piers.  These structures are remarkable examples of Victorian engineering.  They are diverse in design, often crowned with exotic palaces or pavilions.  Places of entertainment, laughter
and joy which have given untold pleasure to generations, they are an important part of our social history.

Jackie is a Pier Historian, lecturer and freelance tour guide.  She is a specialist on the history of Eastbourne, Worthing and Brighton piers.

Eastbourne Pier, 1910

Thursday 14 September 2023
at 7.30pm
The History of Lewes Workhouse

​Speaker: Mathew Homewood

Workhouses were harsh environments intended to provide employment for paupers and support for the infirm.  Our speaker will tell the story of the Lewes Workhouse building from its construction in the 1860s to its demolition in the 1950s.

Mathew studied history at the University of Sussex.  He has lived in Lewes since 1993 and has spent many years researching the history of the town.

Lewes Workhouse, 1910

Thursday 7 December 2023 at 5.00pm

Christmas Wine & Cheese Party
and a Historical Quiz
War Memorial Hall, Alfriston
Members and guests. Advance registration and payment for entry required: further details to be announced

​This will be a good opportunity to relax and enjoy a pre-Christmas celebration with friends and neighbours.  During the party we will hold a light-hearted quiz with an historical theme, which will add to the fun.

The programme for 2024 will also be announced and there will be opportunities for membership renewals.

Thursday 16 November 2023
at 7.30pm
The Glory of the MGM Musicals

​Speaker: Delia Taylor


In the 1940s and 1950s MGM produced some of the greatest film musicals ever seen.  The songs written for the films became classics and the actors and actresses appearing in the musicals became screen stars.  Our speaker will present clips from some of these great movies, and you will also learn about the trials and tribulations of producing some of the films we have grown to love.

Delia has been a public speaker for over 15 years and has a special interest in Hollywood films made during the first half of the twentieth century.

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