Fitzroy House

+44 (0)1273 476499

inside Fitzroy House

Fitzroy House

Sitting in a prime location in the heart of the County Town of Lewes in East Sussex, Fitzroy House is a beautiful rather forbidding Victorian building abutting the pedestrian shopping precinct. The Tardis from Doctor Who comes to mind; as you walk through the beautiful double oak doors you step into the world of neo-Gothic architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott with an entrance hall full of curved arches and stone pillars, turquoise ceiling and an oak bannistered stairway with Fleur de Lis iron railings. The original tiled floor leads you through double doors into a domed glass-roofed octagonal space with a balcony full of cascading flowers around the entire perimeter, reminiscent of the Globe Theatre or Spanish hacienda piazza if the fountain is in use.

Fitzroy House was built in 1862 on the former site of a large mansion called The Friars on the instruction of Hannah Fitzroy (nee Rothschild) as a Memorial Library in honour of her deceased husband the Right Honourable Sir Henry Fitzroy, a long time MP for Lewes. Hannah commissioned Queen Victoria's favourite architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, (who created the Albert Memorial in London) to design what has been described as “one of the best small Gothic buildings in the country”

In 1897 it was adopted by the town of Lewes as the first public library and remained so until 1956. It was said to have been frequented by Virginia Woolf herself!

After that time it became offices but as gothic buildings fell out of fashion and the country was in recession, it was suggested that the building be demolished as so many around it were. Demolition began but the building was saved and restored by the vision and hard work of the Franks family and friends and the Friends of Lewes.

It became their family home for the next 40 years and in that time a railway via-duct was removed next door, a by-pass for Lewes was built and the road outside Fitzroy was pedestrianised which is now teeming with the life of markets, craft sales, street performers and social gathering.

Now on to the next chapter in the life of this illustrious and gracious gem of a building.......

Fitzroy House - beautiful rather forbidding Victorian building in the heart of the County Town of Lewes in East Sussex

Fitzroy House - beautiful rather forbidding Victorian building in the heart of the County Town of Lewes in East Sussex

Alison Grant Fitzroy House
an event at Fitzroy House

Events at Fitzroy House

We are currently working on our 2022 calendar of events.

We hold many varied and interesting events at Fitzroy House. You can read some lovely reviews here

Due to the current COVID situation, please check back for more details as we approach the opening of each event.

Reviews and Testimonials

It's easy to talk about ourselves, but here are some of the lovely things other people have said....

ArtWave

September 2021

Artwave is the annual festival of artists and makers in the Lewes District. Every year hundreds of creatives exhibit in Lewes, Seaford, Newhaven and the surrounding villages. The event gives art lovers the chance to discover new work, meet artists and makers, and buy directly from them.

Rated 4/5 based on 9 customer reviews

"Beautiful building and beautiful art"
"Blown away by this stunning secret building"
"What an absolute gem of a place, a discovery of a wonderful artist (Caroline Lucas) and so much unexpected Bloomsbury"
"I had, for years, wished I could see inside this mysterious and beautiful building. I am so grateful that, at last, in my 92nd year, you have opened it. What a responsibility to posterity. Please look after and restore it for us all"

"Splendid slice of history and some intriguing art"
"Spellbound by the beautiful space, romantic and unique. The art fits perfectly, a glorious show with lots od character."
"Fascinating glimpse into two visionary minds"

"Some exciting art from John Worth"
"Wonderful space - also loved the pottery and John Worth's work"

Alison Grant Fitzroy House Fitzroy-House
£0.00

A Lewes Life. Mrs Dudeney's Diary

September 2019

A play reading by local actors of Mike Turner's dramatization of Mrs Dudeney's Diary from 1916 to 1944, edited by Diana Crook and produced by Alison Grant.

Rated 5/5 based on 3 customer reviews

"Fitzroy House is an excellent venue and I applaud you for making such an interesting building into an arts venue. I enjoyed every minute of the evening"

"I enjoyed the event enormously – am not normally a theatre lover but thought the cast were brilliant , particularly Mrs D"

Alison Grant Fitzroy House Fitzroy-House
£0.00

Carrie Tree album Launch

May 2019

The amazing Carrie Tree is launching her new album at Fitzroy House. Carrie and a specially created band, (including Sophia Efthimiou on harp & harmonies, Rowan Sterk on percussion, Keith Ellis on clarinet and Carrie's twin brother Mark Woodward on bass and harmonies), will be sharing songs from her new album 'The Canoe' as well as a few familiar favourites. "After many unforeseen twists, turns and beautiful adventures, there is definitely a good excuse for celebration for it's birth! I would love to share this evening with you" Carrie.

Rated 4/5 based on 1 customer reviews

“"It was up there with one of the most favourite and special musical evenings of my life, so I feel just really grateful ..... that we could hold it in that incredible space! ....It gives so much to people - to be held in a venue like that... tapping into a lineage and memory that feels so vital and nourishing for us to feel."

Alison Grant Fitzroy House Fitzroy-House
£0.00

How to get to Fitzroy House

By Foot or by Bike

Fitzroy House is located at the bottom end of Lewes High Street on the edge of the pedestrianised street and opposite Costa. We encourage people to come by foot or bike if possible and there are bike racks situated in front of and behind the building. Please ensure your bike is securely locked.

By Car

From the A27 take the Lewes, East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells exit onto the A26 at the Southerham Roundabout. Go through the Cuilfail Tunnel and take the first exit left at the roundabout after the tunnel onto Malling Street/A2029. Continue over next roundabout onto Phoenix Causeway and at the traffic lights continue onto Friars Walk B2193. Fitzroy House will be on the left hand side, on the edge of the pedestrianised street and opposite Costa. Short term parking can be found behind Fitzroy House or long stay on North Street.

By Bus

Lewes is well connected to Brighton and Tunbridge Wells by the frequent 28 and 29 bus services. Other local bus services operate to plan your journey visit Traveline website

By Train

Lewes is linked by services from London Victoria & London Bridge, Southampton, Ashford and Brighton with connecting services to London Gatwick and Newhaven Port. Fitzroy House is a 0.5 mile walk from the train station. National Rail Enquiries Tel: 08457 48 49 50 (local call rate)

Alison Grant

+44 (0)1273 476499



Fitzroy House

Fitzroy House,Cultural Venues
10 High Street,
Lewes, East Sussex.
United Kingdom, BN7 2AD.

"The architectural legacy of a Victorian love story"
Alexandra Loske, from her book
'111 places in Brighton and Lewes that you shouldn't miss'