This Phoenix did not rise from the ashes


ESTABLISHED by John Every in 1835, the Phoenix ironworks was the largest of several foundries in Lewes. Iron ore was brought down-river from the Sussex Weald to be smelted and cast in the town.

This picture of the works, taken around 1932, was sent in by devoted Rouser reader Mr D. Piper of Ringmer. Note the railway line between the works and the river.

Several Lewes streets still have manhole covers and benches displaying the name Every.

The Phoenix Iron and Steel Works, also known as the Phoenix Foundry, the Phoenix Ironworks, John Every Ltd and the East Sussex Engineering Company, was central to the working lives of a great many Lewes families during its 154 year history.

Apparently the blast for the original furnace was provided by a horse-driven fan. It grew into a modern prosperous business producing very high quality iron and steel work until shutting down in the 1970s.

It is now part of an area by the river earmarked for controversial redevelopment.