Author pens biography of Lewes Chair Man

The Chair Man charts the life story of expert chair caner John Lee
The Chair Man charts the life story of expert chair caner John Lee

A Lewes author has released a new book charting the life story of John Lee, an expert chair caner who works in Cliffe Precinct.

The Chair Man, by local author Angela Wigglesworth, looks at Mr Lee's life as a craftsman and how he came to be the well-known Lewes figure he is.

“When I heard about his life, I knew I couldn’t resist writing about it,” said Angela. "Many people in Lewes will know John as he demonstrates his chair caning craft in Lewes Precinct and customers come from all over Sussex."

The son of a Romany gypsy mother and a French travelling salesman, the young John Lee was taught to cane chairs by his Italian grandmother and, at thirteen, earn a living doing this on the streets of London. At seventeen, and after his one and only day at school, he became a waiter on a cruise ship.

Unable to read or write until he was thirty five, he succeeded over the years in running a successful building company, seven fruit and vegetable shops and a restaurant in Spain.

It will be available in Lewes from Skylark in the Needlemakers, Sussex Stationers and Waterstones.

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