Riverside Shopping Centre Exterior

A little history of the site and building

From at least the 1670s the site consisted of a wharf and a mansion owned by fish merchants. The Quaker, Ambrose Galloway, and his son operated on the site in the 1680s and, by the 1770s, Sir Henry Blackman and his son lived in the mansion and ran their wine business from there.

It is believed that the present building was built in 1860, the first occupant being Albion Russell who established the first boot and shoe factory in Lewes. In 1905 the building was taken over by the Ouse engineering works, but the building changed hands only four years later. Martin's Garage occupied the building for 40 years and during that time saw the advent and development of the motor vehicle. An innovative company, they were the first in Lewes to install a hydraulic lift so vehicles could be lifted to the first floor - it was there that bodies were first fitted to Model T Ford cars. Martin's were still in residence until 1940, but little is known of the building's use from that time until 1951 when it was taken over by the local firm of Beck's hire cars.

In 1993 the freehold was purchased by Riverside (Lewes) Co. and, after 18 months of painstaking restoration, the building was reopened in the form you see it today.