Snow and Avalanche Center 2006 Avalanche News

Avalanche anniversary in Lewes pub

December 26, 2006

Britain's biggest avalanche will be commemorated today on the 170th anniversary of the disaster.

At 10.15am on December 27, 1836, a snow avalanche hit Lewes on the site where the Snowdrop Inn now stands in South Street. Eight people died. Others were rescued from the seven terraced cottages which stood there at the time.

Talks are taking place throughout the day in the pub on the site.

David Goldsmith, who lives in London, has been so taken with the history of the avalanche, he spent years researching it. He will reveal its full story at 10am, 2pm and 6pm today with a talk and slide show.

He said: "This is unparalleled in our history. I've discovered that the former landlord of the pub, who is building a house next door to it, discovered an original foundation stone from the old houses while he was excavating.

"It's only the second piece of physical evidence from the avalanche." The other piece is a white dress worn by two-year-old Fanny Boakes, who was rescued. It is in the Anne of Cleves House museum in the town.

A yellowing pamphlet from the time is displayed in the Snowdrop Inn.

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