The historic streets of Lewes are yet again set to be the place to be this Bonfire Night.
The town’s six bonfire societies have all but finished their preparations, with months of planning and fundraising set to climax in a spectacular evening’s entertainment.
Its origins of course come from the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 where Guy Fawkes and his band of Catholics were foiled in their attempt to blow up Parliament.
But unlike others around the country, the event also commemorates the 17 Protestant martyrs from the town who were burnt at the stake for their faith during the Marian Persecutions in the 1500s.
Each of the societies, dressed in their traditional colours, make their own way around town before joining for the grand procession which will start at 7.40pm.
The route will take them from Western Road, through the Bottleneck along the High Street, past the War Memorial and down School Hill to Boots Corner. They then separate before heading to their own sites and lighting bonfires at 9.30pm.
Lewes Borough will head to Landport Bottom near the Racecourse while Cliffe will be on Ham Lane.
Commercial Square will be down at the Landport Recreation Ground, with Southover at the Stanley Turner Ground, Waterloo at Malling Brooks and South Street on the land just off Railway Lane.
Last year’s event was one of the best attended. However, a number of injuries, some serious, blighted an otherwise enthralling evening.
Last year’s spike in injuries was largely blamed on the throwing of powerful fireworks.
The police have promised a crackdown on the deer scarers and have said they will arrest anyone caught throwing them into crowds.
Chief Superintendant Robin Smith said: “Last year a number of people received very serious eye injuries. We simply cannot allow this to happen again.
“But let’s hope that with the work we have done with various organisations and other people involved that they are indeed bonfire celebrations.”
Buy The Argus on Tuesday for its four-page supplement covering the best of Britain’s biggest bonfire celebration. Visit this website tonight for our liveblog covering the latest from the Lewes festivities.
A series of road closures (see map) will be in place from the early afternoon with the town effectively shut off of to cars by the evening.
On street parking will be suspended in certain streets with vehicles likely to be towed if left.
Residents are advised to get their cars home before 5pm to avoid any road closures.
The A26 and A27 will be open to through traffic only with no waiting or parking permitted.
Normal parking controls for on-street and car parks will resume at 8am on November 6.
There will be additional rail services throughout the afternoon and evening – however queues at the station are to be expected.
The last services from Lewes depart between 12.00am and 12.30am depending on your destination.
Brighton and Hove buses will be running a normal service to the town in the morning and early afternoon. However, after 4.30pm services will be diverted.
All services, both to and from Brighton, will stop in the lay-by opposite Caffyns in Malling Street. Additionally all stops from the Ashcombe roundabout to Earwig Corner will be suspended.
What to bring
The Lewes Bonfire Council has issued the following advice:
- Clothing - warm layers and sturdy footwear are advisable, especially as many of the fire sites are likely to be muddy. Protective goggles also a safe option.
- Alcohol - many pubs will be closed or just open to regulars. The Lewes Street Drinking Prohibition will also be enforced.
- Money - food and drink sellers will be scattered throughout the town so a reasonable amount of cash is useful – especially with cash points likely to be difficult to reach. The Societies will also be going around collecting donations.
- Health - if you suffer from asthma it is important to bring your inhaler due to large volumes of smoke. Earplugs are also recommended as loud bangs are sudden and common.
This afternoon and evening should stay dry with some sunny spells before nightfall. The temperature will range from 8c this afternoon to 2c tonight.