Catlin welcoming customers into his shop

Image credit Si Frost

“Catlin's as a tobacconist started in Broadstairs in 1998 and when it moved to Lewes it inhabited the premises known as F.E. Hall, although the Hall family had ceased to be associated with it since, I think, the 1980s.

It had been taken over firstly by Mrs Burrell until the great storm of 1987. It was found that the landlord had under-insured the building, and he looked to Mrs Burrell for the extra cost of rebuilding. The building had lost the back of the first and 2nd floor and the roof in the storm. Mrs Burrell sold it on to the Felsing family and it became Catlin's in 2000.

Increasing rents and rates plus a decline in tobacco sales really put the kibosh on it, and although we moved to the Needlemakers the writing was on the wall and it closed in October 2011.

However much the affection in which it was held, the truth is that it was never a goer, and it was only due to receipt of family bequests that it ever kept going at all. I had nothing out of it for myself, and was about to be homeless when I moved to Clevedown. It was a good social venue - but not a profitable business!”

— Catlin, Autumn 2013 The Catlins frontage
The famous Catlins flyer The famous Catlins flyer