I lived in South Norfolk as a child, and I got to know East Suffolk better than I knew North Norfolk or even Broadland. I went to school in Suffolk, and we went for a fortnight’s holiday to the Suffolk coast every August throughout my childhood. These are some pictures that remind me of those times.
This pub was called the Southwold Arms from 1839 until it closed in 1996. It was subsequently used as accommodation for Adnam’s hotel employees. It has since 2013 been converted into a menswear shop.
The Tide Mill at Woodbridge was being restored when this picture was taken in 1973. It had closed about ten years earlier as the last working tide mill in England. It never used internal combustion engines, as many watermills did before finally going out of business. In its final years it produced animal feed, no longer flour for human consumption. It was not yet open to the public in 1973. The steamer which you can see alongside the mill briefly ran trips on the river Deben.
The Aldeburgh lifeboat had been involved in the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. Aldeburgh still has an RNLI lifeboat station. The lifeboat is launched from the beach; although the river comes within a few hundred yards of the sea in Aldeburgh, it only reaches open water at Shingle Street, some five miles to the south.
The attractive area by the river Blyth was for 50 years on the line of the narrow gauge Southwold railway, until it closed in 1929. The old railway track is still a popular path where walkers may go between Southwold and Blythburgh.
The baker at Stradbroke was my great-grandfather William Rutter. The bakery only passed out of the family’s hands in the 1940s. Although William moved into the shop in about 1860, it was still the Stradbroke bakery when I called there a couple of years ago, over 150 years later. William Rutter died in 1904, but the current owner showed me his will, which he keeps among his documents. Although I have always been a Norfolk ‘bor’, both my mother and father had Suffolk blood in their veins.
Apart from the ancient motor cars (which could be parked almost anywhere in the days before yellow lines) this view of the lighthouse is still much the same. A couple of canons have appeared on the green in the last 50 years.
This ancient medieval castle was built as a Royal Castle in the late 12th century. It is well preserved externally, but unlike another Royal Castle (at Norwich) it has not been used to accommodate anyone for centuries. Part of the building was however used as a radar station during WW2.
Although it is now converted into private flats, this inn was once a stop on the coaching route from Great Yarmouth to London. Eye lost much of its importance when the mainline to Norwich was routed through Diss instead. A branch line to Eye was an early casualty of the growth of the motor car.
The maltings at Snape had been built by the Garrett family in the 19th century. The matings were still in operation after WW2 as this photograph (taken in 1958) shows. Shortly afterwards it closed and was taken over by the composer Benjamin Britten of nearby Aldeburgh as a Concert Hall.
This pretty Market Place is dominated by the 17th century Buttercross. Every morning from the age of five I alighted from the bus here on my way to school. What a delightful start to life; but I only felt dread as I headed down the street to Arithmetic as first lesson!
The Martin Luther had spent most of her working life on the river Medway carrying cement into London. She spent her retirement settled in the mud on the river Blyth at Southwold. By 1960 she had been broken up.
Lowestoft was once a thriving fishing port. It may have reached its zenith in the days of sail, but it was still flourishing when I was a young man. Regular fish trains went from there to Norwich and beyond. Will BREXIT lead to a revival of fishing? Don’t hold your breath.
The canon were by no means new when the government approved their purchase in the 18th century, having originally been commissioned in Elizabeth I’s reign. They were last fired in 1842 to celebrate the birth of the Prince who was later to become Edward VII. Unfortunately a young man had his head blown off – perhaps the only fatality these guns ever produced.
Much excavation followed the discovery of North Sea Gas in the 1960s, to create a National Grid of gas pipes. Gas was brought ashore in North-East Norfolk, and from there distributed across the country.
Bungay Bypass now runs along this stretch of the railway line; a few years earlier the line between here and Harleston was intact. Then there was a daily goods train from Tivetshall on the London mainline to Beccles. Passenger services had been withdrawn on the Waveney Valley line in 1952. By 1966 there were no steam engines left in East Anglia, but the line still reached to the water tower in Bungay.
This is a recent view of Aldeburgh. As you can see there is a flourishing inshore fishing trade in the town. For reasons we have already examined, all boats have to be launched from the beach at Aldeburgh.
Saxtead mill was built in the late 18th century and was last used to grind corn in 1947. It remains in working order. When I went in the early 60s you could only access the upper floors by climbing long wobbly wooden ladders. I am sure that modern Health an Safety legislation has caused these to be replaced by rather more permanent structures. The young lady with a camera in the picture is my sister Tig, but the moped has nothing to do with our family.
These two enamel signs used to stand outside the door of Miss Hurr’s shop in Southwold High Street. She no longer sold Elliman’s Embrocation when this picture was taken, although I understand it is still available. By the 1960s her main stock-in-trade was kites, buckets and spades.
This is how the house used to be furnished when it belonged to the Vanneck family; they had built the property in the 18th century, but disposed of the house and contents in about 1969. The view below is of the exterior. The house was briefly open to the public in 1970/71.