Southwold – a Georgian Seaside Town

Southwold in Suffolk is a lovely Georgian seaside town and we have spent a few days this month renting a cottage by the sea. As we walked around the town I took a few photographs of the Georgian architecture. There are some very interesting buildings and we thoroughly enjoyed walking through the streets licking our chocolate ice creams before having a swim in the sea. That doesn’t happen often!

People began arriving in Southwold by sea 3000 years ago.  The Romans came in 43 AD, followed by the Angles and Saxons. Next the Vikings and then the Normans. The town has gone through many ups and downs and probably the worst was a great fire which struck Southwold in 1659. Much of the town was burnt to the ground. After the fire new people arrived and many went into the brewing industry. John Kirby, who wrote the ‘Suffolk Traveller’ in 1735 mentions Southwold’s springs of good water. This was probably one of the reasons why the beer was so good. There was also a thriving salt industry and of course the shipping business. Sail makers and rope makers had traded since the earliest times and continued to flourish into the nineteenth century. Flour milling started in medieval times and continued into the nineteenth century. There were many windmills in Southwold. It is a very windy place!

During the mid 17th century the town was on alert for French privateers. The town has always been vulnerable to attack from the sea.

During the First World War the people of Southwold, on a still night, could hear the guns from the Allied front. They were only 80 miles away.

By the turn of the 18th century Southwold had become a holiday destination and has continued to be right up to the present day. There are lovely walks, cycle rides and plenty of fresh fish to eat.

In 1953 the town experienced gale force northerly winds, a massive deluge hit the coast and the town was badly flooded. Five inhabitants lost their lives. Since then there have been storms and only last year, 2013, the coast was hammered by huge seas which increased the erosion which is such a problem in Suffolk.

The town is small but below are some of the many Georgian buildings and mention of a few of the local inhabitants.

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