On Saturday, I visited far-flung Leiston, a small town in East Suffolk situated a couple of miles from the North Sea.
The purpose of my trip was to see the mighty Dulwich Hamlet take on the local team – see the match photos here – but I made time from the pub to go on a quick wander around the town. Here’s some photos from my travels.
Leiston was once a thriving manufacturing town dominated by Richard Garrett & Sons, owners of the “Leiston Works,” who made steam tractors and a huge variety of cast and machined metal products in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The company also made munitions during both world wars, while nearby RAF Leiston played an important role in World War II, sending fighter squadrons of the American 357th Fighter Group to fight the Luftwaffe.
More recently, the town’s economy has been dominated by the two nuclear power stations on the coast at Sizewell: the now decommissioned Magnox reactor of Sizewell A and the more modern Pressurised Water Reactor of Sizewell B. [—]
Since the 1960s, Leiston has been home to the Summerhill School, the was the first major “free school” in the UK, where children are not required to attend classes and discipline is given by pupil self-government meetings.
The nattily punned Reactor Tattoos on the High Street.
Leiston Trading Post antique store.
The interesting Victorian architecture of the White Horse restaurant.
Beers on offer at the Leiston & District Constitutional Club on Waterloo Ave.
There’s a small park opposite the club, guarded by these intricate iron gates.
Tiny goals in the park.
If I hadn’t been at the football match, the Knodishall Village Fun Day and Dog Show would have proved an irresistible attraction.
The Alde Valley School Sixth Form Centre.
Vintage car waits at the lights opposite the White Horse Hotel on Station Road.
Sunday night is quiz night. Another attraction I was going to miss.
With the Leiston Works closing in 1981, the site was reused as a mixture of housing, flats and industrial uses, with the Long Shop Museum displaying the history, vehicles and products of the works.
The museum is dedicated to the history of Richard Garrett & Sons who manufactured agricultural machinery, steam engines and trolleybuses in Leiston.
The Grade II listed museum building dates from 1853 and was originally used as an engineering workshop for the manufacture of portable steam engines.
Two steam engines share a building.
Carolyn needlecraft store on the High Street.
The somewhat trashed frontage of Bertie’s Barber Shop.
Leiston United Church.
There was an awful lot of England flags and Union Jacks flapping around Leiston.
Furniture store close to Leiston FC’s ground.
Like most small towns around the UK, there was a fair few closed shops on the High Street.
Housed in a half-timbered building, Leiston Film Theatre is the oldest purpose-built cinema in Suffolk and is owned and run by Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council.
Leiston Film Theatre (or Leiston Picture House as it was originally named) first opened in October 1914 and has stayed open ever since.
The venue now boasts a 294 seater auditorium with Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround EX sound and Dolby 3D, and there’s a series of celebrations lined up to commemorate its 100th anniversary .
High Street view with theatre on the left.
Old blacksmiths’ sign.
Posters inviting passers-by to “Look who’s 21 today” and an appeal for a couple of missing dogs.
Leiston FC poster in the town.
My kind of road.
Local band poster.
CD fair in the Leiston United church.
Names in the brickwork, Leiston United church.
A lone cyclist passes the offices of the grandly named ‘East Coast Promotions.’
Leiston Home Guard Social Club in Victory Rd.
Run down (but still open) garage in Leiston.
Read the match report from the Leiston vs Dulwich Hamlet game here:
There’s dancing on the grass as Dulwich Hamlet claim victory in faraway Leiston
More photos on urban75: Photos of Suffolk