Southwold scenes (part one)
Photographs around Southwold, Suffolk
(Photos/words © urban75, May 2007)
Stuck out at the end of the A1095, Southwold exudes an old world charm, and a trip here is like stepping back into a sepia-toned world of brightly coloured beach huts, cream teas, little shops and sunny picnics.
Sadly, the sun vanished for good seconds after we arrived in Southwold and the temperature plummeted so low that I had to seek out the nearest charity shop to buy a warm jacket.
There wasn't a great deal of choice available, so I settled for the only thing that came close to fitting: a slightly too tight waterproof golf-branded jacket, giving me a bit of a 1970s look.
I hate bloody golf but at least the jacket was relatively subdued in a dark blue finish, and it was so cold it turned out to be the best £5.80 I'd spent in a long time.
The only sun we saw was the night we cycled into town and so I've only got a few photos of Southwold against a blue sky, but it was still a great place to explore.
Here's a photo of the back of some beach huts by the pier.
Deserted benches by the pier. The sea has played a major part in shaping Southwold's history.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book as an important fishing port and given a town charter from Henry VII in 1489, Southwold's hopes of becoming an important port were dashed when a shingle bar built up across the harbour mouth.
The sun was still out, but there was a freezing cold stiff breeze blasting off the North Sea.
Southwold has a permanent population of just 1,500 people, with 450 of its 1,250 properties being second homes or holiday lets.
Most of its population seemed to be of an eldery persuasion, so pill-poppin' hell raisers looking for some hardcore techno action are advised to holiday elsewhere.
Rather bizarrely stuck in the middle of the town is Southwold's famous lighthouse.
Built in 1890 and manned until 1938, the 31m structure is still in active service, with red sectors warning shipping of shoals to the north and the Sizewell Bank to the south. Trinity House
Southwold has a timeless air, with barely any modern architecture.
The row of houses opposite cunningly conceal the machinery of the Adnams brewery, so don't be surprised if you hear odd grinding noises coming from behind the doors!
The row reminded me of facade and dummy houses at 23-24 Leinster Gardens, London W2.
Southwold's attractive Post Office.
At times, walking around Southwold felt like we'd entered a 1950s timewarp.
What looks like an old ship's figurehead on the front of Douglas House is in fact a fake made some time after WW2 by a former resident, Cyril Cronin.
She's known as 'Polly' on account of the materials used to create her!
Another view of the lighthouse, built from 1,500,000 half bricks delivered from Halesworth via the Southwold railway and then transported on-site by a fleet of 15 horse-drawn wagons owned by local coal merchant, Thomas Moy & Co.
The lighthouse has a white and red set of lights flashing 4 times every 20 seconds which apparently makes it an 'occulting beacon' because its dark intervals are longer than its light ones.
Small market in the central square.
Another view of the main square with the Adnams Brewery-owned Swan Hotel in the background.
There's some fabulous architecture to be found wandering around Southwold.
Recreated by the efforts of the 300-strong Southwold Film Society, the Electric Picture Palace is a lovingly created replica based on Southwold's 1912 moving picture palace.
Sporting 66 authentic upholstered seats, box office, kiosk, circle and a rising cinema organ, the Palace was reopened by Monty Python star, Michael Palin.
Antique stores, Southwold.
Rickety old hut near the pier.
Curious heads on terraced houses in St Edmunds Terrace.
Detail from St Edmunds Terrace.
Gun Hill Beach Cafe.
Old delivery bike.
Old Corn Store.
Many of the houses in Southwold were painted in bright colours or jet black.
The impressive St Edmunds Church in Southwold, built in the 15th Century.
» St Edmunds Church, Southwold feature
After a hard day cycling around Suffolk, we settled down for some lovely pints of Adnams Explorer in the Lord Nelson. You can see the brewery from the pub!
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