the town and its people, have been shaped by the sea
- whether by erosion and flooding or by shipwreck,
lifesaving and fishing.
A half-model of 'Endurance', a 19th century 3-masted barque, made in about 1930 by Stanley Aldrich, a well-known local boat builder and model maker with a workshop in Ferry Road. More about him here
is famous for its sandy shores, colourful beach
huts and coastal charm.
But the powerful North Sea
has also brought the town death and destruction.
High tides and gale-force winds have periodically
caused devastating floods, while storms and
shifting sandbars are a constant threat to shipping.
November 2007, a storm surge combined
with an exceptionally high tide
threatened to deliver a repeat
of the 1953
floods. In the event there
was a 3-hour gap between surge
and tide and damage was limited.
Click the picture to enlarge.
century records list 283 shipwrecks
in Southwold’s Sole Bay. Local fishermen formed
Beach Companies to salvage valuables from sinking ships
and to pick up survivors.
Alongside this private enterprise, volunteers founded
the Southwold Lifeboat Society in 1840. Sam
May was among the most well-known lifeboatmen, serving
for many years aboard the lifeboat Alfred
1879 a sailor on the barque, 'Emma', occupied
himself during those long watches with
a little needlework. The captain was his
uncle, a Southwold man, and his handiwork
is now in our museum. It's well worth
looking at in more detail. Just click
sailing has never been safer. Southwold’s
opened in 1889, originally ran on oil
but the electric lights used today are
visible for 24 sea-miles. Even so, the
sea still makes its presence felt. Southwold’s
efforts to protect its coastline mean
it has so far survived the erosion that
has claimed neighbouring villages.
Use the links below
to explore Southwold’s sea stories
in more detail.
lighthouse, built in 1889, towers over the town
at 30 m high. Discover its fascinating history
by clicking the photo.
LEGEND IN HIS OWN LIFEBOAT
the picture to find out who he was
the church that fell into the sea
LUCILLA & AUGUSTA
Two ships' figureheads.On the left is 'Lucilla' who
was found washed up on Southwold beach. She was carved around 1820,
probably for a ship engaged in the fruit and wine trade with Mediterranean
countries - hence the bunch of grapes which she holds.
On the right is Augusta. You can read more about her on our SHIPWRECKS page