KELLY’S LOWESTOFT 1896


LOWESTOFT is a bathing place, seaport, municipal borough, the seat of an extensive fishery, and a market town and parish, with a terminal station on the Great Eastern railway, 113 miles from London by road, 116 by rail via Ipswich and East Suffolk branch of the Great Eastern railway, and 149.5 by rail via Norwich, 10 south from Yarmouth, 23.25 south-east from Norwich, 10.5 east from Beccles and 44 north-east from Ipswich, and is in the Northern division of the county and head of a county court district, in the union, hundred and petty sessional division of Mutford and Lothingland, rural deanery of Lothingland, archdeaconry of Sutfolk and diocese of Norwich; the town stands upon the most easterly point of land in England, on a lofty eminence and commands an extensive view of the German Ocean.

The progress of this place since the formation of the harbour and railway has been very rapid. Further impetus has been given to the trade of the town by the East Suffolk section of the Great Eastern railway, which connects it with Ipswich, and forms a shorter route to London. A direct line to Yarmouth has been made via Marsh Junction, near St. Olaves and distant 14.5 miles.

The harbour is formed by two piers, 1,300 feet in length, inclosing, with the old harbour, an area of 20 acres: at the extremity of each pier is a lighthouse, showing a red light from sundown to sunrise: a dock was opened in October, 1883, north of the north pier, with entrance through the latter, and comprises between 10 and 11 acres: this dock, with its fish market, is for drift-net boats, and the old market is used for trawl-net boats. The trawl basin was extended in 1802 in a westerly direction, and now occupies the whole barrel plain, making the new trawl basin about double the size of the old one; this work became necessary owing to the large number of smacks fishing from Lowestoft: the inner harbour consists of a piece of water 2 mile, in length, communicating with the river Waveney, by which merchandise can be conveyed to Beccles and Norwich: it has been of the greatest benefit to the coasting trade as a harbour of refuge, many lives and much property having been saved which otherwise would have been swallowed up in the waters of the German Ocean. Lowestoft is now an independent port; and in 1852 its limits were extended from League Hole to Thorpness and a legal quay appointed: fishing boats and their implements are distinguished by the letters L.T.; the Port Sanitary Authority was constituted by the Act 42 and 43, Vict. c. 103 (1879), and there is a Custom house.

On a point of land about 120 feet above the sea, to the north of the harbour, is the Upper Lighthouse, a circular tower, erected in 1676, rebuilt by order of the Trinity House in 1873, and opened on the 16th of February, 1894; it has a dioptric revolving light produced by a powerful lamp fixed in the centre of an octagonal drum of lenses, with a revolution every four minutes, showing a white light, visible for many miles every half-minute; a fixed red light is thrown on to a buoy at the edge of Corton Band, On the Denes beneath stands the Low Lighthouse, which is an iron structure: the light is occulted every half minute for the space of five seconds.

The herring fishery, for which this town has a growing reputation, begins about a fortnight before Michaelmas, and lasts till Martinmas, but a quantity of other fish are also brought here, and a considerable number of boats now frequent the port since the additional dock and other facilities have been provided: before the commencement of the herring season, many fishermen are employed in the mackerel fishery. The Fish Market consists of extensive ranges of buildings adjoining the harbour, where the fish are landed and sold by auction, and whence they are dispatched to the curring houses in the neighhourhood and to London and other parts by railway, lines of rail being laid across the streets into the market; there are, in fact, two markets, one solely for mackerel and herrings, and the other for white fish; and about 1,ooo smacks belong to this port. The manufactures of the town consist of ropes, twine and oilcake; sailmaking, boat
and ship building and coach building are also carried on and there are large oil and flour mills; timber, ice, coals, pickles and preserved meats &c. are imported. The total value of the imports of foreign and colonial merchandise into Lowestoft in 1895 was £121.414, and of exports £12.395.

In 1895 the sailing vessels entered and cleared from this port for foreign trade were 420, with a tonnage of 30,456, and 55 steam vessels with 26,584 tons; in the coasting trade, 326 sailing vessels entered the port, of 42,640 tons, and 213 steam ships, 17,875 tons.

The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port were 532, with a tonnage of 23,493, of which only 9 were steam ships; 469 boats of 18,156 tons were registered under the "Sea Fisheries pct, 1868" (31 and 32 and Vict c.45); and the number of resident men and boys employed in fishing about 3,000.

The town was incorporated by Royal Charter, dated August 29th, 1885, and comprises the parishes of Lowestoft and Kirkley within the boundary of the borough, which is divided into four wards; the corporation coning of a mayor, 8 aldermen and 24 councillors, who also act as the Urban Sanitary authority. A commission of the peace was granted to the borough 20 Sept.1893.

This popular watering Place consists of the old and new towns; the former is very straggling and being on an elevation, there are slopes and steps called "Scores " to the north beach. The declivity of the cliff here is covered with hanging gardens or terraces planted with trees and shrubs, and between these and the sea is a tract of land called "The Denes," with a large lake, golf and cricket grounds, and an extensive range of buildings appropriated to the curing of fish: the town is much frequented as a bathing place; the shore is composed of a firm sand, intermixed with shingle and very safe for bathing. The principal street of the old town is about a mile in length.

The new town or South Lowestoft, is in the parish of Kirkley: here the Esplanade, with its long row of semi-detached houses, commands a fine view of the sea, and the Marine parade and the Wellington esplanade are lined with houses of superior character; many of which are retained by county families for summer occupation. The Esplanade, 800 yards in length, and the South pier of the harbour, which it joins, form a promenade of great extent. The new and old towns are connected by a swing bridge across the harbour, with waiting rooms on either side for use during the passage of vessels. Gas and water are supplied by the Lowestoft Water, Gas and Market Company, established in 1853; the gas works are on the beach; the water is derived from an inland lake at Bunkers Hill, in the
parish of Lound, 5 miles north-west, and is pumped into a large covered reservoir, north of the town, holding 8,000,000 gallons.

The parish church of St. Margaret, half a mile west of the town, is a building of stone is the Perpendicular stye, 157 feet in length, and consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, porch with parvise over, at the west end of the south aisle, and a tower with spire, together 120 feet in height, and containing one bell; the tower, which is the oldest part of the church, dates from the first half of the 13th century : the nave, aisles, chancel and porch were built about 1483, and at this time the tower was raised and the spire, which is of wood, covered with lead, added: the length of the nave from the tower to where the rood screen anciently stood is 105 feet, and from thence to the east window 52 feet, making a total of 157 feet: on the east side of the porch are the remains of an old sundial, the ironwork of the gnomon still remaining: the entrance has some good grained vaulting, and a central boss carved with a representation of the Trinity: at the north-west angle of the tower is a long narrow opening, formerly used for storing processional crosses and banners: the tower arch is a very small one of the Decorated period : the font, though much mutilated, is a fine example of Perpendicular work: on the south side of the chancel are remains of a piscina and sedile : in the north aisle is the grave slab of Thomas Scroope, a Carmelite friar, sometime Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland: he resigned
the see in 1424, and, died at Lowestoft in 1491. aged 100 and was buried in the middle of the chancel: the slab is 8 feet 7 inches long by 3 feet 6 inches wide and had a brass with three canopies and side buttresses and a figure of the bishop: the stained east window was erected in 1891 as a memorial to Mrs. Youngman: the principal portion of the south window in the chancel was painted by Robert Allen, a native of Lowestoft, and presented to the church by him in 1822: there is a memorial window to Lady Smith, who died in 1877, having nearly completed her 104th year; and others to Mrs. Reeve, Mrs. Robert Reeve and Mrs.Preston: the church was thoroughly restored and resented in 1871, under the superintendence of Mr. J. L. Clemence F.R.I.B.A. at a cost of 5,000, when also an organ was erected at a cost of £475: there are 800 sittings. The register, which is in excellent preservation, dates from 1650; bound up with it is a complete list of the incumbents of this parish from 1308 to the present time. a The living is a rectory, average tithe rent-charge £250, a gross yearly value £522, with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Norwich, and held since 1869 by the Rev.Charles D'Aguilar Lawrence M.A. of Christ Church, Oxford, rural dean of Lothingland and hon. canon of Norwich.

St. Peter's, a chapel of ease to St. Margaret's, was built in 1833, and affords 700 sittings, of which 400 are free.

St. John the Evangelist's is an ecclesiastical parish, formed 19 Dec. 1854: the church, erected in 1853, at a cost of £5,600, on the south side of the harbour, is a t building of Kentish rag and Caen stone, in the Decorated style, from designs by Mr. J. L. Clemence s F.R.B.A. consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, aisle and tower at the north-east angle, with spire and containing 5 bells and an illuminated clock with chimes, all placed in the tower in 1887 at a total cost of £350: the aisle was added in 1883, at a cuss of £900: there are some stained windows: there are about 1,000 sittings. The register dates from the year 1854. The living is a vicarage, tithe rent-charge £352, gross yearly value £320, including 1 acre of glebe, with residence, in the gift of the Church Patronage Society, and held since 1896 by the Rev. James Christopher Garnett, at Hatfield Hall, Durham University.

Christ Church is an ecclesiastical parish, formed 13 Nov. 1865: the church, erected on the Denes in 1868, at a cost of £1.460, as a memorial to the Rev. Francis Cunningham, a former vicar, is a structure of white brick, with stone facings, in the Early English style, standing north and south, and consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and a south-east tower with spire containing 6 bells: in 1879, a large vestry and an organ chamber with organ were added: in July, 1879, a new aisle was erected at a cost of £950: there are about 730 sittings, of which 330 are free. The register dates from the year 1869. The living is a vicarage, gross yearly value £270, with residence, in the gift of five trustees, and held since 1890 by the Rev. David Dickson, of St. Aidans & surrogate.

The Catholic church is next to the Presbytery, No. 44 Clapham road.

The Baptist chapel, in London road, was built in 1832 and will seat 450 person. There is a Particular Baptist chapel in Tonning street, built in 1860, and another at Kirkley, erected in 1878. The Congregational church, London road, erected in 1855, affords 650 sittings. The Wesleyan chapel, High street, built in 1862 is all edifice of white brick with Caen stone dressings in the Italian style, from designs by Mr. J. L. Clemence, and will seat 1,250 persons. The Methodist Free church, London road, built in 1878 at a cost of £8,200, is of brick and stone in the Italian style, from designs by Mr. John Johnson, architect, of London, and has a tower with spire, together 100 feet in height: there are 800 sittings.

The Primitive Methodist chapel, St. Peter's street, built in 1876, seats about 200. The Primitive Methodist chapel, Mill road, erected in i8yo, has 320 sittings. The Primitive Methodist chapel, Norwich road, built in 1872, seats about 80. The Swedenborgian,or New Jerusalem Church, Arnold street, was erected in 1867, and affords 250 sittings, The Christian Meeting Room is in Chapel Street. The Sailors' Bethel, Commercial road, was built in 1864 at a cost of nearly £700, and will hold 500.

Cemetery of 11.5acres, on the Beccles road, was formed in 1885; it contains a mortuary chapel, and is under the control of the Town Council.

The Town Hall, erected in 1857, is a building in the Italian style, from the design of Mr. J. L. Clemence, but in 1876 was considerably altered: at the angle of the building towards the south is a campanile, containing an illuminated clock and bell: the large hall is ornamented with pilasters, supporting a bold cornice and segmental decorated ceiling; three of the windows are filled with stained glass, presented by the late Sir Morton Peto bart.: that at the west end is intended to commemorate the union of France and England, during the Crimean war of 1854-6, and was designed by the late Mr. John Thomas, and includes in the centre a representation of the tournament of the Field of the Cloth of Gold,7-25 June, 1520, with effigies of St. Denis of France and St. George of England; in the base are the respective shields of both nations, and the national flags, together with medallion portraits of H.M. Queen Victoria and H.R.H. the late Prince Consort, the Emperor Napoleon III. and the Empress Eugenie: the whole is surrounded by a rich bordering of roses and fleur-de-lis alternated: this window was exhibited at the Paris Exhibition, 1855: the two smaller windows contain respectively the arms of Sir Morton Peto bart. as lord of the manor, and the arms of the town of Lowestoft.

The market and rights were transferred to the corporation in 1887: the market place is in High street: the market is on Wednesday, and annual fairs are held on May 13 and Oct.11 for small wares.

There are a number of ancient charities and six almshouses, built in 1838, for six of the poorest master fishermen of Lowestoft.

The Hospital, erected in 1881-2, at a cost, including site, of about £7,000, is a structure of red brick and stone in a plain Italian style, from designs by Mr. J. L. Clemence: the principal front towards the south is about 150 feet long and two stories in height: in the centre on the first story is an open arcade or verandah, intended for the use of convalescents: the dispensary for out-door patients is on the ground floor at the east end of the building, and is approached from Tennyson road: the building also comprises waiting room, consulting room and board room.

The Small Pox and Fever Hospital or Sanitorium, in Rotterdam road, was built in 1893, and contains 30 beds,

The Convalescent Home, near Belle Vue Park. Was established in 1877, for persons of either sex likelv to be benefitted by sea bathing or a temporary residence at the seaside: it is primarily intended for Norwich, East Norfolk and East Suffolk, but it is open to patients from other localities: there are beds for about 54 persons.

The premises of the Young Men's Christian Association were built in 1886, at a cost of £1,500, including furnishing, and, contains a news room, library and a gymnasium.

There are two Masonic Lodges here, and one Royal Arch Chapter. St. Margaret's Lodge meets at the Royal Hotel on the first monday in every month, Walter James, W.M. the Unity Lodge, at the Masonic Hall, on the Tuesday before full moon in each month, Frederick Spashett, W.M. and the Royal Arch Chapter, every three months at the Suffolk Hotel, T. Wilson Ward, M.E.Z.

The County Police Station here was built in 1875.

On the beach north of the harbour are the hot and cold sea-water baths of Mr. David Cook. There are also hot and cold sea-water baths at South Lowestoft.

Belle Vue Park, on the summit of the cliffs, a short distance beyond the Upper Lighthouse, and opened in 1874, was formed out of what originally was an open heath, covered with gorse; several acres have been inclosed and tastefully laid out with paths and terraces and planted, with flowers and shrubs, intermixed with the gorse, and the site affords fine views seawards. At the foot of the cliffs is a fountain, the water of which has medicinal properties. The Ravine Bridge here, presented to the town by William Youngman esq. first Mayor of Lowestoft, and designed by Mr.Parkinson, engineer of the Eastern and Midlands railway, with a span Of 70 feet, and an elevation of 30 feet from the ravine: the width between the rails is 7 fee; at the park end are two stones with inscriptions let into the brickwork.

The area of the parish is 1.443 acres of land, 56 of tidal water and 41 of foreshore; rateable value,£77.609; and the population in 1861 was 9,534, and in 1871 was 13,623, and in 1881 was 16,755; the population of the borough in
1881 was 19,696, in 1891 was 23,143.


KIRKLEY, otherwise South Lowestoft, is a parish adjoininq Lowestoft, and commands a fine view of th German ocean. The church of St. Peter, situated on a hill and serving as a landmark to mariners, after having lain in ruins since the time of the Protectorate, was partly rebuilt in 1750, and is an edifice of flint with stone facings, in a quasi-Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, north and south porches, side chapel and an embattled western tower 72 feet in height, containing one bell: in 1896:in E.K. Harvey esq. presented a clock, which strikes the quarters and hours on a deep-toned bell: in 1875 the nave was rebuilt and divine service resumed by the Rev. William Watson English D.D. rector (1875-85), and the restoration was completed by the Rev.Eustace Tennyson D’Eyncourt Jesse M.A. late rector (1885-90), the church being enlarged by the erection of a side chapel, north isle and north porch, and in 1887 a south porch was erected by Edward Kerrison Harvey esq. to the memory of his wife,and a brass, with an inscription placed in it: at the same time a screen with well-carved figures, and a cross 7.5 feet in height was erected to her memory, a memorial brass being also placed by her daughters: in the porch is a brass cross inscribed to the Rev. Francis Drocus Lempriere M.A. a former rector, d.23 Oct. 1875, to whom there is also a memorial window, erected by his widow in 1887: a new organ has been erected, at a cost of £2,000, and a lectern presented by Edward Kerrison Harvey esq.: there are 1,100 sittings. The registers date from the year 1799, having been previous to this date incorporated with those of Pakefield. The living is a rectory, average tithe rent-charge £71, gross yearly value £133, with 30 acres of glebe, in the gift of Henry James esq. and held since 1890 by the Rev. Charles Tregenna M.A. of Worcester College, Oxford, and barrister-at-law. The Cemetery, 4 acres in extent, was formed in 1880; it has two mortuary chapels, and is under the control of the Town Council acting as a Burial Board. An allotment of land, awarded at the time of the inclosure, now lets for £170 a year, which amount is distributed in coals to the poor, and helps to support provident clubs. There are many good lodging-houses here. Mrs. Mary Ethelind Franey is lady of the manor. The principal landowners are Messrs.Lucas Brothers, Thomas Hubbard Leggett esq. and John Wilson esq. The area is 547 acres of land, 4 of tidal water and 27 of fore- shore; rateable value, £21.645; the population in 1881 was 2,941, and in 1891 was 4,189.

Parish Clerk, Harry Ford.