The fictional Walmington-on-Sea, a supposedly typical English seaside resort, where all the characters live & work, who comprise the Homeguard that is Dad's Army, takes many of its scene settings from Thetford, Norfolk. However, Thetford isn't a seaside resort, so when an episode was filmed featuring a seaside setting, the cast & crew had to travel all the way to the Suffolk coast. Lowestoft was chosen to represent Walmington-on-Sea in Sons 0f The Sea, where Captain Mainwaring demonstrates to his men, the proper way to board a rowing boat, & also where Hodges is seen set adrift & splashing about...
On a wall near the entrance to Martellos Cafe in Sparrows Nest Park, was this plaque, which I took a quick snap of, before dashing into the cafe. The rain was getting heavier by the minute. So, I didn't really take much notice of the information, and forgot about it.
Leaving the park and crossing to Belle Vue Park, I spotted a plaque and sign 'Cart Score' - took a quick snap, and registered some interest, with a 'note to self' to read the info later - I just wanted to get back to our warm and dry B&B!
That evening we set off in search of food and drink, and this led us down 'The historical High Street' where there were many more such plaques at the entrance to these alleyways that led off the High Street- The Scores! (it wasn't until much later that I re-discovered 'The Scores Trail' map in my camera!
"The Scores are a unique feature of Lowestoft. They are a series of narrow lanes created over the years by people wearing paths in the soft, sloping cliff as they travelled between the historic High Street and the Beach Village. The origin of the word 'score' is thought to be a corruption of 'scour', or possibly from the Old English 'scora', which means to make or cut a line" This info is from Lowestoft.co.uk
to be continued....
From the sea wall, we could see Gulliver (The largest onshore wind turbine - I should imagine that it is credited with being the UK's 'Most Easterly onshore wind turbine' too)!
Well we had read about 'Gulliver' standing at 126 metres tall - so when we actually saw it, we were quite underwhelmed!
As onshore wind turbines have been springing up all around us in recent years, I'm sure that some of our local ones are just as tall (or not too far off). I'm guessing that Gulliver was the highest on shore turbine at the time of its construction (December 2004) It was Suffolks first commercial Wind Turbine. For more Gulliver stats and facts CLICK HERE
Gulliver is sited at Lowestoft Ness (or Ness Point) - All together now......... The UK's Most Easterly Point!
Adjacent to Gulliver, is the Orbis Renewable Energy Centre - establishing Lowestoft is a centre of Excellence for renewable energy.
I'm afraid that the rain showed no sign of stopping, so rather than continue along to Lowestoft Ness, we decided that a pot of tea had a stronger attraction for us, so we headed for the cafe in Sparrows Nest Park.
We missed seeing the Euroscope "a unique circular platform that shows the distances of major European towns and Great Britain's other cardinal points". ..... but it WAS a very good pot of tea!
Leaving Sparrows Nest Gardens at the exit near the Maritime Museum, we headed for the beach - It was still drizzling with rain, but it's 'one of those unspoken rules' that you have to go and look at the sea!
Cutting across an open space (Which I now know is the Denes) I spotted these info boards (pics 2-4), which marked part of the Maritime Heritage Trail (I'm afraid that I can't find any info about this trail, although I've found that The North Denes are part of The circular Lowestoft Train Station walk) Some of the information below is from these boards.
This area would have been a hive of activity, particularly when it's fishing industry was at its peak, in the early 1900's. Nets would be hung out to dry on rails and posts, which can still be seen here today. Also in my photo are the old fish and net huts, which are used as business premises now.
Along the pathside were discarded rusting anchors - a legacy from the Beach Companies. Their main business was salvage - recovering (or 'swiping') anchors and cable that had broken away from ships. This was quite a lucrative enterprise, as frequent gales on this coastline meant that ships would gather off shore to await calmer winds to enable them to continue past Lowestoft Ness (Britains most Easterly point). The salvaged anchors were then sold to the anchorless ships at a considerable profit!
The men also acted as pilots - guiding ships through these unfamiliar waters, and also as Life savers. Their boats were of a design that was durable and 'streamlined for speed' They were about 50feet long , open and known as Yoles or Yawls.
The path is the site of the old Rope Walk. At one time, each port town would have a Rope Walk - a long and straight path or lane, where lengths of raw material were laid out to be spun into rope, then they'd be formed and closed. These would be used in the fishing and sailing industries mainly.
By 1898, there were 250 sailing drifters registered in Lowestoft. Sailing trawlers known as 'smacks' measured about 70-80ft, each carrying a mile and a half of rigging numbered over 300 by 1909 - So that's a LOT of rope needed.
The hemp strands were spun into A Yarn - (the origin of the saying 'Spinning a Yarn')
Several yarns were twisted to make A Strand
3 Strands = 1 rope width
The standard length for a British Naval Rope was 1,000 ft (305 metres).
Some information on Lowestoft Rope making from the Maritime Museum site
Separating the Denes from the sea, is a sea wall with drainage channels - off shore are huge sandbanks, a further sea defence that offers some protection for Lowestoft and Yarmouth. Large green buoys indicate the west edge of the sand bank.
Apparently, whenever there are violent North Westerly storms around the Shetland Islands (off the Scottish North West coast), the winds prevent normal tides from flowing out of the North Sea, leading to abnormally high tided levels.
The sea wall was constructed in 1947. Six years later, the sea rose to such a level, that it swept round and over the wall.
Looking for some place to escape the persistant rain, we decided to visit this museum with free admission. Unfortunately it's only open Mon/Wed/Friday 09.00 -12.00 (subject to availability of volunteer staff), so we were a few hours too late.
There was a bit of interest outside though - especially the information about Sparrows Nest. There was an Anderson shelter, and some plane parts.
Near the entrance is a door, with a sign stating that a time capsule is buried there - this was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of VE day and the opening of the Lowestoft War Memorial Museum on 7th May 1995.
Also near the entrance is a black painted mine - a common site at coastal resorts, when they have been converted into donations boxes - One of my earliest memories is of being lifted up to put a coin into the slot of one of these at Whitby. Realising that this museum was run by volunteers, and that a nearby poster explained that they were raising funds for a wheel chair lift to enable these visitors access to the first floor display areas of the adjacent War Memorial Museum and RNPS museum too, I reached for my purse. Surprisingly, there was no visible coin slot! A bit of a 'missed opportunity' - Especially as the Maritime Museum (where you pay an entrance fee) has one such 'donations mine'
For more information on the RNPS check the web page below, where there is some more information about this museum
Adjacent to Belle Vue Park, are the Sparrows Nest Gardens. These are named after Robert Sparrow (one of the founders of the Lowestoft Lifeboat Society) who built a house here between 1820-30 (Where the tea rooms are sited now) - it was once known as Cliff Cottage, but was renamed 'Sparrows Nest' in 1897 during the celebrations for Queen Victorias Diamond Jubilee, when Lowestoft Council bought the estate for Public use.
this pleasant park is home to THREE museums! - The Royal Navy Patrol Service (RNPS), Lowestoft War Museum and The East Suffolk Maritime Museum. It's also the base of the Lowestoft Cine and Camcorder Club.
During WW2, the park was taken over by the RNPS, the Pavillion Theatre ( 1913- 1988) became its HQ and the park became HMS Europa
A pleasant (licensed) cafe, with lovely views from its upper floor, A band stand, gardens, bowling greens (The UK's most easterly Bowling Club (founded 1905) and a putting green are some of the attractions. Apparently there is a pub here too (The Sparrows Nest) which claims to be 'The UK's Most Easterly public House - Although the Royal Falcon in the historic High Street just pips it to the post for this 'honour'
We entered the park through the sheltered building, down windy paths (probably not suitable for those with mobility problems. (There is a level entrance from the road next to the Maritime Museum)
WC's next to the Martello Cafe.
We enjoyed a pot of tea here (and a place to escape from the rain) later that afternoon
Our B&B was a few minutes walk from Belle Vue Park, so we headed here -In the pouring rain!
The Lowestoft Naval Memorial is situated in a pleasant park (and on a clear day you have panoramic views of the coastline from here!)
The memorial commemorates the Officers and men of Lowestofts Royal Naval Patrol Service who 'Died in the defence of their countryand have no grave but the sea' during the 1939-45 war.
The memorial was built (and is now maintained) by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. A nearby plaque informs that the names are recorded in order of year of death and rank. A printed register is kept at the entrance lodge and also in the Town Hall.
The object of the game is self explanatory and has many levels, read on for a description of how to play - the bigger your vehicle, the more taxing it gets.
LEVEL 1 - PLANNING STAGE
1. Locate Lowestoft town centre on a map. Don't be too specific about which road you take, they're all the same.
2. Pack essentials for your day out - whatever food, cd's, books and toys for the kids you pack, double it. Trust me, you'll not be sorry.
3. Fill up your tank.
4. Leave an hour earlier than planned.
5. Off you go!
LEVEL 2 - THE FUN BEGINS!
6. A mile or two from the town centre is where the game becomes most complex, the object of this level is to a) keep your temper b) not lose the will to live and c) make sure there's no fatalities in the back seat as the kids try to throttle oneother out of sheer boredom.
7. Watch out for the 'guess where I'm going' brigade.
8. As nobody ever indicates in Lowestoft, you take your life in your hands as you attempt to second guess which roundabout exit other drivers are going to take. The rule is, if they indicate, they're not locals.
9. Work out which way you're meant to be going. No, seriously, there's some one way systems in place that make even the hardiest driver break out into a cold sweat.
10. Sit in traffic.
11. Move an inch or two occasionally.
12. Repeat step 11 indefinitely.
LEVEL 3 - LOCATE A PARKING SPACE - WARNING, IF YOU HAVE A DODGY HEART, TURN BACK NOW
13. Once you've navigated the hair raising roundabouts, narrow roads, death defying cyclists, nightmare one way systems and two mile traffic jams, you'll be entering the 'parking space lottery zone' level.
14. You'll be glad you know the one way systems like the back of your hand because you'll need to circumnavigate them again. And possibly again.
15. Repeat above til blue in the face. Or until you find a parking space, whichever comes soonest.
16. Beware of side roads! Some days they have parking restrictions and some days they don't.
17. Congratulations! You've now found a parking space!
A new feature on lowestoft Seafront is the fountains which keep the kids amused for hours.
This used to be a car park ,but is now for pedestrians only which makes it safer and more pleasent for the public.
Along the beach there is a boulevard where you can have a nice stroll. The beach itself is clean and it is not that busy. Try on a warm day, whenever there is a warm day in Britain :-)