Some History of Lowestoft, Suffolk
In a sea-side down in Suffolk, in the cellar space of one of the shops, is a smaller street, where several old houses are gathered around a central courtyard. In the centre of the courtyard is a covered well. The houses are old, and very small, some of them still have windows in them, both up and down. Some doors are locked and have never been opened, some are left open as people fled the area.
Beside them in one corner looking out over the cliff is a Royal Naval sewing room. It's a self contained unit. Sealed. The owner of the shop hasn't the keys. You can see through the windows the pristine condition of the machinery and the shelves. Again left as the workers scurried to cover during World War 2.
I wonder if everything would immediately deteriate if they were to open the door and let the fresh air in? I wonder if the whole space would come crashing down if they were to release the presure above the door frame?
The owner says it's very dangerous and only allows a few visitors down. She said she was thinking of closing the tours down. Perhaps our tour was one of the last ones to see it.
The whole area is very historical, someone told me that they suspect another naval sewing room is in the area, lost since the napolonic times. I'm not sure if this is true. The cliffs though far back from the beach are pitted with holes, entrances and exits to the cellar systems.
Under another shop I found a huge abbey style arch. I knew it was there since I saw a picture of it, at a library exhibition. The shop owner there told me that as a boy: he and a friend had got lost in the cellars and had proceeded from under one of the town centre pubs right up the cliff until they hit fresh air near Sparrow's Nest Gardens.
He claimed that the monastory I heard was about there, lost in Henry's abolution fit - wasn't ever there. All a mass of hogwash! Lots of legends say it was, an early one is that of the Nun and Monk who fell in love. As a punishment, they were chained to different sides of the tunnel walls, where they could see each other. Then left to die.
There is a huge entrance to hole under one of the larger houses, on one of the terrances. It's presumed to be a smuggler's route to the public house next door. I wondered if it led to the old Naval Sewing Room, as this was lost a long time ago.
The terrace gardens were a historically a speciality of the town and could be seen miles out to see with their waterfall of coloured flowers.
On the opposite side of the town, the archeologists discovered the remains of dinosaurs, and early signs of man. Beside the History Center - they are clearing out old building sites where I saw remains of toys played with in the early to mid 1900's.
The smuggler's routes were supposed to go out as far as St. Margaret's Church built well outside the early centre. The town was unfortunate to get a bout of the black death twice in it's history.
Some distance away is a brewery, and you can take a tour through that, and into the cellars, where you can look into the wonders of early bread ovens, which were often used either to pass messages or to keep secret things in. It's amazing to consider the older towns - it's not just what you see on the top - there is more to the story of the town below the surface.