LOWESTOFT (/ˈloʊ.əstɒft/ , /ˈloʊstɒft/ or /ˈloʊstəf/ ) is
a town in the English county of
Suffolk . The town is on the North
Sea coast and is the most easterly settlement of the
United Kingdom .
It is 110 miles (177 km) north-east of
London , 38 miles (61 km)
Ipswich and 22 miles (35 km) south-east of
Norwich . It
is situated on the edge of
The Broads system and is the major
settlement within the district of
Waveney with a population of 71,010
Some of the earliest evidence of settlement in Britain has been found
Lowestoft and the town has a long history. It is a port town which
developed due to the fishing industry , and a traditional seaside
resort . It has wide, sandy beaches, two piers and a number of other
tourist attractions. Whilst its fisheries have declined, the
development of oil and gas exploitation in the southern
North Sea in
the 1960s led to the development of the town, along with nearby Great
Yarmouth , as a base for the industry. This role has since declined
and the town has begun to develop as a centre of the renewable energy
industry within the East of England.
* 1 History
* 2 Government
* 3 Geography
* 4 Demography
* 5 Economy
* 5.1 Traditional industries
* 5.2 Modern economy
* 5.3 Retailing
* 5.4 Tourism
* 5.5 Redevelopment
* 6 Culture and community
* 7 Landmarks
* 7.2 Lifeboat station
* 8 Transport
* 9 Education
* 10 Sport and leisure
* 11 Notable people
* 12 References
* 13 External links
Following the discovery of flint tools in the cliffs at
Lowestoft in 2005, the human habitation of the
can be traced back 700,000 years. This establishes
Lowestoft as one of
the earliest known sites for human habitation in Britain.
The area was settled during the
Neolithic , Bronze and Iron Ages and
during the Roman and Saxon periods, with a Saxon cemetery producing a
number of finds at Bloodmoor Hill in south Lowestoft. The
settlement's name is derived from the
Viking personal name Hlothver
and toft, a
Viking word for 'homestead'. The town's name has been
spelled variously: Lothnwistoft, Lestoffe, Laistoe, Loystoft and
At the Domesday survey the village was known as Lothuwistoft and was
relatively small with a population of around 16 households comprising,
in 1086, three families, ten smallholders and three slaves. The
manor formed part of the king\'s holding within the Hundred of
Lothingland and was worth about four geld in tax income. Roger Bigod
was the tenant in chief of the village. The village of
have been located close to Lowestoft.
Lowestoft became an increasingly important fishing
town. The industry grew quickly and the town grew to challenge its
Great Yarmouth . The trade, particularly fishing for
herring , continued to act as the town's main identity until the 20th
In June 1665 the
Battle of Lowestoft , the first battle of the Second
Anglo-Dutch War , took place 40 miles (64 km) off the coast of the
town. The battle resulted in a significant victory for the English
fleet over the Dutch.
Lowestoft Porcelain Factory , active from 1757 to 1802, was in
production for longer than any English soft-paste porcelain
manufacturer other than
Royal Worcester and
Royal Crown Derby
Royal Crown Derby ,
producing domestic wares such as pots, teapots and jugs. The factory,
built on the site of an existing pottery or brick kiln, was later used
as a brewery and malt kiln. Most of its remaining buildings were
demolished in 1955. Lowestoft's Yacht Basin in 1929.
In the 19th century, the arrival of Sir
Samuel Morton Peto
Samuel Morton Peto brought
about a change in Lowestoft's fortunes. Railway contractor Peto was
contracted by the
Lowestoft Railway & Harbour Company to build a
railway line between
Lowestoft and Reedham. This stimulated the
further development of the fishing industry and the Port of Lowestoft
in general. The development of the port boosted trade with the
continent. Peto's railway not only enabled the fishing industry to
get its product to market, but assisted the development of other
industries such as engineering and helped to establish
Lowestoft as a
flourishing seaside holiday resort .
World War I
World War I ,
Lowestoft was bombarded by the German Navy on 24
April 1916 in conjunction with the
Easter Rising . The port was a
significant naval base during the war, including for armed trawlers
such as Ethel height:17em;position:relative;padding:0;margin:0">
51 7 2
35 7 2
40 9 3
42 11 5
40 14 8
47 18 11
44 20 13
51 21 13
53 18 11
58 14 8
61 10 5
55 8 3
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Met Office
2 44 35
1.4 44 35
1.6 49 38
1.6 52 41
1.6 58 46
1.9 64 51
1.7 68 55
2 69 56
2.1 65 52
2.3 57 47
2.4 50 40
2.2 46 37
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Lowestoft is the easternmost town in the
United Kingdom . The town
lies on the
North Sea coast and is located 110 miles (177 km)
north-east of London, 38 miles (61 km) north-east of
Ipswich and 22
miles (35 km) south-east of
Norwich . The town is divided in two by
Lake Lothing which forms
Lowestoft Harbour and provides access via
Oulton Broad and
Oulton Dyke to the River
Waveney and the Broads .
Lowestoft is mainly low lying, although with areas of steep hills in
the north of the town where the highest points are 20–30 metres
above sea level. The underlying rock is crag-sand with overlying sand
and glacial till deposits with gravel, with the crag being exposed at
coastal cliffs such as at
Pakefield . Areas around Lake Lothing
feature alluvium silt and some marshland remains west of Oulton Broad.
The beaches to the south of the harbour are sandy and have Blue Flag
status. Towards the north of the harbour is an area of old sand
dunes known locally as the Denes as well as more beaches and Ness
Point , the easternmost point of the U.K.
Lowestoft has been subject to periodic flooding, most notably in
January 1953 when a
North Sea swell driven by low pressure and a high
tide swept away many of the older sea defences and deluged most of the
southern town. Heavy rain caused flash flooding in the town in
September 2006. December 2013 storm surge caused severe flooding of
Lowestoft and its suburbs in December 2013
Lowestoft is in one of the driest areas of the
United Kingdom and
receives less than 600 mm of rainfall a year on average. Rainfall is
fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Summer temperatures
will tend to reach 21 °C in August, when the town averages over 200
hours of sunshine, whilst in winter minimum temperatures average 2
°C. Significant snowfall is rare. Sea fog and cool onshore breezes
can affect the town.
Lowestoft is Suffolk's second largest town (second to Ipswich) with
an estimated population of 58,560 in 2010. Including the suburban
areas of Oulton and
Carlton Colville , which are part of the wider
urban area, brings this population to 71,010, up from 64,358 at the
2001 census. The town contains business and residential areas, with
the main shopping centre lying just to the north of Lake Lothing. The
Lowestoft urban area includes the suburbs of Carlton Colville,
Gunton , Pakefield, Oulton and
Oulton Broad as well as the district of
Kirkley . Outlying villages associated with
Blundeston , Corton ,
Around a tenth of the
Lowestoft areas population of 64,358 at the
2001 census was aged 75 or over, whereas 20% was aged under 16. In
general the population of a number of wards within the town is
slightly skewed towards elderly people. The population is mainly
classified as "white" with minority ethnic groups making up around
1.4% of the population of the town compared to around 8.7% nationally.
At the 2001 census there were 27,777 households with an average
household size of 2.40. In total 8,430 households (30%) were
classified as one person households while 26% included children aged
15 or under. The proportion of households without a car was 29%
whilst 22% had two or more cars. In terms of housing tenure, 72% of
households were owner occupied.
Originally based on the fishing and engineering industries, the
Lowestoft has declined over the years. Although the
tourism sector has grown, the major employers in the town are in the
wholesale and retail sector, making up 18% of employment. Service
industries, including health and social care and education are
significant employers, whilst manufacturing employs around 10% of the
workforce. Employment in the town can vary seasonally due to the
importance of tourism to the economy. In early 2011 around 10% of the
working population of the town claimed
Jobseekers Allowance .
Traditional trawler, the Mincarlo , now a museum ship
Until the mid 1960s, fishing was perceived as Lowestoft's main
industry, although from the 1930s the percentage of those employed
directly and in trades associated with fishing was actually only
around 10% of the working population. Fleets of drifters and trawlers
caught fish such as herring , cod and plaice . Catches have diminished
since the 1960s and, although by the 1980s 100 boats remained, there
are now only a few small boats operating out of Lowestoft, with no
large trawlers remaining. By 2011 just three traders remained at
the towns fish market which is under threat of closure due to the
redevelopment of the port . The Centre for Environment, Fisheries
and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), a large fisheries research centre,
which is a part of Defra is still located in Lowestoft.
Other major traditional employers included the Eastern Coach Works
and engineering and ship building companies clustered around the
harbour . These included
Brooke Marine and Richards shipbuilding
companies, who together employed over a thousand men but went out of
business in the 1990s and
Norwich based engineering company Boulton
and Paul . Some ship building and repair still goes on in the
Windfarm construction in
Major local employers include
Birds Eye frozen foods which employs
700 workers. The company has been located in the town for over 60
years. Food processing company Wessex Foods closed its Lowestoft
plant in 2010 after a major fire destroyed the factory and the company
was unable to find alternative premises.
A number of other local employers have had to make redundancies in
recent years. The
Sanyo plant in the town closed down in 2009 with the
loss of 60 jobs. The plant once employed 800 people. Timber company
Jeld-Wen closed their factory in the town in 2010.
From the mid 1960s to the late 1990s, the oil and gas industry
provided significant employment in the
Lowestoft area. For many years
the Shell Southern Operations base on the north shore of Lowestoft
Harbour was one of the town's largest employers. A decision to close
the Shell base was finally made in 2003. The oil and gas industry is
still a significant industry within the town.
The town has attempted to develop itself as a centre for the
development of renewable energy in the east of England. The
non-profit Orbis Energy centre has been set up to attract business in
the green energy sector to the town and features solar thermal heating
. In April 2009,
Associated British Ports announced that the
harbour is to become the operations centre for the 500 megawatt
Greater Gabbard offshore windfarm which, when completed, will be the
world's largest offshore windfarm . The turbines will be located 15
miles (24 km) off the
Suffolk coast and Lowestoft's Outer Harbour is
being used to house the necessary operational support facilities.
Other developments in the renewable energy sector include a prototype
tidal energy generator being produced by local company 4NRG and wave
power systems developed by Trident Energy.
Rainbow Saver Anglia Credit Union , a savings and loans co-operative
established in 1999 and operating throughout
East Anglia , is based in
the town. Hoseasons, the self-catering, UK Holiday specialist are also
a large employer in the town.
The town centre is the main shopping area within
Major retailers Marks ">
Lowestoft beach at the airshow
Lowestoft is a traditional seaside resort , first developing as a
bathing site in the 1760s. The coast has been branded the "Sunrise
Coast ". The town's main beaches are to the south of the harbour where
two piers , the Claremont and South piers, provide tourist facilities
and the East Point Pavilion is the site of the tourist information
service. The beach south of the Claremont
Pier is a Blue flag beach
. Lifeguard facilities are provided during the summer and watersports
take place along the coast. Tourism is a significant aspect of the
Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park is situated on the northern edge of the
town. In the west at
Oulton Broad boat trips and watersports on the
Broads and River
Waveney are attractions, with companies such as
Hoseasons operating hire boats from Oulton Broad. To the south Africa
Kessingland is a major attraction whilst
Pontins operates a
holiday park at
Pakefield where 160 jobs were created in 2010.
A major attraction in recent years was
Lowestoft Airshow, founded in
1996. The two-day event, which took place in August, featured a wide
range of aircraft includingthe
Red Arrows , a Lancaster bomber ,
Spitfires and an
Avro Vulcan . The event, which was run by Lowestoft
Seafront Air Festival Ltd, a not for profit company, since 2004, had
financial difficulties and made a £40,000 loss in 2010. Further
financial difficulties, made worse by bad weather and low visitor
numbers in 2012, mean that the 2012 airshow was the last to take
Near the town centre is
Lowestoft Maritime Museum , which is open
from late April to late October each year and which includes exhibits
of maritime artefacts, an extensive collection of ship models and
medals, marine art, fishing and the fishing industry, activities with
the Royal Navy in WW II, and shipwrights and coopers tools.
Lowestoft (right) and
Great Yarmouth (left) at night
Lowestoft is one of the more socially deprived areas in Suffolk, with
Kirkley the most deprived ward in the county ranking 173rd most
England (out of 32,486). The area has attracted European
Union redevelopment funding. The
Waveney Sunrise Scheme invested
£14.7 million in the town, including the transport improvements and
the development of tourist facilities such as fountains on Royal
Plain, in an attempt to stimulate the local economy. Regeneration
company 1st East, which focussed on the
Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth
areas, closed in 2011.
Great Yarmouth and
Lowestoft Enterprise Zone was announced in 2011
and launched in April 2012. The zone, developed by New Anglia Local
Enterprise Partnership, has six redevelopment sites across Lowestoft
Great Yarmouth . The bid for the zone in 2011 aimed to create
13,500 jobs by 2036. It involved the Norfolk and
Alliance and focussed on developing the energy sector initially using
tax incentives, simplified planning regulations and the provision of
improved broadband internet services. The sites in
Mobbs Way, Riverside Road and South
Lowestoft Industrial Estate.
The harbour is the focus for redevelopment proposals for
the form of the
Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan
submitted in February 2011. The plan focusses on the redevelopment of
brownfield sites in and around the harbour area to create jobs,
particularly in the renewable energy and retailing sectors.
CULTURE AND COMMUNITY
St. Margaret\'s Church,
The town has two theatres, the
Marina Theatre and The Seagull
community theatre. Operated as a Charitable Trust, the 800 seat Marina
was substantially restored and refurbished in 2012 and its cinema was
upgraded to digital in 2013. A small four screen cinema, the
independently owned East Coast Cinema, underwent a modest
refurbishment in late 2011 to upgrade facilities and allow 3D films to
be shown. The Beach radio station broadcasts to
Lowestoft and the
surrounding area as does BBC Radio
Suffolk . The local weekly paper is
Lowestoft Journal which is part of the
Archant group. The Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra has been resident at the
Marina Theatre since
Lowestoft Museum, which holds a collection of
Lowestoft Porcelain as
well as artifacts describing the town's history, is in Nicholas
Everett Park in
Oulton Broad . A number of small museums are located
in Sparrow's Nest park in the north of the town, including the
Lowestoft War Memorial Museum , the Maritime Museum and the Royal
Naval Patrol Service Museum. The Heritage Workshop Centre is also
located in the park. The Mincarlo is the last surviving sidewinder
trawler of the
Lowestoft fishing fleet and can be visited at Lowestoft
East Anglia Transport Museum , which holds a collection
of buses, trams and trolleybuses is located in
Carlton Colville .
Lowestoft retains a number of narrow lanes with steps running steeply
towards the sea, known locally as "scores". These were used by
fishermen and smugglers in the past and are now the site of an annual
race which raises money for charity. The borough church is dedicated
to St Margaret and is a Grade I listed building .
Lowestoft library, located in the centre of the town, contains a
local history section and a branch of the
Suffolk Record Office.
Lowestoft Hospital provides community care for the elderly as well as
other services. The main burial grounds for the town are Lowestoft
Kirkley Cemetery .
The town is twinned with the French town of
Plaisir in the Yvelines
department in the Île-de-
France to the west of
Ness Point , the most easterly location in the
United Kingdom , is
located in the town close to a 126 metre high wind turbine known
locally as Gulliver. At the time it was completed the turbine was the
tallest in the United Kingdom. At the most easterly point is a large
compass rose, the Euroscope, set in the ground which gives the
direction and distance to various cities in
Belle Vue Park is the site of the Royal Naval Patrol Service
memorial. The central depot for the service was in
Lowestoft when it
was mobilised in August 1939 on a site known as Sparrow's Nest
adjacent to the memorial. The memorial has the names of the 2,385
members of the service who died in World War II.
Lowestoft Lighthouse , located to the north of the town centre, was
built in 1874 and stands 16 metres tall, 37 metres above sea level.
The light, which has a range of 23 nautical miles (43 km), was
automated in 1975. It is the most easterly lighthouse in the United
The first two lighthouses in
Lowestoft were built in 1609, on the
foreshore and candlelit, to give warning of the dangerous sandbanks
around the coast. These were the first lighthouses constructed by
Trinity House . The Low Light was discontinued in 1706 following sea
encroachment, but re-established in 1730 in a form that could be
easily moved in response to further changes to the Stamford Channel
and shoreline. It was finally discontinued in August 1923. The 'High
Light' tower was rebuilt as the present lighthouse in 1874 with the
intention of displaying an electric light, but when opened paraffin
oil was used instead; it was not until 1936 that it was electrified.
The lighthouse, along with two cottages originally used by lighthouse
keepers, is a Grade II listed building .
Lowestoft Lifeboat Station
Lowestoft Lifeboat Station is located at the mouth of the outer
harbour at the South pier. The station is one of the oldest in the
British Isles, founded in 1801, and is open to visitors throughout the
year. The lifeboat is Patsy Knight , a
Shannon class lifeboat which
replaced the Tyne class boat Spirit of
Lowestoft in 2014. A former
Lowestoft lifeboat was used during the
Dunkirk evacuation of British
France in 1940. The
South Broads Lifeboat Station , an
RNLI station, operated at
Oulton Broad between 2001 and 2011.
Town Hall stands on the High Street. Various forms of local
government have met or been based on this site since the establishment
Town House and Chapel here in 1570. In 1698 a new
Town House was
built, incorporating a 'corn cross ' on the ground floor with the
meeting chamber and chapel above. This in turn was replaced by the
present building, designed by architect J. L. Clemence, in 1857. The
building houses the town clock and the curfew bell, which dates from
1644 and is rung each evening at 8pm. The building is a Grade II
listed building .
Waveney District Council announced that it planned to leave
the town hall, and share
County Council 's offices on
Riverside Road. This took place in 2015.
Lowestoft railway station , originally known as
station, is centrally placed within the town, within walking distance
of the beach and the town centre. It provides services to
Suffolk Line and to
Norwich along the
Wherry Line . Both
lines were originally part of the
Great Eastern Railway
Great Eastern Railway and are
Abellio Greater Anglia
Abellio Greater Anglia . The suburb of
Oulton Broad has
Oulton Broad North station lies on the line to
Oulton Broad South is on the line to
Lowestoft North railway station , which was originally operated by
the Norfolk and
Suffolk Joint Railway , closed in 1970 when the
Lowestoft line closed. The site is now occupied by
Beeching Drive, a residential area.
Buses in Lowestoft are mainly operated by First Norfolk &
Anglian Bus with
Lowestoft bus station as the hub for routes. Buses
link the town with
Great Yarmouth and provide public
transport within the town and to surrounding villages. The X1 service
operates a direct link to
Peterborough and National Express Coaches
Lowestoft on the route from
London to Great Yarmouth.
The main A12 road from
Great Yarmouth passes through the
centre of Lowestoft, crossing the harbour in the centre of the town on
Bascule Bridge . The A146 links
Norwich, with a second road crossing of
Lake Lothing at Oulton Broad
on the A1117. Both bridges can be raised if vessels need to pass
through the harbour and
Lake Lothing and this can cause congestion in
the town and routes can become gridlocked. A third crossing of
Lowestoft Harbour is proposed but has yet to receive planning or
funding, although a southern relief road diverts traffic away from the
seafront to help reduce congestion and a pedestrian and cycle bridge
is planned to provide an alternative crossing alongside the Bascule
Lowestoft's cycle network is generally fairly well developed, with
routes focussing on linking areas to the town centre. Around 12% of
residents cycle to work and the town is considered to be "ideally
suited" to cycling due to its relatively small size and flat
County Council is aiming to promote cycling in the
town by working with employers and schools as well as through the
funding of the pedestrian and cycle bridge in the town centre.
Lowestoft has a number of primary and high schools, including four
11–16 high schools:
The Benjamin Britten High School , Ormiston
Denes Academy ,
East Point Academy and
Pakefield School . Following a
reorganisation of schools in Lowestoft, all eight middle schools in
the town closed in 2011 and
Pakefield High School opened. Post–16
education is provided at
Lowestoft Sixth Form College , which opened
in September 2011 as part of the school reorganisation, and Lowestoft
College which provides a range of academic and vocational courses.
Lowestoft College provides a small range of higher education courses
through an affiliation to University Campus
Suffolk . Degrees are
validated by the University of
East Anglia and the University of Essex
. The college also runs courses in boatbuilding and courses designed
to support the offshore and maritime industries which are important
employers in the town. Other adult education courses are run by the
County council from a base at the town library.
SPORT AND LEISURE
Lowestoft has sport clubs and facilities.
Club play at Crown Meadow and
Pakefield Football Club play
at Walmer Road.
Lowestoft Cricket Club play at the Denes Oval sport
ground. Other sport clubs include
Waveney Gymnastics club and
Rookery Park Golf Club.
The town's main leisure centre , the Waterlane Leisure Centre, was
redeveloped at a cost of £8million in 2010–11. Facilities include
a gym and climbing wall as well as a 25 metre swimming pool with a
Lowestoft has a number of parks and recreation
The Broads national park extends to
Oulton Broad . Water
activities and boat tours can be taken here. Powerboat racing takes
place throughout the summer period, mainly on Thursday evenings.
Fixtures are organised by the
Oulton Broad Motor Boat
Club and can attract up to 1500 spectators. The Royal Norfolk and
Suffolk Yacht Club has its club house in
Lowestoft harbour .
The Elizabethan pamphleteer
Thomas Nashe , one of the fathers of
modern journalism and a primary source for the literary milieux of
William Shakespeare , was born in
Lowestoft in 1567. Robert Potter ,
poet and translator of Greek drama, was vicar of
Lowestoft until 1804.
The 19th-century writer and traveller
George Borrow lived at Oulton
Broad for many years and wrote most of his books there. Lieutenant
Edwin Alderson also lived at Oulton Broad, on a houseboat,
and died in 1927 at the since-demolished Royal Hotel in Lowestoft,
where he had been staying for the last month.
Admiral Sir John Ashby , who commanded HMS Victory at the Battles of
Barfleur and La Hogue in 1692, grew up in
Suffolk and is buried in
Lowestoft. A memorial to him is sited in St Margaret\'s church in the
town. Vice Admiral James Dacres fought in wars against America in the
19th century and was born in the town. Captain
Thomas Crisp V.C. ,
Royal Navy officer, was born in the town – one of the town's main
roads is named after him.
Robert William Hook , coxswain at
Lowestoft from 1853 to 1883
and who has been credited with saving more than 600 lives during his
RNLI and with private companies. He was born in
Lowestoft, lived and worked there all his life, and is buried in
Lowestoft Cemetery .
Samuel Morton Peto
Samuel Morton Peto , bought
Somerleyton Hall in 1843, and has one
of the town's main roads named after him. He was influential in
developing the town's railway links and harbour. Sir Christopher
Cockerell , inventor of the hovercraft , lived at Oulton Broad, and
tested craft in
Somerleyton . Economist Sir Dennis Holme Robertson was
Lowestoft in 1890. He was educated on a scholarship at Eton,
and read Classics and Economics at Trinity College, Cambridge before
teaching at Cambridge University, working closely with Keynes .
The philanthropist Howard Hollingsworth, co-founder of Bourne
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