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Lowestoft and its origins
Lowestoft in General
Member Name: julwhite
Lowestoft in General
Advantages: Historic town, fishing heritage
Disadvantages: Has suffered from lack of investment
Lowestoft is a town situated in North East Suffolk, just south of Great Yarmouth. The town grew in size quickly in the 1800s with the advent of the railway, which made it a popular seaside resort. Samuel Morton Peto, a railway pioneer, invested heavily in the town to create new leisure, commercial and residential areas.
Lowestoft's wealth in the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth century came from the fishing industry and the tourist industry. However, both declined in the late twentieth century, and where once there were so many drifters in the harbour it was said you could walk across one side to another by jumping from boat to boat, changes in the industry mean that today there are only a handful of registered fishing boats left.
The tourist industry also gradually took a downturn as day-trips decreased in popularity and then the advent of the package holiday meant that more and more people decided to take their holidays overseas rather than a take a week's holiday by the sea.
The town today has received relatively high amounts of investment through numerous funds from the British Government and the European Union Regeneration Fund, although locals argue whether the money has been spent wisely, with significant traffic problems still plaguing the town. Employment is mostly from the three largest employers, Waveney District Council, Bird's Eye and Sanyo. The Government's fishing agency, CEFAS, is also a major employer.
Some other industries have been lost to the town, such as Eastern Counties Coachworks, where many of the buses in the UK were once made, and companies such as the Co-operative Canning Factory. The Eastern Counties site is now though a medium sized out of town shopping centre, with a B&Q, Argos, Brantano, Aldi, Choices and numerous other outlets situated there.
Unemployment however remains a problem in the town as there are limited job opportunities, with many of the town's residents finding work in Norwich. Road links to Norwich are reasonably good, and there are also regular bus and train services.
For tourists to the area today, there is a popular annual air festival, two piers (although one is closed), a long promenade and two stretches of beaches. Pontin's holiday camp is also nearby, and the theme park Pleasurewood Hills is just a two minute drive away. Some tourists also visit Ness Point, which is the most easterly point in the UK and is marked by a large compass showing the distance and direction to many large cities throughout Europe.
Many of the historical buildings in the town have now been removed as part of slum clearance of as part of the road schemes over the last few decades. What was once the Beach Village has now nearly been replaced by industrial units, but was once a thriving fishing community at the base of the cliffs. The area suffered from flooding and a lack of investment and was mostly demolished of residential units in the mid twentieth century.
The town is split into two in general terms, North and South Lowestoft. The latter was the area which was built primarily by Samuel Morton Peto whereas the older part of the town is the original northern end. The town's main church, St Margaret's, and the oldest houses in the town, on the High Street, are all in the northern end of the town.
Today the town still suffers slightly from being so easterly, as the road networks are still in the main not dualled from either Ipswich or Norwich. That has an impact on business, but for tourists planning to come to the area, the town does have a long heritage and many interesting buildings, and is well worth visiting to say that you have been to the most easterly town in the UK!
Summary: A short guide to Lowestoft and its history
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