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About Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh is an attractive coastal town which may have origins as a Roman port; it was recorded in Domesday as "Aldeburc". Several working fishing boats can still be found on the beach together with the local RNLI facility.

The Tudor moot hall (now a museum) once stood in the middle of the town and not close to the seafront as it does today, which demonstrates how much of this town has been lost to the North Sea.

Newson Garrett was the developer of nearby Snape Maltings and he settled in the town during the 1840s. His daughter, Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a doctor in the England (as a woman[1]) and later became the first female mayor in the country by holding the office in Aldeburgh in 1908. Benjamin Britain and Peter Pears are both buried in the town and together they helped to establish the now internationally renowned Aldeburgh Festival. Noted poet George Crabbe was born here in 1754; he wrote of the town's depression during that time.

Aldeburgh Museum is housed in the Moot Hall, on the seafront.

Crag Path, along the beach, gets its name because it was made with soft coral crag which was dug from nearby pits.

Aldeburgh Station (now demolished) opened in 1860 as the terminus of a branch line through Thorpeness and Leiston to Saxmundham. In 1922, it was possible to get a direct train from Aldeburgh to London, with a journey time of three hours 33 minutes. The line was closed by Beeching in 1966, though the stretch between Saxmundham and Sizewell has been retained to transport materials to the power stations.

Another long-gone prominent structure is the pier built opposite the Moot Hall in the 1870s but never finished. It was demolished about 1909.

The Martello tower, located just south of the town in Slaughden was part of a series of 29 built between Aldeburgh and St Osyth Stone between 1808 and 1812 to protect both Essex and Suffolk. Built of brick, 13 feet thick on the seaward side, they originally stood about 30 feet high and were equipped with a cannon on the roof.

A World War One military airfield stood at Hazlewood (north-west of the golf course) between 1915 and 1920. It appears there used to be a separate village at Hazlewood; it's shown on John Speed's 1610 map as "Hasilwood" and the 1837 OS map shows a ruined chapel in the area (only a single chunk of ruined masonry now remains).

Slaughden Three Mariners is also listed in town in some directories.

[1] Although usually credited as the first British woman doctor, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was actually the second. Margaret Ann Bulkley qualified as a doctor in 1812, but in order to do so she had to masquerade as a man.


Some historical information from English Heritage's National Monuments Record

(** historic newspaper information from Stuart Ansell)