Lowestoft Old Beach Village and "Scores"
Originally home to over 2,000 souls and with 13 pubs and its own brewery the Beach Village of Whapload Road in Lowestoft was an important part of the fishing industry. Barrel makers, fish curers, net makers and menders lived and worked in the village and it is said that many of the inhabitants hardly ever went up the cliffs into the town. After the terrible flooding of 1953 the demolition of the beach village was long overdue, the living conditions were terrible, and all the cottages were eventually declared unfit for human habitation. Very little of the beach village remains. Many of the “Scores’ or lanes that were used to get from the village to the main town have not been maintained and are in places dangerous due to broken cobbles. The flood is remembered along Whapload Road in the form of markers on walls to illustrate how high the water reached. The flooding went all along the coast even as far as Southwold.
Having spent some time exploring the area of the Lowestoft Beach Village I came upon a building which was in-line for development. When I looked around the rear of the main building, which seemed to have been used for net storage and accommodation, I saw what I thought were some older buildings. I could not get any closer because they were closed off to the public but some days later I met up with the developer who was kind enough to allow me in to explore and take some image. What I discovered was the remains of some very old buildings. These are allegedly the oldest surviving buildings associated with the fishing industry in Lowestoft. Some damage to the building was caused in WW2 when a German bomber jettisoned one last bomb before heading home. This removed the end of the row. What is left is in a very poor state.
“The Fish House” is at the rear of 317 Whapload Road, Lowestoft. A marker on the Western façade of the building has a “date stone” showing the date 1676 though little of the original building remains, having gone through several changes. It is thought that it was used as a workshop and place of secure storage would therefore appear to be the most likely original function of the building. The small cells on the ground floor are similar in size to the pens used to store fishing nets. The large first floor chamber may therefore, have been a net repair workshop or ‘beeting chamber’. Beeting is an old English word meaning to ‘repair or make good’. The beetsters were usually women who worked on the repair of damaged herring nets. The materials used to construct the west elevation are washed cobbles, knapped flint, red clay bricks and the occasional lumps of clinker, all set within a soft lime mortar.
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