Lowestoft

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Ness_Point_Sunrise.jpg
Sunrise at Ness Point, Lowestoft.
Lowestoft is a town in Suffolk, East Anglia, England, lying between the eastern edge of the The Broads National Park at Oulton Broad and the North Sea. Nearby Lowestoft Ness is the most easterly point in England, the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and the British Isles.
Contents

Geography

The town is divided in two by Lake Lothing, with the northern half being the commercial centre and the southern half being the holiday resort. The surrounding area is known as Lothingland.

The town has two piers: the South Pier which forms the southern boundary of the harbour, and the Claremont Pier about one mile further to the south. In the early part of the 20th century, the Claremont Pier had a T-shaped pier head and was used as a embarkation point for the passenger steamships that operated between London to the south and Great Yarmouth to the north.

The seaward boundary of the harbour is a strip of land known as the Old Extension, or the North Extension. Over the last couple of decades the Extension has been the site of activity supporting the North Sea oil and gas industry; particularly the construction of rigs. For many years before that, for example in the 1960s, the Extension was unused by any industry, being derelict but showing signs of an earlier period of industrial activity in its old railway tracks and buildings.

Lowestoft railway station, which serves the town gives regular connections to Norwich and Ipswich. There are also a few services direct to London Liverpool Street. All services are operated by 'One' Railway. There was also a direct link to Great Yarmouth's Southtown station, until it was closed in 1970 as a result of the Beeching Axe. That link included Lowestoft North station, the site of which is now occupied by Beeching Drive, located just to the east of the A12 opposite the Denes High School. Some of the original route to the west of the A12 has now been made into a non vehicular public right of way, after having been left unused and overgrown for many years.

History

The name is said to come from toft (a Viking word for "homestead"') and Loth or Lowe (a Viking male name). The town's name has been spelled variously: Lothnwistoft, Lestoffe, Laistoe, Loystoft, Laystoft. An alternative derivation of the name which is taught in local schools is that it is not an Anglo-Saxon name at all, but a derivation from consonantal shift, from a settlement prior to the agricultural village, founded by John Edward Hloover. Over a period of three centuries, the original name of "Hloover's Toft" was contracted to "Lowestoft". The local modern pronunciation drops the final 't' truncating it to "Lowstuff".

In the Domesday Book, Lowestoft is described as a small agricultural village of 20 families, or about 100 people. Rent for the land was paid to the landowner Hugh de Montfort in herrings.

In the Middle Ages, Lowestoft developed into a fishing port. Great Yarmouth saw Lowestoft as a rival and tried to push it out of the herring trade.

In the 1665, the first bettle of the Second Dutch War was the Battle of Lowestoft near the town.

During the 1790s, Lowestoft's fishing community established their own "Beach Village", living in upturned boats.

In the 19th century, the arrival of Sir Samuel Morton Peto brought about a huge change in Lowestoft's fortunes. Peto started by building a rail link between Lowestoft and Norwich, and links with other town soon followed. He developed the harbour and provided mooring for 1,000 boats. This gave a boost to trade with the Continent. He also established Lowestoft as a flourishing seaside holiday resort.

During the Second World War the town was used as a navigation point by German bombers. As a result is was the most heavily bombed town per head of population in the UK. Old mines and bombs are still dredged up and have been hazardous to shipping ever since.

Lowestoft porcelain

During the second half of the 18th century, a factory in Crown Street produced soft-paste porcelain ware. Items still exist, and there are collections at the museum in Nicholas Everett Park, Oulton Broad, and at the Castle Museum, Norwich.

Floods

Lowestoft has been subject to periodic flooding, the most memorable was 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.

Wind turbine

A huge wind turbine, built in December 2004, now dominates the town.

The construction of the wind turbine began on Tuesday 7 December 2004 with a 108 m high crane lifting the 71 tonne Tower Lower Section. The 65 tonne Tower Middle Section, 46 tonne Tower Top Section, 83 tonne nacelle and 54 tonne, 92 m diameter Rotor Blade Assembly were erected on Friday 10 December 2004. The new turbine began generating electricity in January 2005 and has a generating capacity of up to 2.75 MW, although the original proposal was for an even bigger 3.2 MW turbine.

The hub height is 80 m (262 ft). The blade tip height is 126 m (413 ft). The nacelle assembly weighs 83 tonnes and is 11.2 m (37 ft) long, 3.3 m (11 ft) wide, 3.8 m (12.5 ft) high, making it the biggest wind turbine on mainland UK as of April 2005.

Each of the 3 blades weighs 10 tonnes and is 44.8 m (147 ft) long. The overall diameter of the rotor assembly is 92 m (301 ft). The blade tips slice through the air at about 150 miles per hour. The turbulence this generates accounts for the pulsating "whooshing" noise audible when you stand underneath.

Fisheries

A large fisheries research centre which is a part of Defra is located in south Lowestoft.

Literary and artistic connections

Lowestoft has a number of literary and artistic connections. The composer Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft in 1913.

In the 1840s, Charles Dickens came to stay with Sir Samuel Morton Peto. Lowestoft's Beach Village became, along with Blundeston village, the inspiration for David Copperfield.

Joseph Conrad came to live in Lowestoft in 1878 from his native Poland. Edward Fitzgerald, the translator of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, lived in Lowestoft. W.G. Sebald, who taught at the University of East Anglia and was tragically killed in 2001, wrote about Lowestoft in The Rings of Saturn.

Glam rock band, The Darkness was formed in Lowestoft and some of the members were born in the town.

Places of interest

External links

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