Lowestoft is the most easterly settlement in the United Kingdom and is home to Ness Point, the most easterly point in the British Isles – longitude 1º 45’ 53” E. It is one of the oldest known towns showing evidence of human habitation with a history going back over 700,000 years.
The name Lowestoft is of Viking origin, made up of the name Hlothver and the suffix toft, meaning homestead. By 1086, Lowestoft was known as Lothuwistoft and was described in the Domesday book as an agricultural village of just 16 households. It was a sub-manor under the manor of Gorleston, which formed part of the King’s holding within the Hundred of Lothingland. At that time there was no access to the sea from what are now Lake Lothing and Oulton Broad; all fishing was from the beach.
In the Middle Ages Lowestoft became an increasingly important fishing town. The industry grew quickly and the town grew to compete with Great Yarmouth. The trade, particularly fishing for herring, continued to act as the town’s main income source until the 20th century. Wealthy merchants lived on the cliff tops, whilst the functional support for the industry grew on the wide open areas of the beach, known as the Denes.
In 1847 Sir Morton Peto, often regarded as ‘the father of modern Lowestoft’, purchased the harbour at Lowestoft and built a railway line to the town, thus opening the whole of England as a market for the town’s fresh fish. He also provided mooring for 1000 fishing boats, further supporting what was now the area’s leading generator of income and jobs. One million herring was the record catch for one day between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, and approximately four hundred million herring were being landed each season.
These developments also had a profound impact on the town’s populace because they helped to assist other industries such as engineering and allowed others to take advantage of the port’s increased trade with the continent. Furthermore it began to establish Lowestoft as a flourishing seaside holiday resort.
The heyday of the fishing industry was between 1870 and the start of World War I. When Norway prohibited British fleets working in its waters this signaled the end of the large-scale fishing fleets operating from Lowestoft. Over the last one hundred years there has been a gradual decline in the industry with the last beam trawlers going out of business in 2002. However, as the town adapted, many of these boats were transferred to service alongside the newly created North Sea oil rigs.
Today a population of over 70,000 makes Lowestoft the second largest town in Suffolk. The town itself is a harmonious combination of the old and the new, retaining its rich architectural inheritance, such as the Lowestoft Town Hall and Lighthouse, both Grade II listed buildings, while developing modern services and amenities. It has many ancient buildings, intriguing deep little lanes linking town and shore, scores, offers two theatres, Marina and The Seagull, and a range of museums including the Lowestoft War Memorial Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Royal Naval Patrol Service Museum.
It is also becoming a centre for the development of renewable energy. Ness Point is the site for the Orbis renewable energy development centre, and Britain’s previously tallest wind turbine Gulliver, standing 126 metres high. The recent revival of its old brewing tradition and its numerous businesses based on energy, old and new, and tourism, due to its picturesque southern beaches and proximity to the Broads and the River Waveney, are indicative of its popularity as both a community and a town.
With its rich and diverse history, and a seemingly innate ability to adapt over time to resources and demand, Lowestoft is firmly established as a town of substantial geographical and historical importance, an attractive tourist destination and a hub for future industries along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.
Thursday 2nd May sees the return of Ormiston Denes Academy’s STEM Spectacular featuring Marty Jopson, the BBC One Show’s resident science expert, and new for 2019 – Astronomy Planetarium System Dome. Tickets are FREE, but spaces are limited, so book now! Visit our STEM Spectacular 2019 page for more details.
Ormiston Denes Academy students and staff visited the offices of Accenture in London recently and were given “a real insight” into what it would be like working at a leading management consulting firm during a special visit. With 31 Year 10 students from the Lowestoft high school greeted by employees from the global management consulting […]
Festive fever has spread across Lowestoft as residents got into the Christmas spirit at the town’s switch-on on Saturday afternoon. Not even the weather or a temporary tree light failure could put a damper on the festivities which culminated in the big Christmas lights switch-on. The lights in the town centre were switched on by […]
A clifftop ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War attracted a fine turnout as a “very moving” community event was held. An estimated crowd of more than 500 people turned out on Pakefield Cliffs on Sunday, November 11. Those present saw the beacon lit as the bells tolled to […]
Interactive workshops have helped to inspire the “next generation of engineers and scientists.” A “hands-on science roadshow” has rolled into Lowestoft as a series of wind power and engineering workshops take centre stage. Using coding to make traffic lights turn green, assembling an arch bridge, looking at how energy is generated and hearing about what […]
A popular exhibition was hailed as a “roaring success” as record numbers descended on Lowestoft. The fifth annual Lowestoft model engineering and model making exhibition was held at Ormiston Denes Academy over the weekend, with a diverse range of exhibits inspiring people of all ages. The exhibition, organised by the Halesworth & District Model Engineering […]
An academy trust which educates thousands of children across the region has secured a £2m funding boost to develop social action projects. Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) will receive the money through the #iwill Fund to ensure pupils engage in meaningful youth social action and develop social, emotional and life skills. The trust has numerous academies […]
An education charity which supports school governors is launching a new campaign in Suffolk to encourage more people to take up the role. The Governor Stories campaign is being launched at Quay Place in Ipswich on October 9 by charity Governors for Schools, with the aim of inspiring people to consider joining their local school’s […]
It was another day of celebration for young people who found out the results of the toughest exams of their school careers so far. Students across Lowestoft and Southwold were greeted with good news as schools continued their upward progress despite fears that exam grade changes would prove a setback. At Ormiston Denes Academy it […]
Ormiston Denes Academy was celebrating this week after being honoured with a national Quality in Careers award, recognising the outstanding careers advice it provides to its students. Credited by Prospects, the academy has achieved the highest, Gold-level accreditation, which is part of the Quality in Careers Standard award programme. The standard is awarded to schools […]
In May students in Year 10 visited the International Aviation Academy in Norwich. They climbed aboard a full-size Boeing 737-300 operational aeroplane and were later challenged to identify different parts of an aeroplane’s fuselage. They learnt that they can start training at 16 and progress to employment or the BSc (Hons) Professional Aviation Engineering Practice […]
Ormiston Denes Academy has hit the spotlight, with some of its students being given the unique chance of starring in a new film by renowned movie-makers Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis. The academy was selected to be one of the settings for the film, which is based around the Beatles. Fifty students at the academy […]