The escutcheon carrying the Southwold coat of arms and the date 1673 is sometimes taken to suggest that this may be the original site of Southwold's Town Hall. This is unlikely for there is good evidence that the cottage-style building that preceded the current one, started life as a hastily built hospital to tend some of the casualtties of the Anglo Dutch Wars who inadvertently found themselves on the Sole Bay coast. To read Southwold Museum's illustrated account of how the war casualties were treated, click here to download a pdf..
The building became the Salt Tax office in the early18th Century
This is the year that the Treasury sets up a dedicated Salt Tax Department, separate from the Boards of Customs and Excise. In consequence, local salt offices are set up throughout the country wherever salt is manufactured. It is probably about this time that the Southwold Salt Office is established. The salt works itself is close by in Ferry Road at the bottom end of Constitution Hill
Thomas Gardner - is recorded as the Salt Tax Officer at this time. He is better known as a distinguished local historian and author of 'An Historical Account of Dunwich, Blythburgh and Southwold'. His home is just a few yards away in Park Lane.