Explore our dynamic panoramas

Ronnie Waters

Joint authors of www.southwoldandson.co.uk, Barry Tolfree, left, and Ronnie Waters

Reproduced from 'It's that Town Again' by kind permission of Stephen Wolfenden

Click the picture to enlarge





One hundred years and more of Southwold at work
by Barry Tolfree

This project is a tribute to the many years' dogged research conducted by the late Ronnie Waters who died in 2015, aged 91. Many generations of Waters have lived and worked in Southwold... mainly as fishermen, battling exhaustion, hazardous seas, unpredictable fortunes and, more often than not, grinding poverty.

Thanks to his grandmother who put her foot down, Ronnie's father was the first Waters to take a shore trade - as a painter and decorator. Ronnie himself started his working life in the 1930s as a butcher's boy with the London Central Meat Company which had a branch in the High Street. Thanks to the patience and dedication of an enlightened manager he learned his trade quickly and well. After the War he returned to Southwold to work as a butcher first in Baggotts in Trinity Street and later at the Co-op Butcher in Station Road. By 1954 he was the Manager of Hutsons in the Market Place where he stayed for the next 34 years.

In the meantime Ronnie was building a distinguished reputation in public life in what was at that time a fully fledged Borough, first as a Councillor and latterly as Chairman of the Council, and Chairman of the Policy and Finance Committee. In that capacity he helped to steer the town through the traumatic transition from Borough to Parish during the big shakeup of Local Government in 1974.

Always fascinated by local history and with a rich personal knowledge-base of Southwold trades, Ronnie decided in his retirement to devote himself to documenting the history of the town's commercial enterprises. Initially, the time parameters of the project were from 1900 to the turn of the Millennium but it soon became obvious that it was impossible to be strict about this. Often he found that the only way of making sense of the stories was to follow them back as far as they would take him.

Ronnie completed most of his research in about 2005. The fact that it has not seen the light of day until recently has been mainly because of the difficulty in finding a way to present and publish it in a meaningful format. As a book it would be very bulky, expensive to print in small quantities and problematic to cross-reference. I approached Ronnie in 2009 and suggested a website. This is the result. Digital publication has proved to be an ideal solution. Not only is it a much cheaper medium than print, but it also lends itself brilliantly to cross-referencing, searching and indexing. Best of all, it lets the whole thing evolve on a daily basis as more data becomes available. Since Ronnie handed the project over to me, it has expanded greatly, partly through my own researches but very largely as the result of information and photographs contributed by visitors to the site from all over the world. There have been many hundreds of them, some Southwold-born, many descendants of Southwold tradespeople and many, too, who remember childhood holidays in the town. Ronnie, though he never touched a computer, was hugely supportive of this website which, apart from having become my personal obsession, is also a living monument to a very special Son of Southwold.

Barry Tolfree


Thank you to photographer Stephen Wolfenden for permitting us to use the images from his three Southwold books.

We are grateful to the following for sharing their memories, research and documents relating to Southwold's businesses and business people:

Elsa Allerton

David Cragie

John Cragie

George Deal

Harry Griggs

David Daniel

Simon Loftus

Pam Marriner

Frank Mortlock

Heather Osmer

Peter Parke

Paul Scriven, MBE

Derek Self

Robert Temple

Cynthia Wade

Shirley Wentworth

Steve Wright

David Baker - for sundry memorabilia and photos

John and Valerie Baker and Jonathan Hadgraft for introducing me to this fascinating aerial photo of the town in possibly the late 1940s.

Dorothy Ball for photographs of Eversley School in the 1920s

David Barbrook for a photograph of Golf Links House Hotel

Jayne Barnett (nee Hyslop) - for information about No 59 and 71 High Street and No 10 Market Place and the businesses run by her parents, Michael and Joyce Hyslop.

Robin Barr-Hamilton - for a photo of and information about his grandfather, Basil Douglas Barr-Hamilton and The Southwold Steam Laundry.

Sylvia Barsby (nee Raffles)- for sharing her childhood memories of the 'Dutch Barn' restaurant and the 1953 floods. Also Sarah Groves of Adnams for permitting us to reproduce a letter from Sylvia's father, Major Raffles.

Alan John Blowers - for a wealth of information and photos about the Blowers family of No 42 High Street and elsewhere in Southwold

Jim Blythe - for information on the Blythe, Marshall and Crick families and for sharing the contents of his late father's news scrapbooks.

Andrew Bootman - for providing memories, photograph and a descendency chart of the Carter family of Nos 14 - 18 Victoria Street.

Robin Buncombe - for information on Nos 51 and 51a High Street

Laurette Burton - for information on the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Peggy Cannell - for a photograph of Park Farm Dairy's delivery cart from 53a High Street

Nigel Chapman for giving permission for us to reproduce the photo of his father,'Shrimp' making deliveries for the Manor Farm Dairy.

David Collins for photo of Brickmakers Arms

Diana Collins for photo of No 3 St James Green

Richard, Helen and Jenny Cook - for information and photographs relating to their family's ownership of businesses at Nos 5 and 8 East Street.

Heather Cooper - for memories of 94-96 High Street

Matthew Coward - for information on No 7 St James Green.

Revd Lesley Crawley - for identifying location of Bradford House

Julie Dawson of Canada for a photograph of her watercolour of Black Mill.

Marguerite Jill Day - for information on her Great Great Grandfather, George Juler and other members of this watchmaking family at No 82 High Street.

Ian Denney - for information about no 4 -6 Trinity Street and 2 - 6 Church Street

Anne Dewar (nee Dunton) for information about the Osborne and Dunton families of No 5 East Street. Also to Richard, Helen and Jenny Cook for information and photographs relating to their years at the same address.

Dudley Diaper - for a photo of 'Le Petit Bijou' restaurant (No 76 High Street) in 1976

John Dixon - for memories of Frank Hurr and information about the Hurr and Eastaugh families

Gary Doy - for photographs of his grandfather, Freddie Wells, and of Walter Rockall.

Ken Doy - for photographs of his father and uncles of No 15 Lorne Road

Sue Doy for memories and photos of her father Freddie Wells and the Pit Stop Cafe

Barbie Edwards - for photo of Peter & Joan Sherwood of No 64 High Street

Jim Elmes - for information and pictures about 71 High Street and also the Golf Club

Wendy Farrington - for photograph of her grandfather, Jack Farrington

Janet Fawcett - (nee Pulham, for family photos of No 17 Stradbroke Road

Margaret Frost - for allowing us access to the unpublished memoir of her father, Cyril Steley and his account of life in Southwold in the early part of the 20th century.

Shirley L Fulcher - for information about and a photograph of her grandfather's premises at 1 Barnaby Green

Murray Gellatly - for images of the pub sign of the 'Marquess (sic) of Lorne' - No 2 High Street and various ephemera from his collection

Graham Gilbert - for a photo of Nos 80 - 80b High Street in 1977

Ian Goffin - for a photo of Market Place in 1970s, also Constitution Hill, William Spence's workshop and documents related to No 17 Stradbroke Road and The Harbour Inn

Jill Goffin - for photo of No 11 Stradbroke Road in George Bumstead's day

Alan Goldsmith (Chicago), Alan Goldsmith (Surrey) and the late John (Wiggy) Goldsmith (Southwold) for information about the Goldsmith family... Also Tina Indyka - of Australia, for information about and photos of her great grandfather, Henry George Goldsmith and his family of No 10 North Green

Lindsay Goward - for information about No 33 High Street.

Lavinia Greenwood (nee Malim) of Canada for her memories of summer holidays between the wars at The Dutch Barn

Claire Guppy - for information on No 69 High Street whose freehold she owns

Jonathan Hadgraft for many contributions from his website southwold-northroad.com

Peter & Mike Hardy for giving us access to the Marcus Dawkins photographic collection

Mary Harris - for allowing us to quote from "Memories of Southwold 1920 - 1939", an unpublished memoir by her late husband, J B Harris

Alan Hatfield - of Leiston, for supplying details of the career of Thomas Edward Key (1864-1911), architect of the Station Hotel, Randolph Hotel and Southwold Hospital.

Jane Haward - for giving us access to historic title deeds, indentures and documents relating to Baggott's Mill and the buildings subsequently erected on this site. Also Peggy Cannell for information on the Baggott family and .Nigel Bedingfield - Editor/ Director of icenipost.com for allowing us to reproduce the picture of Bolderston & Baggott's bread cart..

Karen High - for photo of AJ Finch's store at No 27 High Street

Hilary Huckstep - for information and pictures relating to Reg Carter and 78 High Street and for help with much else

Amanda Humphry - for a photo of Stradbroke Road in the 1930s

Alan Judge - for images relating to Frederick Jenkins No 94 High Street

Penny Kent (nee Waters) - for photos of the fire at No 2 Market Place

Lyn Knights - for information about the Denny family

Danielle Knott - for information about her ancestor Eaton Moore and for allowing us to reproduce a portrait of him in her possession.

Charles Lee - for information aboutt No 76 High Street

David Lee - for information on No 21 High Street and also Elizabeth Morgan of New South Wales for information on and photographs of her great grandparents, Charlie and Ellen Goffin who were butchers at this address. Thanks also to John Goffin for permission to reproduce pictures from his collection.

Peter Lee - for information on the history of 58 Stradbroke Road

The Leedham-Green family - for memories of Dr John Leedham-Green and Dr Mary Leedham-Green

'Kay' for allowing us to reproduce photos of Ernest Allen's Fire service medals in her possession.

Martin - from Garden Gnome Software, for kindly volunteering to create our first 'virtual tour' from our panorama of the High Street / Victoria Street junction, at no charge.

Gary May - for memories and family photos of his family at No 33 Station Road and No 12 Queen Street between the 1940s and 1970s

Keith May - for information about his family including lifeboatman, Sam May, and for help with several other addresses

Maggie Mayne (nee Priday) - for information about Douglas House Wool Shop, No 12 Stradbroke Road, and her adoptive mother, Miss Joan Priday.

Mike Medland - for his research on the history of No 1 South Green now lodged in Southwold Museum

Neil Moran - for information about the 'Marquis of Lorne' No 2 High Street

Vincent Mortlock for a photo of his uncle, employee of Electric Picture Palace

Christine Miller - for the genealogy of the Debney family whose business occupied her home at No 7 South Green. Also..Heather Martin of Adelaide, South Australia - for information about her Debney ancestors.

Diane Miller (nee Wyatt) for a price list of Chaplin & Carter of No 14 Stradbroke Road. Also for information about and photos of her time as a pupil of Roses Way School at No 26 North Parade.

John Miller - for his research on No 19 High Street

Liz Mobbs for a picture of Southwold Gas Light Co showroom

David O'Keeffe - for information about the Victoria Hotel, East Street

Margaret Palmer - for allowing us to use many images from the postcard collection of her late son, Robert

Philip and Arnold Pacey - for allowing us to publish part of the unpublished memoir of their mother, Mildred Button of Bradford House, Corporation Road. Also Revd Lesley Crawley for helping us to identify the location of Bradford House.

Bharat Patel - for photo of International Stores, No 18 Queen Street

Pat Peak and Pauline Bennet for information on their Doy ancestors of 15 Lorne Road

Shirley Pennington - for her memories of Victoria Street and 78 High Street

Elizabeth Pilgrim - for an early image of the F Eastaugh bakery and Restaurant

Jeannette Radley-Kane - for information about 14 Stradbroke Road

Linda Rhodes - for photographing the exposed original shop sign for No 18 Queen Street.

Bernard Segrave-Daly - for his research on the history of the inns of Southwold.

Christine Schofield - of NSW for a photo of her great grandfather's hardware shop at No 9 Stradbroke Road.

Judith Simmons (nee Hurst) for help with various aspects of Southwold in the 1950s and 60s and for allowing us the freedom to 'mine' her book "Growing up in Southwold"

Sian Slater for old photos of her home, Acton Lodge on South Green

Margaret Stacey - for her extensive research on No 26 North Parade ('Strathmore')

Carol Stone (nee Powditch) - for extensive information on the Powditch and Strowger families and for providing advertising material from 1909

Katie Sullivan - for information on ownership of the Pier Avenue Hotel.

Ann Thornton - for memories of her father and Grandfather, Barrett and Frederick Jenkins and for permitting us to reproduce many of the photographs in Barrett's books about Southwold.

Steven Todd - for information on No 5 Chester Road.

Margaret Turnbull - For providing a number of local historical source documents

Adam Twycross - for documentary confirmation that Edgar Smith traded from No 19 Market Place

Frank Upcraft - for a rare photograph of the interior of the Flock factory at North Green

Anne Wolton - for information and photos of her parents, Harry & Neta Land of No 13 East Street, and grandfather, Ernest, who drove the delivery vehicle for Eastaugh's bakery at No 64 High Street.

Kay Waters - for sharing her research on The Red Lion, The Pinkney's Lane Wine Shop and The Victoria Tavern

David Weight for a collection of 1997-98 photos of shopfronts

Steven Wells - for memories of his father and grandfather and their shoe repair business at No 50 Church Street.

Michael West - for details of Southwold's past librarians

Mike Wilkinson - for details on the recent history of the Blyth Hotel.

Pauline Williams - for information about and photographs of the Fryett family

Claire Wrathall - for indormation about her great grandfather, Dr Richard Wilson Mullock

David Wright - for memories and memorabilia of Barclay's Bank and the Geraldine Nash School of Dancing. Also Cllr Sue Doy (nee Susan Wells) for photos of the Geraldine Nash School of Dancing in the 1950s

Anne Young - for information on No 78 High Street