100 year war against the North Sea
Southwold from erosion
In the 19th century,
a variety of groynes and breakwaters were constructed to try to protect
the shoreline. They needed constant repair and replacement and were unpopular
with fishermen because they made sailing hazardous.
Since the 1900s sea defence work has continued. Concrete promenades stemmed
the erosion to the coastal border of the town itself and the groynes were
completely renewed in 1980.
Just two decades later these were once more judged to be not up to the
job. 1n 2005 a major new sea defence programme was begun by the Environment
Agency in conjunction with Waveney District Council. It involved the building
of a completely new set of timber groynes in front of the town and huge
rock groynes to the north of the pier. The beach was afterwards recharged
with new sand to replace that which had been scoured away.
In spite of the action taken, high tides combined with gale force winds
still, from time to time, drive the sea over the promenade, sometimes
sweeping away a beach hut or two.
1899/90, timber breastwork was constructed on two levels as protection
for the town,
The upper level formed a promenade. P1372.2
further widespread erosion to the coastline in front of the town,
a major new project was undertaken in 1903 to create sea defences.
Photos show gangs working on the wooden shuttering,
looking south (above) and north (below) towards the old pier.
alas, three years on, it was back to the drawing board!