INDUSTRIAL SOUTHWOLD
 
9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HZ - Tel: 01502 726097 email
 
 
 
 
In the beginning
The Sea
Natural Southwold
Fishing
Transport to Southwold
Southwold at war
Christianity in Southwold
Arts & Crafts
Holidays & Leisure
Southwold the town
Southwold Shops & Trades

 

 

 
 
 
  The ebb and flow of local industry – including rope-making, the saltworks, brickmaking, ironworks, milling, the town’s own gas and electricity companies, brewing and even hosiery and mattress making – have shaped Southwold’s working life and prosperity.
 

Rope-making, milling, ironwork, brewing: Southwold’s residents have found plenty of alternatives to the age-old local occupation of fishing. Southwold has produced a wealth of entrepreneurs . By the late 19th century the town even had its own electricity, gas and water companies.

 
The Smith & Girling flour mill at North Green pictured here soon after its completion in the 1890s. The original building is still recognisable though converted into flats. Click for more. P273  
The Smith & Girling mill at North Green pictured in the 1890s. P273

The local fishing industry itself yielded some enterprising spin-offs. William Button was the best-known rope manufacturer in the town, hand-spinning and lacing rope and twine.

John May manufactured coarse salt for preserving the fish and, by blending it with mined salt from Cheshire, he also created a table salt much sought-after by gourmets of the day.

Southwold’s famous brewer and largest employer, Adnams, is based on a business which began life at the back of the Swan Hotel in 1641. Successful local iron founder Edmund Child has left his mark on the town in the form of gas lights, churchyard gates and the town pump in the Market Place. Other ventures weren’t so long-lived. Southwold’s own Homeknit Hosiery Company, which once supplied Harrods, closed in the 1960s after fifty years in business.

Use the links below to explore Southwold’s industrial history in more detail.

Brewing
Hosiery and bedding manufacture
Iron founding
Milling
Public Utilities (Gas, water, electricity)
Rope making
Salt manufacture

Shops and Trades

 

SOUTHWOLD'S
LEADING BRANDS

Click the advertisements to find out more

One of the earliest advertisements for Adnams, dating from the 1870s
From the letterhead of Southwold Homeknit
An advertisement for Smith & Girling Flour
From an advertisement for Sole Bay Bedding
  Logo of the Southwold Saltworks  
 
   
 

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Southwold Museum & Historical Society, 9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HZ
Tel: 01502 726097 email

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