rOAD TRANSPORT
 
9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HZ - Tel: 01502 726097 email
 
 
 
 
 
Horse & Trap outside Adnams
In the beginning
The Sea
Natural Southwold
Fishing
Southwold at war
Christianity in Southwold
Industry
Arts & Crafts
Holidays & Leisure
Southwold the town
Southwold Shops & Trades

 

 

 
 

It is doubtful whether many of Southwold’s inhabitants needed to journey further than Reydon until the 1700s or later, but those who did would have been faced with rough unsurfaced tracks which turned to mud in winter and dust in summer.

Early road maps show that Southwold was relatively isolated for quite a long time. John Ogilby’s strip map of 1675 indicates just one turning to ‘Swole’ (Southwold) - at Wangford. From there you would have had to travel along what is now the B1126. Senex’s strip map of 1768 shows the same. But by 1783 Joseph Hodgkinson’s survey shows a road to Southwold where the A1095 is now.

The state of the roads was so bad in the 17th century that Turnpike Trusts were set up in an attempt to improve maintenance standards. The costs were met by charging a toll. It was 48 years after the first Act of Parliament which introduced them that Suffolk had its first Turnpike and a further 74 years - in 1785 - before there was one on the road which roughly folowed the route of today’s A12. Turnpikes never came to Southwold.

Stage-coaches
Travel by stage-coach originated during the late 1600’s and inns, known as posthouses, were recognised stopping points where horses could be changed and passengers take refreshment. However it was not until February 1822, when the town was beginning to attract visitors, that Southwold had its first stage-coach service, going to Great Yarmouth and Norwich. To read about it, click here.

Royal Mail Coaches, Post Horses and Letter Carriers
Mail Coaches were quicker and more comfortable than the stage-coaches and the public were allowed to travel on them. A service from London to Ipswich started in 1791 and by 1836 had extended to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Southwold, unfortunately was never on the mail coach routes but it did start its own letter-carrier service in the 18th Century. To read about it, click here.

Hotel Coaches
From around the early 1900’s all the hotels in Southwold sent their own horse-drawn coaches to meet all trains at Southwold station. Click to see a picture of Centre Cliff Hotel's coach.

Motor Omnibuses
Following the demise of horse drawn omnibuses in the late 19th century it was not until early in the 20th century that any other form of public road transport service appeared. East Suffolk was amongst the first railway companies introducing feeder services to rail heads: the Great Eastern Railway (GER) commencing a daily service (summer time only) between Lowestoft and Southwold in 1904.

To read about motor coach services to Southwold click here.

'Self-drive'
There was always the option of hiring your own horse or horse and trap. Post horses were sometimes available for private hire and, in the 19th and early 20th century, Southwold had a number of so-called 'Job Master' services offering daily or weekly hire to the expanding tourist market. Before the First War, Henry Goldsmith was the 'go-to' job master. He not only ran the stables at the Crown Hotel but kept a wide choice of horses and vehicles for hire at his own stables overlooking the Common. There was the choice of landaus, victorias, open and closed carriages, pony carts, 'dog' carts and wagonettes and you could book up for an excursion in Henry's multi-seater 'brake'. You could even rent a children's goat cart. See photo right.

William Blowers, the Market Place butcher, also ran a job master business in Salisbury Road. He placed an advertisement just beside the lighthouse which read:

Turn to the left when you leave here
Salisbury Road will then appear.
Call at Number Ten and say:
"Can I have a trap today?"
Traps and Landaus may be hired
And all of them are rubber-tyred.

 

Use the links below to explore the history of Southwold’s other methods of transport.

By Rail
By water

 
At your service
 

Coach operated by the Centre Cliff Hotel for the benefit of guests
in the early 1900s all Southwold hotels operated their own coaches. P2684

Click to enlarge

 

KING OF THE ROAD...

   
 

but not for long!
Great Eastern Railways made a gallant attempt to compete in the road transport business but had to concede defeat.

Click the picture to learn more.

 

YOU HAVE MAIL

This Post horn dating from 1872 was blown by the letter carrier as he arrived in Southwold in the early hours. The idea was to rouse the postmaster. But it was also an early alarm call for the rest of the population. To read more about it, click the picture



GOAT CART

Children's goat cart for hire c1900

 

 
   
 

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

A Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Registered Charity No 1159790,