10 things you didn’t know about Felixstowe
- Credit: Archant
We have gathered some interesting facts which you might not know about our favourite seaside town. How many on the list did you know?
1. Back in 1338, the Kingsfleet at Felixstowe Ferry played a vital role in The Hundred Years War – being the place Edward III assembled his fleet of ships and set off from to fight the French. At that time the waterway opened straight onto the River Deben while today it is a peaceful backwater inhabited by swans and loved by anglers.
2. War hero Lawrence of Arabia was based at Felixstowe’s RAF station in 1933 – where he was known as aircraftman first class T E Shaw. He worked in the marine craft section, operating seaplane tenders and armoured target-towing motor boats. Reputedly he designed a secret launch that could reach 76mph.
3. Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club is one of the oldest in England, having been founded in 1880. It is one of less than 250 true links courses in the world.
4. More than 4,500 vessels pass through Harwich Harbour each year, including the world’s largest container ships as they call at the Port of Felixstowe.
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5. Felixstowe’s Marks and Spencer store is reputed to be the company’s smallest high street shop in England.
6. Back in the 1300s, a Plantagenet palace stood between Colneis Road and High Road East. Walton Old Hall – remains of which can be seen in the corner of the sports ground in Dellwood Avenue . It was made from flint and concrete, had walls two feet thick, was 160 feet long and 120ft wide.
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7. Desmond Sargent invented the hyper-link – which enables people to go from web page to web page at the click of a mouse – while working for BT Martlesham and living in Cobbold Road, Felixstowe, in 1976.
8. At one time it was possible to sail – though more likely row – a boat from the Dock Basin at Felixstowe to the Ordnance Hotel, which stood where the Premier Inn now stands at the bottom of Garrison Lane. Part of this navigable waterway dating back to Victorian times can still be found off Langer Park.
9. Felixstowe had six Martello Towers – built to defend the coast should Napoleon invade – along its seafront at one time. One on shore at Landguard was washed away not long after it was built. P Tower is today home to the Coastwatch service, Q is a private home, and foundations of another are part of the Bartlet complex, while there are two standing (one a home) at Felixstowe Ferry.
10. Felixstowe’s pier was once one of the longest in the country – and used to be twice as long. When it was first opened it was 2,640ft long, a small train ran its length, and steamers called at the end. In the war it was severed to stop the Germans landing on it and afterwards the outer section was demolished.