Gallery: New book delves into Southwold's history

IT is one of Suffolk's most picturesque and genteel seaside resorts, but Southwold's history is as colourful as the rows of beach huts that adorn its seafront.

Mark Lord

IT is one of Suffolk's most picturesque and genteel seaside resorts, but Southwold's history is as colourful as the rows of beach huts that adorn its seafront.

And now writer and publisher Ian Miller is set to tell some of its stories in A Brief History of Southwold, following on from his successful Visitor's Guide to the town which was printed two years ago.

The author, who has a home in Southwold, said: “I have been a publisher for about 40 years and I just cannot seem to stop, it gets into your blood and you keep thinking there's a book in that when ever you come across an interesting topic.

“I originally did the Visitor's Guide back in 2006 because it was fun, but when Pam O'Hara of the Orwell Bookshop in Southwold said to me what the town really needs is a good history book - well, that was like lighting the blue touch paper for me and here it is, the finished book.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the research involved in this book as I got to meet so very many interesting people along the way.

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“I think that most people just think of Southwold as just a holiday town, but it has had such a long and complex history, it has been at the centre of so many battles and I just wanted to bring a bit of this fascinating history to others through this book.”

He added: “While researching for the book I came across a lot of myths about the town which although often very intriguing I found to be little more than nonsense on closer examination.

“However, the true story is even more interesting than the myths.”

Among the many tales re-told in the book, Mr Miller tells of the time when in 1624 pirates seized the Blyth ferry boat before abandoning it at Margate in Kent and two years later the town came under fire from French privateers.

Mr Miller says that these and other events led to the six large guns being installed in the early 1700s on the town's Gun Hill.

The book also tells of the epic Battle of Sole Bay and its extensive history as a lifeboat town.

Mr Miller said: “It took about one year to compile with me running around collecting stuff like a magpie.”

When pressed about whether he has any plans for future books, he continued: “There are lots of stories still to tell so who knows.”

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