Where old pubs have been renamed, we list only the most recent known name here. Other names can be found in the Pub list tab. Ancient pubs are defined as those which are believed to have closed before the middle of the 19th century.
Second largest settlement in the county and recorded in Domesday as "Lothuwistoft", it was for a long time known as a centre for the fishing industry - especially herrings which were also dried and smoked in local premises - but today little of this industry remains. The ancient town is said to have been washed away many years ago. Today the town is mainly known as a popular tourist resort with the fine south beach and esplanade. Also see Pakefield, Oulton Broad & Carlton Colville. Kirkley (south of Lake Lothing) was a separate parish until 1907.
John Speed's 1610 map shows the town as "Leſtoft"
One prominent building, opposite railway station was Tuttle's department store, a family business until 1960 when it was taken over by Debenhams. Subsequently used by Brahams from 1972 to 1981 and since used as smaller shop units. It's currently being converted into a new JD Wetherspoon pub, expected to open in July and to be (it is believed) called the Joseph Conrad.
At the other end of the pedestrianised shopping area the High St. still runs along the northern cliff edge and is connected with the Denes and the beach area located below via a series of "scores" (i.e. narrow historic passageways). Ness Point, dominated by industrial units, is the most easterly point in the British Isles.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Dockside Dandies were a feature of Lowestoft. They were young fishermen noted for their colourful suits, whose fashions have been claimed to be pre-cursors to Carnaby Street's fashions. In May 2008, they were featured on Radio Four's Making History programme.
Discovery of fine clay in the mid-18th cent. just north of the town led to the opening of the Lowestoft Porcelain Factory - in production for just 45 years (1757 to 1802) - a relatively short lifespan that means any remaining examples are highly sought after. The manufacturing company was named "Walker & Co" and occupied premises between Bell Lane and Factory Street. See www.lowestoftporcelain.com. Later the same site was used by the brewery of E. & G. Morse.
The former village of Gunton was partly incorporated into the town in 1894 and completely subsumed in 1934. The hamlet of Normanston (at east end of Lake Lothing) and the northern parts of the former Kirkley parish have also been integrated as the new town expanded south. Much of the 19th cent. town development was due to Sir Samuel Morton Peto, a railway contractor who was also MP for Norwich. His right hand man was an architect called John Thomas.
Few historic buildings escaped damage during WW2 with over 500 houses destroyed and in excess of 260 people killed, however unlike anywhere else in the county a lot of late Victorian terraced housing can still be found, especially just north of the harbour. Amongst this housing, a number of back street boozers can also still be found. Lowestoft football club is also located within this area .
Benjamin Britain was also born in the town in 1913.
Today, on the south side of the harbour entrance the East Point Pavilion is a distinctive modern glass structure which houses the Tourist Information centre (open daily).
The "Beach Village" was a settlement on the very low-lying land between the High Street and the sea. The first houses in the Beach Village were built in 1791 and it prospered as Lowestoft's fishing industry thrived (partly because of Sir Morton Peto's development of the town's fish market). Beach Village lasted until the 1960s when slum-clearance and frequent flooding (including the 1953 great flood) led to its replacement by the modern-day industrial estate. In 1900, the Beach village's population was estimated at about 2500 in about 500 dwellings, served by some thirteen pubs and its own Eagle Brewery. A model of the Beach village is on display at the Heritage Centre on Wilde Score.
(** historic newspaper information from Stuart Ansell)