Sunday, 31 July 2011


Manor houses with an interesting past for which new uses have been found seem to be a feature of this part of Suffolk. In Nacton, we met Orwell House, which once served as the residence of a naval hero, and is now used as a prep school. Bawdsey Manor, a handsome clifftop red brick building built in the Victorian gothic style, in the village of the same name, offers a variety of arts and other courses as well as watersports facilities. However, its past claim to fame was in the years leading up to the Second World War, when it was used as a top-secret research establishment for the MOD. It was here that Sir Robert Watson Watt and his team developed the radar, a technology which had been tinkered with for a while, although Britain was the first country to use radar as a defence against attack from the air. Bawdsey also marked the beginning of a chain of radar stations which were to protect the country during the Second World War. The manor offers wonderful views down to the Deben estuary. At the mouth of the Deben, Bawdsey Quay is another hive of watersports activity, the watersports centre here offering courses in sailing, powerboating and kayaking. At Shingle Street, further up the coast towards Orford Ness, it has been disclosed that the Lifeboat Inn was used to test a chemical bomb developed by Porton Down.

Map of the area.

'Martello Tower, Bawdsey Beach, Alderton.' photo (c) 2009, Amanda Slater - license:

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