Friday, 29 July 2011

FELIXSTOWE

Felixstowe, on the coast between the Orwell and Deben rivers, is by turns a popular seaside resort and a busy port, in fact it is one of Europe’s busiest container ports. The resort part of the town follows the familiar Victorian pattern of promenade, pier, neat seafront gardens, a Pavilion and a beach backed by traditional beach huts. Landguard Fort, at the southern end of town, was originally commissioned by Henry VIII, although it was rebuilt in 1718. In 1667, the site saw the last opposed seaborne invasion of England, following the arrival of a Dutch force of 1,500 men on Felixstowe beach, from where they advanced on the fort. They were held back by a force which included the forerunners of the Marines. It is now in the capable hands of English Heritage. In 1763, the acting governor of the Fort decided that the chapel would make a splendid venue for a dance, an event which caused a major scandal, not least because he decided to use the altar as a bar!

In 2008, Felixstowe made the national news when attempts by the Navy to deal with a giant wartime bomb which had washed up on the beach ended in farce as the bomb was “misplaced” during an operation to take the bomb out to sea by means of flotation devices so that it could be detonated safely. Unfortunately, the bomb became detached from the equipment being used for the relocation, and subsequent attempts to find it were hampered by strong currents and poor visibility. The East Anglian Daily Times gloomily reported on 28 April 2008 that it could take weeks to find the bomb, adding significantly to an already high bill for the operation. However, by 1 May there were sighs of relief all round as it was reported that the bomb had finally been safely blown up at sea.

For a list of events in Felixstowe, see here.

Map of the area.

'Felixstowe  Beach Suffolk' photo (c) 2008, Martin Pettitt - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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