All About Suffolk Record Office and The Hold

This month, we present to you our ‘A to Z’ of Suffolk archives!

To celebrate Suffolk Day on June 21st, we have put together an “archival” A to Z of Suffolk.  It’s amazing the gems that our archivists find when they’re researching things like this!  

We hope you enjoy this little taste of the archives we hold in care for you and all of Suffolk.  

Here are my favourite letters (can you guess why?).  The full A to Z can be found at

H is for Holiday Camp…Holiday Camps as we know them first came into existence at the beginning of the 20th century.  One of the earliest opened at Caister on Sea in Norfolk in 1906. Visiting this camp inspired Herbert Potter and his brother Arthur to open a similar holiday camp at nearby Hemsby.  In 1924 the brothers opened a new holiday camp at Hopton-on-Sea, Suffolk.  Ten years later Herbert transferred this camp to his married daughter Rosa Groom and the camp later became known as “Groom’s   Holiday Camp”. 

Herbert purchased a large site closer to the beach and opened another there which was named “Hopton Beach Holiday Camp”.  By the mid-1930s there were no less than five holiday camps at Hopton.  Hopton Beach Camp continues today; it is still owned by the Potter family and is known as “Potters Resort”.

O is for Olympics...sixteen towns and villages in Suffolk extended a warm welcome to the Olympic flame as it made its way around the UK on a 70-day journey to the London 2012 Games.

As the Torch Relay arrived in Suffolk on 5th July it journeyed through the county hosted by Lowestoft, Wrentham, Reydon, Southwold, Kelsale, Saxmundham, Aldeburgh, Wickham Market, Ufford, Melton, Woodbridge and   Felixstowe and ended the day with an evening celebration hosted in Ipswich.  The route included Southwold’s iconic beach huts.

The torch bearer in Southwold was Caroline Emeny from Laxfield.  Caroline has also recorded her impressions and memories for our permanent archive for the 2012 Olympic Legacy in Suffolk.  

L is for Lemon Squeezer...St Mary’s The Virgin Parham, Lemon Squeezer to be precise!

According to the church guide, an argument in 1824 between Parham and neighbouring Hacheston caused a dispute between the two parishes.  The vicar, G J Haggitt, who was in charge of both parishes, decided to commission the lemon squeezer in an attempt to mend the division, on which he had the following inscribed: “May the acid be all in our punch and none in our composition” along with the names of the Hacheston churchwardens.

It is believed that he then invited both sides to enjoy a bowl of punch with him, in the spirit of reconciliation.

D is for William Dowsing...born at Laxfield in 1596. He worked as a farmer until 1643 when he was appointed as ‘Commissioner for removing the monuments of idolatry and superstition from churches in the Eastern Association’. Everywhere else in the country this process was overseen by churchwardens appointed by an Act of Parliament, Dowsing was the only exception.

For fifteen months he kept a journal of his actions recording the systematic removal of images, chancel steps, and windows from Churches in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. In 1644 his work was widened to include any representations of angels and images in stone, glass or wood.  At Suffolk Record Office we hold published copies of his journal and his will of 1668.