Countywide Activity Plan

Countywide Activity Plan for The Hold launches with ‘Land and Shore’ - exploring lost communities in Suffolk

Many of you may have noticed that work has started on site to construct the new building that forms a large part of ‘The Hold: A Suffolk Archives Service for the 21st Century’.  Preparatory tasks include tree work and removing the asbestos from the derelict University building at the northern end of the site.  Later this month, piling work will begin, which is when the real ‘construction’ work starts.  Our construction team, RG Carter, are resident on site and always happy to answer any questions you might have about the works.  They can be contacted in the first instance by email at hold@rgcarter.co.uk.

But this is more than just a building project - it is about engaging people right across the county and beyond with Suffolk’s archives and heritage. Vital to the project is an exciting countywide programme of events, activities and learning opportunities, which will enable existing and new audiences to explore 900 years of archival material and share Suffolk’s treasured stories. 

The very first project in this activity programme is called ‘Land and Shore’ - a heritage and creative arts project, offering residents the opportunity to become involved across Lowestoft, Dunwich and Ipswich.  ‘Land and Shore’ was designed by Suffolk Record Office and arts and music organisation ‘the Voice Cloud’.  The project will explore the stories of three lost communities across east Suffolk:

ALTON WATER

A valley near the village of Tattingstone in the Shotley Peninsula; which at one time included Alton water mill and Alton Hall, was flooded during the 1970s and ‘80s to provide the area with water. 

THE BEACH VILLAGE, LOWESTOFT

 The Beach Village - LRO_1300_72_41_8

The Beach Village - LRO_1300_72_41_8

Once home to a thriving fishing community in the 18th and 19th centuries of nearly 3000 people living in just 500 houses and cottages, all working in the fishing industry.

DUNWICH

 Dunwich ruins - IRO_K681_1_137_81

Dunwich ruins - IRO_K681_1_137_81

Once an international port and centre for the shipping trade, devastated by great storms in the 13th and 14th centuries which redefined the coastline and saw the sea go on to claim most of the town, including four churches. 

‘Land and Shore’ will use printed local studies books and archive sources, including maps, photographs, diaries, oral histories, newscuttings and ephemera available at Suffolk Record Office, with a view to promoting engagement with Suffolk’s heritage and to bring to life this important history for new audiences.

Participants will explore and research supported by a variety of history and multi-arts professionals to recreate the stories of these ‘lost communities’ in a fun and innovative way using drama and music, which will be shared through performance.  There will be taster days offering more information about the project and focussing on each lost community during September and October. For more information, to book a place on a taster or to receive a participant pack, please contact sharing.suffolk.stories@suffolk.gov.uk. 

No experience is necessary, and anybody is welcome to participate.