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Thorpeness is a seaside village in the East Suffolk district of Suffolk, England, which developed in the early 20th century into an exclusive holiday village. It belongs to the parish of Aldringham cum Thorpe and lies within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.
For the earlier history of Thorpe, see Aldringham-cum-Thorpe.
The village was a small fishing hamlet originating in the late 19th century, with folk tales of it being a route for smugglers into East Anglia. However in 1910, Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie, a Scottish barrister who had made his money building railways around the world, increased the family's local estates to cover the entire area from north of Aldeburgh to past Sizewell, up the coast and inland to Aldringham and Leiston.
Most of this land was used for farming, but Ogilvie developed Thorpeness into a private fantasy holiday village, to which he invited his friends' and colleagues' families during the summer months. A country club with tennis courts, a swimming pool, a golf course and clubhouse, and many holiday homes, were built in Jacobean and Tudor Revival styles.Thorpeness railway station, provided by the Great Eastern Railway to serve what was expected to be an expanding resort, was opened a few days before the outbreak of World War I. It was little used, except by golfers, and closed in 1966.
A notable feature of the village is a set of almshouses built in the 1920s to the design of W. G. Wilson.To hide the eyesore of having a water tower in the village, the tank built in 1923 was clad in wood to make it look like a small house on top of a five-storey tower, with a separate mill next to it, which pumped water to it. It is known as the "House in the Clouds", and after mains water was installed in the village, the old tank was transformed into a huge games room with views over the land from Aldeburgh to Sizewell.
For three generations Thorpeness remained mostly in the private ownership of the Ogilvie family, with houses only being sold from the estate to friends as holiday homes. In 1972, Alexander Stuart Ogilvie, Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie's grandson, died on the Thorpeness Golf Course. Many of the houses and the golf course and country club had to be sold to pay death duties.
An artificial boating lake known as the Meare was created where there had once been an Elizabethan shipping haven that had silted up.Many of the inspirations for the Meare came from a personal friend of the Ogilvies, J. M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan . Along with a large main pond, there are several channels with landings marked with names from the Peter Pan stories. Tiny islands on the Meare contain locations found in the novel, such as the pirates' lair, Wendy's house, and many others, where children are encouraged to play. The Meare was dug to a shallow depth for safety reasons.
A variety of boats can be rented to enjoy the water, many of them originals dating from the creation of the Meare and named by the local workmen who had dug the lake. Also in 1936 four new boats were added and these were named after the Sfatt families 4girls, Shelia, Jennifer, Joyce and Thirza. The Thurstons (who were the boatman at the time) named many of the boats after local girls and family members. In recent times some boats have been donated in memory of people, for example Valma and Martha.
In August, the Meare serves as the location for the Thorpeness Regatta, which is usually held about the same time as the carnival in neighbouring Aldeburgh and attracts many visitors. During the day, there are boat races, and at night, boats that have been decorated are paraded around the Meare. This is followed by a fireworks display.
Thorpeness is a quiet village of about 400 people in the winter, increasing to over 1,600 in the summer holiday season. Apart from events centred on the Meare at the end of August, it is also popular with day trippers, for its beach, amenities, and sights such as The House in the Clouds.
The landowning Ogilvie family, who began to buy into the area in 1859, [ citation needed ]still have a strong presence. Many of those holidaying in the village have been doing so for generations. Many families of craftsmen who helped to build the village still live there.
To the south of the village lies the North Warren RSPB reserve, an area of wildlife and habitat conservation and nature trails run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It has Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA) status.
Like much of the East Coast, Thorpeness has had intermittent problems with erosion. Discussions are still underway for further defences.
A lifeboat crew from Thorpeness rescues Tim and his friend the sea captain in the Edward Ardizzone book Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain (1936), and are awarded medals for heroism by the Lord Mayor.
Aldeburgh is a coastal town in the county of Suffolk, England. Located to the north of the River Alde. Its estimated population was 2,276 in 2019. It was home to the composer Benjamin Britten and remains the centre of the international Aldeburgh Festival of arts at nearby Snape Maltings, which was founded by Britten in 1948. It also hosts an annual poetry festival and several food festivals and other events. Aldeburgh, as a port, gained borough status in 1529 under Henry VIII. Its historic buildings include a 16th-century moot hall and a Napoleonic-era Martello Tower. A third of its housing consists of second homes. Visitors are drawn to its Blue Flag beach and fisherman huts, where fresh fish is sold, to Aldeburgh Yacht Club and to its cultural offerings. Two family-run fish and chip shops have been rated among the country's best.
The Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Suffolk and Essex, England.
Leiston is an English town in the East Suffolk non-metropolitan district of Suffolk, near Saxmundham and Aldeburgh, about 2 miles (3 km) from the North Sea coast, 21 miles (34 km) north-east of Ipswich and 90 miles (145 km) north-east of London. The town had a population of 5,508 at the 2011 Census.
Felixstowe is a port town in Suffolk, England. The estimated population in 2017 was 24,521. The Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the United Kingdom. Felixstowe is approximately 116km northeast of London.
RSPB Minsmere is a nature reserve owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) at Minsmere, Suffolk. The 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) site has been managed by the RSPB since 1947 and covers areas of reed bed, lowland heath, acid grassland, wet grassland, woodland and shingle vegetation. It lies within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Suffolk Heritage Coast area. It is conserved as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Ramsar site.
Yoxford is a village in East Suffolk, England, close to the Heritage Coast, Minsmere Reserve (RSPB), Aldeburgh and Southwold. It is known for its antique shops and for providing the setting for a Britten opera.
Sizewell is an English fishing hamlet in the East Suffolk district of Suffolk, England. It belongs to the civil parish of Leiston and lies on the North Sea coast just north of the larger holiday village of Thorpeness, between the coastal towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold. It is 2 miles (3.2 km) east of the town of Leiston and belongs within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. It is the site of two nuclear power stations, one of them still active. There have been tentative plans for a third station to be built at the site.
Minsmere is a place in the English county of Suffolk. It is located on the North Sea coast around 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of Leiston and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south-east of Westleton within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. It is the site of the Minsmere RSPB reserve and the original site of Leiston Abbey.
Aldringham cum Thorpe is a civil parish in the East Suffolk district of Suffolk, England. Located south of the town of Leiston, the parish includes the villages of Aldringham and Thorpeness, which is on the coast, between Sizewell (north) and Aldeburgh (south). In 2007 it had an estimated population of 700, rising to 759 at the 2011 Census.
Aldringham is a village in the Blything Hundred of Suffolk, England. The village is located 1 mile south of Leiston and 3 miles northwest of Aldeburgh close to the North Sea coast. The parish includes the coastal village of Thorpeness. The mid-2005 population estimate for Aldringham cum Thorpe parish was 730.
Sizewell Hall houses a Christian conference centre in Sizewell on the Suffolk coast, England. The estate is owned by the Ogilvie family. Back in the 1950s it housed a progressive school for 7–13s. It has historical connections with a classic taxidermy collection. The present Christian conference centre is run by Sizewell Hall Ltd, a registered charity. In 2007, 6,500 visitors stayed there, mainly local church groups from East Anglia, national bodies and a local youth organisation CYM from Ipswich. CYM has developed an activity holiday for schoolchildren in the African Village in the Hall grounds.
Cecil Howard Lay (1885–1956) was an English poet of the Georgian school, architect and artist, closely associated with his native Suffolk.
The Aldeburgh branch line was a railway branch line linking the town of Saxmundham on the East Suffolk line and the seaside resort of Aldeburgh. There were intermediate stops at Leiston and Thorpeness. Part of the line remains in use for nuclear flask trains servicing Sizewell nuclear power station.
Woolverstone is a small village and civil parish in Suffolk, England located on the Shotley peninsula. It is situated about 6.4 km (4.0 mi) south of Ipswich, near the southern shore of the River Orwell. In 2005 it had a population of 240, increasing to 265 at the 2011 census.
North Warren RSPB reserve is a nature reserve run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Suffolk, England. It lies on the Suffolk coast on the north edge of the town of Aldeburgh and to the south of Thorpeness and includes the Aldringham Walks area of heathland to the north. It is within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Suffolk Heritage Coast area. Noted for its populations of Eurasian bittern, European nightjar and other bird species, it covers a range of coastal habitats and is protected with SSSI, SPA conservation status.
Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station is an RNLI station located in the town of Aldeburgh in the English county of Suffolk. the lifeboat station evolved from the Suffolk Shipwreck Association station in 1851 which was originally in Sizewell and there has been a lifeboat here since that date. The present station has two boats on station. These are the Mersey-class lifeboat RNLB Freddie Cooper (ON 1193) and the D-class (IB1) Inshore lifeboat RNLB Susan Scott (D-808). The station covers the coast from Harwich to the south, and Southwold to the North.
The A1094 is an A road in the English county of Suffolk. It is around 7 miles (11 km) in length. The road runs from a junction off the A12 trunk road at Friday Street in Benhall to Aldeburgh on the North Sea coast. The road is single carriageway throughout.
RNLB Freddie Cooper is the current all-weather lifeboat on station in the town of Aldeburgh in the English county of Suffolk. The Freddie Cooper has the operation No: 12-34 and has been on station since 1993. She is a Mersey-class fast carriage lifeboat.
The 1st Suffolk & Harwich Volunteer Artillery, later the Essex & Suffolk Royal Garrison Artillery was an auxiliary coastal artillery unit of the British Army first raised in 1899. It defended the ports and naval bases around the estuaries of the Rivers Orwell and Stour. Although the unit saw no active service, it supplied trained gunners to siege batteries engaged on the Western Front during World War I. It was greatly expanded in World War II to defend the invasion-threatened East Anglian Coast from Harwich to Great Yarmouth. Postwar it continued in the coast and air defence roles until it disappeared in a series of amalgamations from the 1950s.