This article concerns the memories of Mr. J. P. Westrup, known as Percy, who lived in the Thorpeness area, then known as Thorpe, from the early 1900’s. It is entitled ‘History of Thorpe from 1906.’
In the early years before Thorpe became Thorpeness there were about 30 cottages in the village and 5 coastguard houses, also a chapel, which was used as a school. Percy lived in a cottage in the area where the Kitchen is now and which was where the site of the old Estate Office was situated.
The present houses, The Dunes, are built on what was once the gardens of the old cottages. There were three more cottages known as Beach Cottages, and these were the only houses until the Crown Inn, which was demolished and replaced with what are the bedrooms of the pub now known as The Dolphin.
There was one large field which was from Percy’s cottage to the Crown, bordered by the road where the Haven Houses are now. The West Bar Water Tower and the tennis courts were yet to be built, this field was thought of as being the best field owned by Thorpe Farm. Percy remembered cattle beet having been grown there as large asfootballs! The local boys used to cut holes in them for eyes and a mouth, putting lighted candles in them and then carrying them around the village on Guy Fawkes night.
There were only three bungalows between the coastguard cottages and Haven House, so called because it was near to where the River Hundred went out to sea.
In the wintertime north-east gales were known to build up shingle and block the river entrance to the sea. The river would overflow and fill up the flat area between Thorpe and Aldeburgh. He remembers where the boathouse now stands was flooded from there to the caravan site at Aldeburgh. There were no trees around at that time, it was open land and he would get out his gunning punt and collect ducks and swans eggs and return with a pail full. When the water drained off the flats there would be bushels of samphire to collect, and in the main river there would be plenty of flounders, eels, cockles, mussels and clams to be found.
Thorpeness Revealed by Janey Blanchflower