The Shellpit Cottages were built in the 1870's by instruction of Margaret Ogilvie to provide a healthy environment for children displaced from Ipswich. The cottages are named after crag pits mined for their fossil shells which were ground up and given to chickens as a cheap form of calcium feed to harden their egg shells. I understand that, at some time in their history, part of the cottages were used as a laundry, however by the 1930's they comprised of 7 dwellings with number one being a tied cottage occupied by the Estates game keeper and his family. The rest of the cottages were rented out. During the Second World War the cottages were severely damaged when a bomb exploded close to them and the occupants were evacuated. The army then took over the area using one of the pits to conceal battle tanks. Over the years the pits have been filled in and are overgrown, although at least one remains with its attendant spoil heap. The area with its heaths and woodland is now governed by the RSPB and the Shellpit Cottages are privately owned holiday lets.
Robert Charles Wilson
A Very Interesting Thorpeness Personality
A very interesting personality in Mr Robert Charles Wilson, was buried at Aldringham churchyard on Monday afternoon. Better known as “Keedive,” Mr Wilson, who was 81 years of age, died at his home at Thorpeness the previous Friday. “Keedive” was a born sailor. At the age of eleven he went to sea in the Aldeburgh cod smacks, and it was the Harwich men who gave him his nick-name when the cod smacks used to take live fish back to that port. He was one of the last remaining Thorpeness
Lifeboat men. “Keedive,” who was always fond of a joke, and amused hundreds of people with his songs, step-dancing or mouth organ solos, sang his favourite song “One of my homesteads I can see,” a few hours before he died. It was his wish that he should do so, and he expressed one other- that an anchor should be placed on his grave, and one of the wreaths was in the form of an anchor.
The paragraph above was taken from a newspaper cutting, probably the Leiston Observer, in 1951.
Robert Charles was baptised at Aldringham on 10 September 1871. He was grandfather to Russell Middleditch to whom the photograph belongs and shows “Keedive” outside the Dolphin Inn sometime in the mid-1930s.