The earliest reference I could find to the sluice cottage area is from John Kirby's book 'Suffolk': his Maps and Road book. Dated 1736.He reports that a 'great sluice' was located near to the mouth of the River Hundred but no cottage was mentioned.
Between 1826 - 46 However it was clear that there was a cottage in that area, with a large black windmill standing nearby, positioned to drain the Aldeburgh Meare.
In more recent times I understand the cottage's last occupant was a Mr. Tom White and his wife, living there around the 1960's. Tom, it was said, was to be seen regularly pushing a large water butt on wheels to Aldeburgh for a refill, the cottage not being connected to the mains water supply.
Today it is unclear as to the future of Sluice Cottage which remains in a derelict state.
Thorpeness in the Thirties BY Janey Blanchflower
What was Thorpeness like in the 1930s, some twenty years after its emergence as Great Britain's first planned seaside resort? The twelfth edition of Concerning Thorpeness, published between the wars in 1933, gives a remarkable picture of the village before the advent of international travel for the masses. The booklet, a forerunner of today's holiday brochures and websites, was published at regular intervals from 1912 onwards, giving up to date details of G S Ogilvie's latest developments at Thorpeness, together with yearly and monthly rents of furnished houses and bungalows and tarifffs at The Country Club and The Dolphin Inn.
The introduction states that 'Thorpeness is a Village and will remain a Village when the last of its houses has been built. It is the latest example of artistic town planning. Those who build their own houses can, with reasonable limitations, follow their own tastes, but most of the houses in the Village itself are reminiscent of the finest examples of Jacobean and early English Domestic Architecture'. One wonders how this bold statement would sit with today's planning authorities....
The description continues 'Apart from the inherent beauty of our little hamlet, situated between sea and lake, and backed by the purple heather and golden gorse of the Suffolk Wolds, the primary attraction of this new seaside resort is that it offers rest, recreation, and escape from the nerve-wracking noise and tumult of modern cities.' I am sure that 21st century visitors would agree. The booklet notes that Thorpeness is situated in the very centre of the Suffolk dry zone and the exhilarating and health-giving ozone of the East Coast is particularly beneficial to young and old alike.
Those clients who took houses for a year or longer had the benefit of facilities for weekend visits to their houses with the minimum amount of trouble. The Company was keen to attract custom from the Colonies:- 'Every year, as our Model Village becomes more and more known in Egypt and the Far East, we find an increasing number of Colonial Visitors bringing their wives and children to spend their English Holidays at Thorpeness. Particular attention is paid to ensure the comfort of these welcome friends, in order that they may feel that they have found a Holiday HOME in the Old Country. Colonial visitors are referred to page 5 which states: 'Plate, cutlery and linen are not supplied in any of our furnished houses, but, for the convenience of Overseas visitors who do not wish to bring these household requirements, an adequate supply can be hired from the Company at a fixed low charge.'
The booklet includes a testimony from the Hon. Sir Thomas Wilford, KCMG, KC, the High Commissioner of New Zealand who, with Lady Wilford and their grandchildren, spent their Summer Holiday in Thorpeness in 1931. In a speech made at the Children's Regatta prize-giving, Sir Thomas said: "As a visitor he could not help saying what a charming place he had found Thorpeness and, no doubt, its conception was the work of a genius. He had visited thirty-two different countries in the world, but he had not met with a place with such amenities, and he was surprised that it had not been copied. Thorpeness was a place unrivalled for the amusement and recreation of children."
The Company aimed to ensure that everything possible was done to make long or short visits free from anxiety as regards domestic matters by recommending good servants in order that clients did not have the trouble of bringing their own maids. During the winter months, when houses were unoccupied, the Company undertook, on their clients' behalf, to keep their houses aired and have fires lit periodically. The Company was also willing, at a small commission, to sublet furnished houses at most attractive rents if clients did not wish to occupy them during any month of the year.
Rentals varied from 85 guineas to 235 guineas per annum according to accommodation and position. Monthly rentals varied according to the season, a convention still observed today. An example of the 1933 rental charges for a furnished house in a central position containing 5 bedrooms, sitting room, dining room, kitchen (gas cooker of the most modern type), electric lighting, independent hot water system, bathroom and usual offices was:-
Yearly Rent 120 guineas
October-March 8 guineas (per month)
April & May 12 guineas
June 18 guineas
July 35 guineas
August 55 guineas
September 35 guineas
These rates were inclusive of all rates, taxes, water, sanitation and upkeep of garden.
A note to the Twelfth Edition of Concerning Thorpeness apologises that: 'The chief difficulty in providing an adequate account of the many unique attractions of Thorpeness lies in the fact that, owing to its phenomenal growth since our village has become more widely known, each edition becomes obsolete almost before the ink is dry. No less than £72,881 has been spent within the last six years in buying or building houses on the Thorpeness Estate. This considerable sum of money does not include the many thousands of pounds spent upon tarring and macadamising the roads and introducing water, gas and electricity throughout this Old-world Hamlet.'