C is for Coastal Erosion

Historically the village and parish of Pakefield have suffered severe coastal erosion.

White’s Directory of Suffolk, 1844 notes that the parish “. . . now comprises only 670 acres of land, having suffered much from the encroachments of the ocean, which has washed away about 70 acres during the last 20 years, together with several houses on the cliff . . .”

Colman’s Handbook of Lowestoft, 1858 also notes that [Pakefield] “. . . is very ancient, and has suffered much from the encroachments of the sea. It is placed on the brow against which the whole force of the German Ocean [the North Sea]  spends itself in a storm.  Houses have frequently been thus undermined, and “toppled down” to the beach below; the landowners also have lost many an acre of their property by the same catastrophe”.

Wright’s Handbook of Lowestoft, 1878 – uses the same wording to describe the erosion, but optimistically adding “. . . but the resources of modern science has completely overcome any danger of such casualties in the future”.

The optimism regarding the “. . . resources of modern science . . .” proved to be completely misplaced and over the next thirty years another 80 acres of land over 130 feet wide were lost to the sea.  The coastal erosion continued well into the 20th century until, thanks to effective sea defences, it was  brought under control by the late 1950s, but not before whole streets and over 100 houses had been washed away.