Place:Lowestoft, Suffolk, England

Alt namesLaystoffsource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeParish, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates52.483°N 1.75°E
Located inSuffolk, England
Also located inEast Suffolk, England     (1888 - 1974)
See alsoMutford and Lothingland Hundred, Suffolk, Englandancient hundred in which it was located
Waveney District, Suffolk, Englanddistrict municipality 1974-2019
East Suffolk District, Suffolk, Englanddistrict municipality since 2019

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Lowestoft is a coastal town and civil parish since 2019 in the East Suffolk District of Suffolk, England. It is the main town in its district and the most easterly settlement in the United Kingdom. It is located 110 miles (177 km) northeast of London, 38 miles (61 km) northeast of Ipswich, Suffolk and 22 miles (35 km) southeast of Norwich, Norfolk. The population in the built-up area was estimated at 73,800 in 2019.

The town's wider urban area includes the suburbs and villages of Carlton Colville, Gunton, Pakefield, Oulton, Oulton Broad and Kirkley. Other outlying villages in the urban area include Blundeston, Corton, Gisleham, Kessingland and Somerleyton.

Lowestoft's development grew with the fishing industry and as a seaside resort with wide sandy beaches. Local employers today include Birds Eye frozen foods, with 700 workers. Their processing plant has been located in the town for over 60 years. The fishing industry itself has declined, but oil and gas exploitation in the North Sea in the 1960s took over. While these too have declined, Lowestoft is becoming a regional centre of the renewable energy industry. Wind farm construction and solar panel manufacture both exist locally.


In the Middle Ages, Lowestoft became an important fishing town that came to challenge its neighbour, Great Yarmouth. The trade, particularly for herring, continued as the town's main identity into the 20th century.

Lowestoft Porcelain Factory which existed from 1757 until 1802, was in production for longer than most English soft-paste porcelain manufacturers, producing domestic pots, teapots and jugs. It stood on the site of an existing pottery or brick kiln, and was used later as a brewery and malt kiln. Most of its remaining buildings were demolished in 1955.

The arrival of Sir Samuel Morton Peto in 19th-century Lowestoft brought a change in the town's fortunes, including its fishing industry. To help stimulate this, Peto was given the task of building a line for the Lowestoft Railway and Harbour Company, connecting with Reedham and the city of Norwich. This had a profound impact on the town's industrial development – its fishing fleets could sell to markets further inland, and other industries such as engineering gained from increased trade with the continent. Peto's railway enabled Lowestoft to become a flourishing seaside holiday resort; much of Peto's seaside resort in south Lowestoft still exists, including the Grade II listed terraces of Kirkley Cliff and Wellington Esplanade.

During World War I, Lowestoft was bombarded by the German Navy on 24 April 1916 in conjunction with the Easter Rising in Ireland. The port was a major naval base during the war, including for armed trawlers which were used to combat German U-boat actions in the North Sea such as that of 15 August 1917. In World War II the town was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe for its engineering industry and role as a naval base.

Today, local employers include Birds Eye frozen foods, with 700 workers. Their processing plant has been located in the town for over 60 years.

Lowestoft is the major settlement in the East Suffolk District formed in 2019. It lost its status as a municipal borough in 1974, but retained a ceremonial mayor elected annually by its district councillors until 2017. From 1974 until 2019, Lowestoft was part of Waveney District.

Research Tips

  • A map of Suffolk from 1900 provided online by A Vision of Britain Through Time (University of Portsmouth Department of Geography) can be enlarged to view individual parishes. Careful inspection will usually lead to the discovery of smaller hamlets founded before 1900. The rural districts (marked with their names printed in blue) are those in existence in 1900, not those introduced in 1934. The more ancient hundreds are marked in red. Most (but not all) parish names are underlined in red.

Suffolk Information

  • Suffolk Family History Society A community of people who are interested in the local and family history pertaining to Suffolk.
  • Suffolk Archives (Record Office) ( e-mail - The Suffolk Archive has branches in Ipswich (at The Hold, 131 Fore Street, Ipswich, IP4 1LR), Bury St. Edmunds (at 77 Raingate Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 2AR) and Lowestoft (at Lowestoft Library, Clapham Road South, Lowestoft, NR32 1DR). Includes: a good-looking website, research services and publications.
  • Suffolk Churches This is an excellent guide to most of the Suffolk Churches with lots of pictures and descriptions of the architecture and history. It includes many chapels. If you have trouble visiting Suffolk to see where your ancestor were baptised, married and buried, or even those who want to just add to their knowledge, this is the site for you.

For those whose families may have wandered over the county borders:

British Government Information

  • The National Archives or "TNA" - More than 850,000 Probate Wills from 1610-1858 (PCC wills dating back to 1670 have been completed). Free access to indexes but copy of a will costs £10.00. (Ancestry has an index to wills published after 1858.) Access also available to the Domesday Book, World War One Diaries and various other information. Their catalogue called Discovery holds more than 32 million descriptions of records held by The National Archives and more than 2,500 archives across the country including County Record Offices. Over 9 million records are available for download.
  • The British Library - This vast collection contains millions of bibliographic records, British newspapers, many now digitised and searchable on-line and much more.
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission - The database lists the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations world-wide where they are commemorated. The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War.
  • General Register Office - provides official copies of birth marriage & death certificates for England & Wales.
  • FreeBMD - provides Civil Registration index information for England and Wales. The transcribing of the records, by volunteers, is ongoing and contains well over 279 million records at August 2020. Records are complete from 1837 to 1983. Later records are not complete.
  • FreeCEN - provides a "free-to-view" online searchable database of the UK census returns from 1841 to 1891. The transcribing of the records, by volunteers, is ongoing and contains well over 39 million records at August 2020. At that time Suffolk records appeared to be only for the 1891 census and a few for the 1871 census.
  • FreeREG - provides baptism, marriage, and burial records, which have been transcribed, by volunteers, from parish and non-conformist church registers in the UK. There are over 49 million entries with just under 300,000 records for Suffolk at August 2020.
  • Ministry of Defence (url not found)- provides information for obtaining details about service records post 1920
  • Royal Air Force Museum (url not found) - for information on the archive and library research material available.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Lowestoft. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.