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Aldeburgh Scallop Maggi Hambling

Suffolk connections and the Suffrage movement

Who would have thought England’s most easterly point would have links to one of the greatest revolutionary times in women’s history? It’s 100 years since women got the vote, so we take time out to remember those who helped the suffrage movement on Suffolk’s heritage coast.
Millicent Fawcett Suffrage Movement

Millicent Fawcett of the Suffrage Movement

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson resided in the coastal town of Aldeburgh and was the first qualified female doctor. She paved the way for other women to qualify as doctors in Britain at the beginning of the 19th century. And in 1908, she became the first female mayor in England, as well as an avid suffrage supporter.

Her sister, Millicent Fawcett, who was born in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast, and for whom the campaigning Fawcett Society is named, was a prominent suffragist and advocate of female education.

‘I cannot say that I became a suffragist,” Millicent once said. “I always was one, from the time I was old enough to think at all…”
 
Antony Gormley LAND sculpture Aldeburgh (c) Amanda SlaterMartello Tower on Aldeburgh Beach
The Garret family became well-rooted on the Suffolk coast. Their father Newson Garrett, a Victorian industrial entrepreneur, built nearby Snape Maltings to malt barley which was shipped along the River Alde to breweries in London. Now, the building is home to a stylish homeware shop House & Garden, Food Hall and Fresh Food Pantry, The Maltings Gallery and Little Rascals - with all things dedicated to children. Grab a coffee or spot of light lunch at café 1885, or, if music is more your thing, then a concert at Aldeburgh Music is a must! Surrounded by marshes, reed-beds and wildlife and located on the River Alde, the Sailor’s Path is a walk like no other. Said to be one of Suffolk’s finest, it stretches between Snape Maltings and the town of Aldeburgh, where once sailors trod daily.

 

Aldeburgh Music and Snape Maltings

Aldeburgh Music and Snape Maltings Concert Hall (c) Philip Vile

Aldeburgh is home to many notable personalities, past and present, who have been hugely influenced by its coastal location. These include Benjamin Britten, arguably the greatest composer of the 20th century and founder of Aldeburgh Music and the Aldeburgh Festival in the 1940s, and which both remain cornerstones of Suffolk’s music culture today.
 
A coastal town of coloured seafront houses, art and Aldeburgh go hand-in-hand. Not only is it home to Maggi Hambling’s controversial sculpture The Scallop (right or wrong, children love to climb on it), it’s also the site of the awe-inspiring Aldeburgh Beach Lookout: an inspirational art space where resident artists live in basic surroundings with the sole purpose of finding inspiration in their natural environment.

 

Giant chair at the Aldeburgh Beach LookoutAldeburgh Beach Lookout
Food, as you would expect, is integral to the coastal offering in Suffolk, and rightly so! Every September (29th – 30th), Snape Maltings welcomes the notable annual Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, sponsored by Adnams, the award-winning UK brewer. If you struggle to make it, why not experience Aldeburgh’s famous fish & chips and grab a perch on the distinctive seafront, all-year-round? Or make your selection at one of many seafront fish sheds as you amble along the beach front.
 
Dean Fryer, Aldeburgh fisherman (c) Rod EdwardsFisherman at Aldeburgh
Aldeburgh is much more than a seaside town; it’s enviable connections links Suffolk to the most momentous times in history and continues to be a magnet for artists from far and wide seeking inspiration and creating unique Suffolk stories.

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