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Southwold beach huts
Point 4 - The Beach Huts
Think of Southwold and you think of beach huts. Their gaily painted exteriors exude a glow of nostalgia, a step back in time to cosy family holidays with sandwiches and cream teas.
Southwold is an English resort town full of an old world charm. It has a permanent population of 1,500 people and 1,250 properties, of which 450 are either second homes or holiday lets.
The town has 300 beach huts, which stretch along the shore like the brightly coloured beads of a necklace.
The beach huts in Southwold evolved from fishermen's huts and bathing huts. From there they progressed to huts in use on a daily basis and for the holiday season.
Quite often a hut was linked to a property and if a house was sold, the beach hut came with the house.
Dr Slim Dinsdale, Chairman of the Beach Hut Owners' Association, says there are two different sorts of people who buy beach huts....those with an extremely large bank balance and those who simply love Southwold, love the beaches and love the huts.
He says: "There's something quite unique and magical about sitting in a beach hut on a sunny day and even when a storm is raging. You just have your own little piece of isolation and escapism and it's absolutely wonderful."
LISTEN/READ MORE OF AN INTERVIEW WITH SLIM DINSDALE TALKING ABOUT THE BEACH HUTS. CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE >>
Beach huts can change hands for vast sums of money, some have been known to sell for around the £35,000 mark, either way they get snapped up very quickly.
The price of the huts depends upon the position and condition. Those with a more southerly aspect seem to command a greater price. The ones in the Gun Hill area are at a premium, whereas those to the north of the pier, particularly as there's no beach there are the moment, tend to go for a lower price.
For most owners the huts form an integral part of their lives and they are something to be cherished. They are kept within the close family, to be handed down through the generations.
Parties are sometimes held at the huts and passers-by are met with the sight of guests in ball gowns and black tie drinking champagne on the prom!
Southwold has featured on many television programmes over the years. More recently the Corner Hut, near the Gun Hill Beach Café was chosen for an appearance in the film ‘Iris’, starring Dame Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent.
The hut, owned by Gordon Mitchell, was transformed to reflect pre and post war seaside life complete with authentic props. The cast and film crew were on site for two days and the hut was on screen for about three minutes!
Auntie Bong Bong
The names of the huts are intriguing, so much so that Southwold resident, Janet Gershlick, has written a book about the huts and the people who live in them. Her own hut is known as Auntie Bong Bong. She says: “For many people they are just a place to simply be…..They are colourful and they sit there and they just love basking in the sun, as do their owners.’
LISTEN/READ MORE FROM LOCAL AUTHOR JANET GERSHLICK TALKING ABOUT HER BEACH HUT. CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE >>
last updated: 11/04/2008 at 10:54
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