Historian Simon Knott comments that “Halesworth’s main street, the Thoroughfare, is one of Suffolk’s best-kept secrets. It is the prettiest and most interesting main street of any of East Anglia’s smaller towns. An unequalled range of 17th, 18th and 19th century frontages, with plenty of fascinating signage surviving from the 1950s and 1960s. Hardly a single neon tube, with a couple of elaborate Art Nouveau and Art Deco moments, and not a chain store in sight.”
Moreover several years ago, a national newspaper described the town as “the stuff of dreams“, referring to “the faded glory of a tall, early 19th century redbrick house, a crinkle crankle wall, a bridge over the river alive with ducks, towering trees, romantically dishevelled gardens and timber framed rambling buildings.”
The Halesworth Art Gallery on the upper floor of the Almshouses building has changing exhibitions of local & national works, from contemporary painting and sculpture to ceramics and textiles.
The town was the home of Sir William Hooker, first director of Kew Gardens and the birthplace of his son Sir Joseph Hooker, also director of Kew Gardens. For those interested in unusual plants or gardening generally, the ‘Hooker Trail’ has been devised by local enthusiasts collaborating with Kew.
The Railway Station at Halesworth is notable for its unique moveable railway platforms which enabled traffic to continue to use the road (except when a train was actually in the station) and which are the only example in the country.
More information at the Museum where an exciting interactive scale model of the town in Tudor times can be viewed.
And here’s some more intriguing snippets about the town…