New Web Archive Celebrates Southwold’s Local Business History

Southwold has always had a unique high street, with small, local names managing to hold their own against the homogenisation that has sucked the life out of so many small towns.

Now a local historian has created a unique archive which chronicles the changing trends that have swept through Southwold over the last century, and beyond. Former town councillor Ronnie Waters has been collating an incredible archive for years, but now, thanks to the input of retired IT consultant Barry Tolfree, the collection is now viewable online at

Mr Tolfree’s work means that the fruits of Mr Waters’ 23 years of work can be enjoyed by anyone with an internet connection, and ensures that Southwold’s unique retail history is preserved for the generations.

For Mr Waters, the collection provides a way to celebrate days gone by. He told the Eastern Daily Press: “We used to have big celebrations, like for the coronation and the Christmas lights. Whenever there was an event, people would build big wooden models. There was a big fairy castle once. Southwold was a wonderful place for anything like that. Mainly because people who owned the shops lived above them and didn’t go out of the town.”

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