What is the oldest shop in Southwold?

Southwold High Street

Southwold is an area rich in history. But what shop is the oldest in the local area?

There are a number of places in Southwold that can boast a long history- for example the Westleton Crown inn dates back to the 12th century. In terms of location Buckenham Galleries is situated in one of the oldest buildings in Southwold dating back to the 16th century.

There are a number of old fashioned sweet shops in the area. However these are ironically fairly recent developments (a lot like restaurants that are similar in style to old fashioned American diners) so although you can get the retro enjoyment of classic sweets they don’t tend to actually be based in historical developments.

One area with a great history is No 2 Market Place. It was first established in 1804 as a grocers and is still being used as a Co-Op now. Therefore arguably in terms of a place that is regularly used as a shop as opposed to a pub or an inn this is one of the oldest established shops still operating (although some research suggests South Green was the original heart of the town so it is likely there were older shops around there).

Where this becomes complicated is that historically Southwold was not just a place of fixed shops- some people would operate businesses from their homes and travel around, so establishing the oldest business becomes complicated. There is also the fact that numerous businesses no longer operate in the area and the chances to the streets themselves.

So in short in terms of somewhere offering a trade the argument for the oldest would be the Westleton Crown.

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