Monday, 7 June 2010

Thorpeness, Suffolk

Writing in 1996 Ailsa Ogilvie de Mille described her grandfather's vision of a new community on the Suffolk coast...

"An idea was crystallising in Stuart's mind. It was crazy. Quite mad! But suddenly he felt more excited than when he had a wonderful idea for a new play. Somehow, he would put life back into the little hamlet. He would recreate Thorpe. He would build houses, clubs, the chapel - pump breath back into its heart - and he would make the heart not the beach but a great lake, 'the other dimension': the mere." 

Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie realised his vision from 1910 onwards, leaving us today with a wonderfully eccentric legacy - Thorpeness. Only on these islands could this piece of inspired 'madness' come to life I think! 

A few weeks ago I went on an excursion to this unique place. For the seasoned Rambler, the blend of eccentricity, a surprisingly affordable antique centre and a cup of tea (with cake!) by the boating lake, all add up to a splendid place to don ones' tweed and relax. If you are travelling southwards from Norfolk (as many Ramblers do), you may wish to take in visits to the churches at Rumburgh and Wenhaston, as well as the wonderful Old Chapel at Walpole (which I will be writing about presently). 

To whet your appetite a little, here are some photographs of Mr. Ogilvie's dream...


  1. Crikey! Lovely stuff, old man, but you better check that first date - think you must mean 1896, not 1996..!

  2. Hello Anonymous, and thank you for your kind words and counsel. It was written in 1996, but my error was in describing her as 'daughter'. It was his 'granddaughter' of course! I have corrected this, so thank you.