LOWESTOFT - the British Isles' most easterly town, is situated in the north-east of the county and was mentioned in the Domesday Book. In the 18th & 19th Centuries it expanded and absorbed the adjacent hamlets of Kirkley, Normanston and Carlton Colville and has grown to a town with a population of 70,000.

Many of the major industries have disappeared but some tentative regeneration is occurring, mainly in the field of windfarm turbine building and maintenance. Two large marinas attract private yachts and cruisers from Europe. The town still manages to attract day visitors with its superb Blue Flag beaches and safe bathing


 The Maritime Museum in Sparrow's Nest Gardens houses a large collection dedicated to the now defunct fishing industry. During WW2, Sparrow's Nestiwas the home of was the The Royal Navy Patrol Service which occupied the Nest throughout the war and was named HMS Europa. The  Lowestoft War Museum, which contans a vast collection of  photographs and artefacts of Lowestoft in WW2, is alway pleased to welcome visitors.   A memorial to members of the RNPS is in the adjacent Belle Vue Park displaying the names of 2385 seamen who "have no known grave".

The Lowestoft Museum in Nicholas Everitts Park, Oulton Broad, has a fine collection of Lowestoft Porcelain.

 Our Group

In 1975 Katherine Bardwell with a few like-minded individuals started a small group which was held at Lowestoft library - there was no record office there then. The launch was very successful and the Suffolk Genealogy Society was born, with Katherine as its chairman & magazine editor. Later a group at Ipswich was formed and the name changed to Suffolk Family History Society.

The group has been active over the years in promoting family history with stalls at various local events. Parish register transcriptions have been foremost and most parishes in the Waveney district have been transcribed wholly or partially. Likewise with Monumental inscriptions and most churchyards have been transcribed.

Our New Venue


Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month (except Jan & Aug) at our new venue:

Small Meeting Room, St Margaret's Church Hall, 147 Hollingsworth Road, Lowestoft, NR32 4BW.

Ample free on-site parking is available

Doors open at 7pm and the meeting starts at 7.30pm with entry for SFHS members £1.50 and non-members £2.00. Newcomers are especially welcome.

We have a varied programme of interesting talks and speakers and following this tea or coffee and biscuits are served. Society CDs of transcripts and other documents are available to borrow if requested.

We always like a chance to discuss Family History interests so if you're just starting or stuck and need help or advice do please feel free to ask any of the Committee.


Now find us on Facebook - Suffolk Family History Society - Lowestoft Branch

Royal Naval Patrol Service Memorial - The Memorial commemorates members who died during 1939-1946 and have no known grave other than the sea.

"Excelsior" LT472 - A Lowestoft smack built in 1921, this fishing vessel has been meticulously restored to her original sailing appearance.

Lowestoft Workshop and Heritage

Lowestoft Maritime Museum Sparrow's Nest

Lowestoft Museum, Nicholas Everitts Park - Lowestoft Museum collects, preserves and displays objects relating to the history of the area and its people, and promotes awareness and interest in our rich heritage.

Lowestoft Archaeological & Local History Society - meetings at South Lowestoft Methodist Church,London Road South at 7.30.



Last Modified on 14/06/2023 by Janis Kirby


How the Lowestoft Group of SFHS spent the summer

Posted by Janis Kirby on Tue, 3rd Oct 2023

In July 2023  Group member Steve invited Lowestoft other members [and their partners] to his home in Hopton on Sea for a "get together" as it was felt monthly meetings didn't allow much opportunity to socialise.  A good crowd turned out and we were blessed with good weather.  Many thanks to Steve and Della for providing refreshments and if anyone would like to do something similar please contact Janis or one of the Committee.

In August Thelma's second tour of St Margaret's Churchyard was very well supported.  The event was opened to non-members and here's hoping Thelma will do another tour next year.  We know she has to do a lot of research for this evening and it is greatly appreciated.  Unfortunately we couldn't meet in the parish church as it was closed due to unforseen circumstances.  We learnt later that plaster was falling off the walls/ceiling and gave the donation we collected to the Church to start off their building fund.

On Friday 11 August we had an amble around Gunton parish led by Chris Brooks of the Jack Rose Old Lowestoft Society followed by coffee at Dip Farm.  This was open to non-members and we were thankful much of the walk was in wooded areas as it was a very hot day.  Chris gave a very detailed talk and we learnt a great deal.  A donation was collected during the walk which Chris split between the JROLS and the recently established LADIA [Lowestoft & District Independent Archive].

Lowestoft SFHS Group  doesn't usually have meetings during the summer due to holiday commitments, so we were very pleased with the support the above events received

Our New Venue

Posted by Janis Kirby on Tue, 1st Feb 2022

The Lowestoft Group will be holding its first meeting since the Covid epidemic outbreak, on Tuesday 1 March at 7.30pm at its new venue in St Margaret's Church Hall, 147 Hollingsworth Rd, Lowestoft, NR32 4BW.  We are holding our meeting in the small room and there is on site car parking. 

We shall be taking a look at the 1921 census and if you have downloaded any 1921 census returns please bring them along so we can discuss them.  This will be an informal meeting and tea/coffee will be served during the evening.

We look forward to see old friends and new ones.  There is a charge of £1.50 for members and £2 for non-members.

Janis Kirby


Autumn Newsletter

Posted by Janis Kirby on Sat, 3rd Oct 2020

Hi Everyone

Our latest Newsletter is available for reading under Projects and Contact headings.  Please let us know what you think using our Lowestoft Group email address:

Lowestoft Group Newsletter

Posted by Janis Kirby on Mon, 24th Aug 2020

Due to the Covid 19 situation, the Lowestoft Committee has produced a lengthy Newsletter which can be emailed to any member who wishes to receive it.  Simply contact Janis Kirby, Lowestoft Group Chair for a copy.

All group meetings are cancelled until further notice in line with most other societies and groups. You can keep up with what is going on locally by looking at our two Facebook Pages; "Suffolk Family History Society - Lowestoft Branch" which is a private group where you can share your family history experiences and ask for help.  The second Facebook page "Face to Face - SFHS Extra" is a public group which is a forum for sharing and discussing family history and local history items with like-minded people.  Please take a look, even if you're not a "Facebook" person

Lowestoft Group 2020 AGM

Posted by K Pulford on Mon, 27th Apr 2020

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to learn that the Group's AGM due to be held on 5 May 2020, has been postponed as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic.  It is hoped to hold this meeting later in the year, and members will be notified when a date has been arranged.

In the meantime, a Chair's Report will be prepared, which will be displayed on Lowestoft Group's page of SFHS webpage, and the Lowestoft Group's Facebook page

Chair's Report

Our current Secretary Beryl Capps will be retiring this year and if anyone would like to take on this role, please contact either Beryl or myself

Janis Kirby

Chair, Lowestoft Group


Posted by Janis Kirby on Mon, 16th Mar 2020

It has been decided to cancel the Family History Drop-Session at the Heritage Centre on Wednesday 18 March and the monthly meeting at the United Reform Church, London Road North, Lowestoft on 7 April due to the above.  

Lowestoft Group

Posted by Janis Kirby on Fri, 22nd Nov 2019

Members of Lowestoft Group of SFHS displaying the St Edmund flag at the Drop In session which is held on the third Wednesday afternoon of each month at the Heritage Centre, Wilde's Score off the High Street, Lowestoft. This session is open to all (including non-members) starting at 2pm until 4pm

New radio station comes to Lowestoft

Posted by Janis Kirby on Thu, 21st Nov 2019

There is a new radio station station operating from the Heritage Centre in Lowestoft and we had a visit from John Hammond yesterday afternoon at our monthly drop in session. You can only listen to via phone/laptop or Ipad. It covers Lowestoft, Beccles, Southwold, Halesworth, Saxmundham, Leiston, and Bungay in the north east corner of Suffolk. Happy St Edmund's Day from the Suffolk Family History Society's Lowestoft Branch

Group Visit to Beccles Museum

Posted by Janis Kirby on Sun, 18th Aug 2019

On a warm summers evening on Tuesday 13th August the Lowestoft group of SFHS and together with Lowestoft Archaeology & Local History Society visited Beccles Museum who opened especially for us.  We were welcomed by Chairman Barry Darch and then left to explore.  The museum is sited on Ballygate with wonderful views across the Waveney Valley from its garden. 

We were able to view the Rix Collection which covers the history of Beccles from the 15th century to 1895 and named after Samuel Wilton Rix who put the Collection together. This is currently on loan from the Lowestoft branch of Suffolk Record Office and is in the process of being digitised by Alan Wheeler who is the Curator of the museum.  This is proving to be a very lengthy process, but worthwhile as it will be available on the musuem's computer in due course.  The musuem has diverse collections, including a temporary exhibition on the Beccles Lido Group and is housed in the 16th century Leman School.  We would like to thank Beccles Museum and the volunteers for a lovely evening


03/03/2020Secret Listeners and Code Breakers
Ron Ashman
07/04/2020Anniversary of VE Day
Members Participation
05/05/2020AGM followed by TALK on North Lowestoft Parks
Ivan Bunn
02/06/2020Daniel Malden - Ipswich Highwayman
Pip Wright
07/07/2020Crime in Lowestoft Scores
Angela Bliss
01/09/2020The Trials of Mrs Everson
Janis Kirby
06/10/2020"Wish You Were Here"
The history of the seaside postcard
Richard Mundy
03/11/2020Lowestoft Drifters
WW1 Lowestoft Drifters in the Adriatic
Ivan Bunn
01/12/2020Research and Social Evening
Members Participation
01/03/2022An Informal look at the 1921 Census
An informal look at the 1921 census
Janis Kirby
05/04/2022"Open Surgery"
no speaker
03/05/2022Ice, Fish, Carts and Coaches - Lowestoft Fishing and Holiday Industries
Tony Thurston
07/06/2022A Long Way From Home
Lowestoft Evacuees - 80 years on
Sandra Delf
05/07/2022A Wander Around the Churchyard
An opportunity to explore St Margaret's parish church yard and take a look at the gravestones
Group Led
06/09/2022"Open Surgery"
Family history research evening
Group Members
04/10/2022The Prunier Herring Trophy
The background to the trophy awarded to the drifter which landed the largest catch in one haul between the years 1936-1966
Ivan Bunn
01/11/2022Monte Carlo or Bust
An account of two Lowestoft friends' motorcycling holiday in 1951
Janis Kirby
06/11/20221960s Music In Lowestoft and social evening
Lots of big names from the pop world played Lowestoft in the 1960s. If you remember those times, come along and listen to this great talk. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to socialise and enjoy a few Christmas nibbles at our last meeting of 2022
Richard Mundy
03/01/2023no meeting
No Meeting
07/02/2023Capt Cook - The Early Years
Sue Pearce
07/03/2023The Murder of PC McFadden
Trudie Jackson
04/04/2023Welcome to the Workhouse
Richard Mann
02/05/2023AGM followed by Research Evening
Annual General Meeting followed by research evening
06/06/2023Photos of Old Lowestoft
Photo presentation by local man Bert Collyer
Bert Collyer
04/07/2023Experiences of the 2011 New Zealand Earthquake
One of our member's tells the story of his visit to New Zealand for a family wedding when he got caught up in New Zealand's 5th worst earthquake
Michael Jeffery
01/08/2023Tour of St Margaret's Churchyard led by SFHS member Thelma Waller
Meet in St Margaret's Church for a tour of our parish church yard and afterwards refreshments in the church hall
11/08/2023Walk in the Ancient Parish of Gunton with Chris Brooks
A two miles amble led by Chris Brooks of Jack Rose Old Lowestoft Society. Meet at the coffee shop at Dip Farm. No charge but donation would be appreciated.
Chris Brooks
A talk on the growth and development of local camps by Lowestoft SFHS member.
Steve Ames
03/10/2023The Elizabethan House
Come along and hear the history of this imposing house overlooking the River Yare, South Quay, Great Yarmouth
Stuart Burgess
07/11/2023Late Medieval Lowestoft
Two of our local historians will show Lowestoft evolved as a small planned township. David and Ivan always provide a wonderful evening so come early to get a seat
David Butcher and Ivan Bunn
05/12/20231960's Music in Lowestoft Part 2
This is the second part of Richard's highly popular talk which was thoroughly enjoyed by all attended Part 1 last year. The talk will be followed by a social evening.
Richard Mundy


For further details on the programme you should contact


Group Contact


Group Projects

We don't have projects to show you at the moment but please call back to see what we had achieved.


Newsletter Autumn 2020 (.docx) - Uploaded 02/10/2020