mystery, that more than makes up for what it may have surrendered.’ A plaque in the Crown
Inn at WESTLETON commemorates his visit there.
EDWARD THOMAS (1878-1917), the poet, stayed in one of the coastguards’ cottages on
DUNWICH HEATH in 1908, while writing his biography of Richard Jefferies. The
National Trust team room displays a letter written during that visit.
The Irish Writer BRENDAN BEHAN (1923-1964) was less enamoured with the area
when he came as guest of Her Majesty to HOLLESLEY BAY COLONY, then a boy’s
borstal. In Borstal Boy (1958) he describes a swimming trip to SHINGLE STREET,
where the hard stone pebbles reminded him of ‘the people of the place’ and the dancing
waves has ‘no limit but the rim of the world’. Later came JEFFREY ARCHER, the 41
popular novelist, to the adult prison at Hollesley Bay. In 2001 he was convicted of perjury
and perverting the course of justice at the Old Bailey, and spent part of his prison sentence here.
The poet JOHN BETJEMAN (1906-1984) found the gardens of Spa Pavilion in
FELIXSTOWE ‘a sunlit kingdom touched by butterflies’.
EDWARD CLODD, the rationalist and agnostic, lived at Stratford House on Crag Path at
ALDEBURGH. He entertained many of his literary friends here, including J.M. BARRIE,
GEORGE GISSING and H.G. WELLS. THOMAS HARDY kept his visits to Stratford
House very secret as he brought with him his secretary Florence Dugdale who later became
his second wife. On one occasion Hardy and the others sailed up the Deben to Woodbridge and
walked to Edward FitzGerald’s grave in Boulge. Clodd founded the Omar Khayyam Club.
The novelist E.M. FORSTER (1879-1970) was fond of the ALDEBURGH region and
visited often, staying at the White Lion hotel on the front with his friends the Buckinghams.
He collaborated with Eric Crozier on the libretto for Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd.
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