Members of the SLHA Industrial Archaeology team visited sites in and around Sutton Bridge on Thursday 22 March.
David Clowes and Beryl Jackson (local SLHA members) were the guides and interpreters of the complex system of sluices and bridges where the North Level Main Drain joins the River Nene at Foul Anchor to the east of Tydd Gote (TF 467180).
The history of drainage of this area bordering Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk is long and involved; there are helpful modern interpretation boards at two sites; examination of Beryl’s comprehensive collection of maps, diagrams and photographs was also invaluable.
In the afternoon we looked at the remains of the former Sutton Bridge Dock, now the site of the local Golf Club. The 13-acre dock was completed in 1881, but within a few weeks several lengths of the concrete faced banks had collapsed and could not be satisfactorily repaired and stabilised.
The overall profile of the dock can still be recognised and several features remain, notably the 750-foot timber jetty along the face the south-east quay. Measurements and photographs were taken for a full report which will appear in the society’s journal in due course.
We are grateful to Norman Davis, our guide, and members of the Sutton Bridge Golf Club for allowing access.
Neil Wright's recent book Sutton Bridge: An Industrial History gives full details of the dock's construction and demise.