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Leiston

Photo from Leiston

Closed brewery (post-1970)


Useful links


Leiston in Domesday

Leiston is part of Leiston cum Sizewell parish.

Population (2011) of Leiston cum Sizewell parish: 5508.


Local licensing authority for Leiston is Suffolk Coastal.

Overview | Gallery | Historical info | Map | Street-by-street

About Leiston

Leiston is a small town with a largely industrial character, listed in Domesday variously as "Ledestuna" or "Leistuna" and on John Speed's 1610 as "Lay┼┐ton".

The engineering firm of Richard Garrett & sons employed 600 men in 1862 and had a world-wide reputation for agricultural implements and steam engines. Their old Long Shop is now an award winning museum (open Mon-Sat from April to October.)

A mile north of the town are the extensive ruins of Leiston abbey, home to a Premonstratensian Order prior to its dissolution in 1537. The ruins are open to the public at all times.

A number of windmills used to operate in the coastal area to the north of Leiston. One of these has been removed and re-built at the Museum of East Anglian Life. Another post-Medieval mill is reported to have stood in the town, near Roberts Road. Yet another stood on the Sizewell Road.

Leiston Station was on the Adeburgh-Saxmundham branch. It opened in 1859 and was closed by Beeching in September 1966. The line through Leiston is still occasionally used by freight trains taking nuclear waste from the nearby Sizewell power stations.

Also see Eastbridge and Sizewell.

RAF Leiston was built by John Mowlem & Co from September 1942, just two miles north east of the town. It became operational from November 1943 when P47 (Thunderbolt) planes of the USAF 357th Fighter Group arrived. They flew just 17 fighter escort missions from here before moving to Raydon, reputedly exchanging one mud hole for another in January 1944. They were replaced soon after by P51 (Mustang) planes flown by the USAF 357th Fighter Group who were to be based here until the end of the war. In 313 missions they collectively claimed 609 enemy aircraft downed in combat and over 100 destroyed on the ground. Long range missions included visits to both Russia and Poland. Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager was based here.

We have so far been unable to find a map showing the boundary between Leiston and Sizewell, so only the parish boundary appears on our map.

Acknowledgements

Some details from "Suffolk Airfields in WW2" by Graham Smith.