311 – 333 Whapload Road Lowestoft, Suffolk – Historic Area Assessment

Author(s): Matthew Bristow

Whapload Road, on the eastern edge of Lowestoft in northern Suffolk, contains preserved – amongst its light industrial premises, 20th-century housing, retail units and offices – the remains of a block of late 17th and early 18th-century fishing buildings associated with the east coast’s lucrative herring fishery. Although much altered and scantly documented, these ‘Fish Offices’ are the last physical vestiges of the herring fishing and fish curing industries entirely rebuilt following a catastrophic fire which swept through Lowestoft on 10th March 1645. The road to recovery for the Lowestoft fishermen and merchants was a long one, further complicated by the centuries old dispute with the Burgesses of neighbouring Great Yarmouth who sought to suppress the Lowestoft fishing industry to ensure the supremacy of their own. Following the final settlement of this dispute in 1663, Lowestoft’s fishermen were free to recommence and expand their herring fishery, further aided in January 1679 by the grant of a port licence, allowing the landing of salt and other essential fishing materials at Lowestoft and ending the requirement to land goods at Yarmouth and transport them along the coast road. These resolutions allowed the major Lowestoft merchant families to invest in their fishing premises, rebuilding the lost timber fish houses and stores in brick and beach stone to mitigate the risk of fire.

Report Number:
Research Report
Standing Building Standing Structure Heritage Action Zone


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Email: [email protected]