On this day!
The Ipswich Journal, 1st November 1834.
The River Blyth has always had a problem with silting up. By kind permission of the British Newspaper Archives, we reproduce part of a lengthy article describing the use of a new steam escavator to make Southwold harbour navigable once again.
........The harbour of Southwold is formed by the river Blyth, and at the entrance are two piers, constructed of wood, extending into the sea. From the inner end of the south pier the river formerly ran in a semi-circular and serpentine form, round a shoal, called the Bellar, to Walberswick quay, off which, and in the middle of the river above the quay, shoals had accumulated for years, and to a lengthened extent.
A straight cut from the piers to Walberswick quay has been made through the Bellar, by which a very circuitous and troublesome part is improved, and the Commissioners are about to be engaged in effecting improvements on the north side of this cut, where the waters expand to an inconvenient extent. The excavation through the Bellar, so far as it was performed by manual labour, was made in 1832, at the same time as the new outlet was constructed with a direction towards the harbour’s mouth, for discharging the waters from the extensive range of marshes between Walberswick and Dunwich. The new cut has since been deepened by the steam excavator, and completed for navigable purposes. The old channel by the jetty has begun to silt up, and the new channel, stretching in a straight line from the mouth of the harbour, joins the next reach at Walberswick Quay, and continues in another straight line to Blackshore. By this energetic measure every obstruction is removed, and the most beneficial effects produced by the unopposed force of the tide on the bar.
Walberswick Quay itself is, however, a drawback upon these improvements, inasmuch as it is placed in an oblique position in the hollow of a bend of the river and which prevents the channel from being more straightened at that part. Why the quay was originally placed in such an awkward position, or to what the blunder is to be attributed, it is difficult to conjecture; but the error is committed, and it is feared must remain, for the quay is private property, and is one of those malformations that would require more to reform than to make a new one. It is mortifying to reflect that it is the only place where any obstruction will be likely to arise in the whole line between Reydon Quay and the sea, as it is also the only place where the shipping have convenience on the south side of the river for loading and unloading their cargoes.....