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Halesworth Sign

Sep 2014

halh Anglian nook (of land) + worð Old English enclosure.

Population - 4,484.

Halesworth Sign

Halesworth is unusually well served for this part of North Suffolk with a train station and an A road. That'll be 'A' for 'Artsy', then, which is how the town is  sold.

Emerge through a gap from the car park and turn left onto Thoroughfare. It's an archaic, Anglian term that refers to a collection of traders, often in close proximity, providing easily accessible goods and services to the local townsfolk.

Yes, a high street.

Looking behind, there's not too much business being done today and nowhere near as much bustle, it's imagined, when the annual, charitable event Thorough-fair is hosted along here.

See what they did there? Seriously, some fine work there fellas or lovely work there ladies, if applicable.

The artsy sell isn't overly evident, so far, aside from an independent bookshop next to the  Angel Hotel. It's all rather deserted, really, but Thoroughfare leads to Market Place, the hub of these traditional market towns, right?

There's a Chinese takeaway, closed, a Wine Merchant, closed and boo, and the old town pump, closed and capped off, actually, with a stone urn. This snap was taken from the doorway of the local  tandoori, also closed, but, in their defence, you're not going to shift that much chicken tikka at 4 PM on a Thursday.

Just out of sight, an eye-catching, 17th-century building has links to the old wool trade before it became the inevitable coaching inn. It then functioned as the UK's only Grade II listed Social Club, probably, where the highwaymen inside were the now-retired ones who built the much-needed bypass in the '80s.

  Halesworth Gallery (Steeple End)

There's a diversion down to St Mary's Church behind which the Halesworth Gallery can be found in one of the town's old almshouses. The association promotes the work of largely local artists whose works are regularly exhibited and all looking out over the headstones.

53 years they've been here, the gallery, that is, the graves are much, much older.

It's either back the way you came or look for the path up Rectory Lane off Chediston Street. That leads up to Rectory Street where it's right to some evidence of a much better guide, an excellently-researched historic  Town Trail that, quite frankly, puts much of this so-called guide to shame.

If you've time for a proper, rather than a random, wander for a handle on the history of Halesworth, the information board can be found just opposite the library.

You'll have to memorise it, though, since this one's set in concrete and, unlike you, it ain't going nowhere. Handily, you could just pop into the library and pick up a printed copy.

  The Cut (New Cut)

The artsy reputation is now known to be centred around The Cut arts centre, which is only five minutes away if you want to go all Gauguin.

There's an impressive array of exhibitions and events, a café to muse in and an annual festival in September although it's hoped the 2019  hiatus is a temporary performance interval.

Saying that, who knew?

The library is at the other end of Thoroughfare where it's suddenly apparent as to today's selling situation. Accidentally visiting on a Thursday, it has been found to be half-day closing. Not the traditional Wednesday one that you remember from the '70s but Thursday!

Thursday? That's a joke, right? Ironically, the Joke Shop was open even if it's more of a well-stocked toy shop, really.

There's no time now for the proper trail since the time's being clocked for the Pay & Display behind Thoroughfare. Despite being half-day Thursday, they charge for all day, which just seems to be...

Thoroughly un-fair!