Acton Lodge - a Memory of Southwold.

The building with the turret is Acton Lodge where my grandparents Drs John and Mary Leedham-Green lived from 1946 until the late 1980s.

The two cottages to the right had been demolished when my mother first visited (in the 1960s - she says it was a garden) and my grandparents built an extension there that housed their GP practice and garage with bedrooms down a long corridor accessible from the main house above. That extension has now been demolished and two cottages built there again.

They were known as Dr John and Dr Mary or Molly. There is a hippocratic plane tree opposite the old cottage hospital dedicated to my grandfather who worked and died there. Dr John was also a general surgeon at Lowestoft hospital.

I remember my grandmother waving a letter at someone passing her window saying: "he's another one of my babies, he'll post this letter for me". The man in question was about 40. She used to say that she or Dr John had helped deliver almost half the population of Southwold!

I remember being shown my grandmother’s consulting room which was accessed via a heavy, sound-proofed, padded door in the dining room (the room to the right as you face the front door). It led down a few steep wooden steps into the surgery corridor. Dr Mary was known to offer her patients a cigarette and/or a nip of something if they were particularly troubled.

As I child I remember peering out of the front windows at a semi-derelict cottage over the green, where a local character called Ginger used to sit outside all day. He had a huge ginger Victorian beard, and ancient Victorian brown clothes tied together with string. Some days he'd smile and others he'd scowl.

Their housekeeper Alma Whitchurch was a common sight walking across the green with her tweed skirt and cardigan on, her long red hair up in a bun with a headscarf over the top, tiny and stooped with her bent back, two Pekingese dogs at her heels, chatting to everyone and sneaking tubes of Smarties into small children's hands.

I recently visited Southwold and was talking to a man who recalled Dr John rowing down Ferry Road during the floods of 1953 rescuing people from their rooftops.

Trinity Fair used to be held on the green outside the front door, and there were often Morris dancers.


A memory shared by Kay Leedham Green on Jun 15th, 2014.
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 Comments & Feedback

Wed Feb 7th 2018, at 5:46 pm
sylviabarsby71 commented:
Dr Leedham -Green was our doctor. Elizabeth and I went to Roses Way School. I don't think that Charles did.
Sylvian Barsby
Nee Raffles
Wed Dec 20th 2017, at 6:18 am
muril commented:
I have only visited Southwold once, with my mother Benita Butterfield, she ran a hair salon in the 1960's there......would love to know if anyone remembers her or my father Colin Philips who worked at Sizewell

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