The Anonymous Widower

Felixstowe Docks and Landguard Fort

On Wednesday, I went to view the docks at Felixstowe and the restored Landguard Fort at the point opposite Harwich.  Note that I say docks, as I can remember when it was just a small square dock with a flour mill and a ferry across the river.  It is now the Port of Felixstowe and is the largest container port in the UK.

The fort is well worth a visit, although it has to be said despite living in Felixstowe in the 1960s, I didn’t visit it until the early years of this century.  Perhaps, it shows how we treat history.

I did though cycle to the other Felixstowe fort at the Dooley in those far-off days, where with friends we wandered all over the ruin.  Type “Dooley Fort Felixstowe” into Google and you’re find all sorts of memories of the place.

The Dooley Fort is now under the dock.  As is the Little Ships Hotel, the old dock basin and the army barracks.

This post is on a forum about Felixstowe.

It is very disappointing that whenever I visit Felixstowe I see more country side destroyed.

The Orwell estury was an area of natural beauty with marshland, shingle, sand & mud. It abounded with wild life. The creeks were full of shrimps, crabs, and I even found a sea urchin. You could collect winkles and as a child shore crabs.

The marshes were a wonderful place for collecting mushrooms. They were everywhere. The ruined Dooley Fort was a magical place. We kids spent many happy hours playing there while the Old Man was at the Dooley Pub sinking a few and a few more pints.

I can remember those times and the writer sums it all up well.  Especially, as the whole area behind the Port is now a sea of houses and supermarkets.  In the 1960s it was all green fields, except for the pub and a few cottages.

December 4, 2009 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. I was so surprised to read this as I remember it well. It wasn’t till I checked up on the author that I found it was me.

    Comment by len cross | September 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. Did you know that the Dutch tried to invade on the 4th July, 1667. That was the last time the UK was actually invaded.

    I lived in Felixstowe for ten years and never knew that. But then I didn’t ever go to school in the town. Where did you live?

    Comment by AnonW | September 23, 2010 | Reply

    • There are several good historical booklet writen by Doreen Raynor, local historian and highly involved with the preservation of Landguard Fort on Landguard Fort. I was born in Chepstow Rd. Also spent much time at 78 Seaton Rd. Now visit Hawkes Lane regularily.

      Comment by Len Cross | December 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Just nitpicking, but the UK has been invaded multiple times since 1667. One of them was even successful (Revolution of 1688). The last invasion I’m aware of was in Wales, by the french in 1798.

      Comment by anon | September 3, 2011 | Reply

  3. I was born in Martlesham, but lived in Felixstowe after WW2 ,and went to the grammar school there.I remember with affection landguard fort [the dooley] scene of many a romantic tryst!. I have just been watching ‘Coast’ and was infuriated by the almost complete omission of Felixstowe.
    I also remember Harwich being home to all those mothballed warships. I can’t remember the name of the street where we lived first but it was near the Martello tower and next to a haunted [vandalised] house at the top of a path down the cliffs.Then we moved to a road leading up to the Grammar school and I worked one summer holiday at the restaurant owned by the town .I wonder if the hotel which became Fison House is still there?
    I have lived in Australia now for over 40 years but revisited Felixstowe about 5 years ago with my brother
    Nancy M [nee Lewis]

    Comment by Nancy Marchant | July 16, 2011 | Reply

    • The Dooley and Landguard Fort are two different places. The Dooley is long gone and is under the Docks, although the pub of the same name is still there. Landguard Fort was probably closed when you were there and it’s only since it has been done up, that you can visit.

      Did you live behind Felixstowe College, the famous girls school, as there still is a path there down to the beach?

      Fison House is I think a large retirement community. Fisons of course no longer exist, although some of their research places are still part of other companies.

      Although I lived in the town for ten years off and on, I never realised it was the last place invaded in the UK. That’s why the 4th of July is Darrell’s Day in Suffolk.

      Comment by AnonW | July 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. You can find on the Port of Felixstowe Unite site two photos of the Dooley fort which I took about 1960

    Len Cross

    Comment by Len Cross | September 12, 2011 | Reply

  5. has anyone got a picture of the little ships pub at Felixstow, as i have purchased a pair of very long butler sinks , from a friend who said they came from the little ships pub , dont know if they were
    inside or outside as a ornamental item help if you can pleas
    thanks phillip.

    Comment by phillip | June 5, 2013 | Reply

    • I too am looking for a picture of the Little Ships Hotel as a good friend of mine’s father-in-law was the last proprietor of the pub before it closed down. I have his father-in-laws original pub chair as well as rare match book box from the pub. I will see if I can find out some information about the sinks for you!! Cheers from Canada.

      Comment by Andrew Smith | December 7, 2013 | Reply

  6. Very interesting.I remember the Dooly pub when it was called the Ferry Boat Inn. Any one know when it changed its name? We always called it the Dooly so as not to confuse it with the Ferry Boat Pub in old Felixstowe.

    Comment by john Henery | December 29, 2015 | Reply

  7. I remember The Dooley and the Martello Tower. Back in the mid 1960s my dad had a boat at Felixtowe Ferry, and we used to camp on the campsite next to The Dooley pub. Many evenings my brothers and I would wander up to the Tower and sit there enjoying the peace of the place and the views across the estuary, while listening to pirate radio on our transistor radio. It was a delightful place – pity it is now no more.

    Comment by Martin Dixon | August 23, 2018 | Reply

  8. As a small kid in the 1950s the walk from the Beach caravan camp along a country lane to the Dooley battery /“fort” was worth the effort because there was so much to re-explore each year. The walk back to the caravan in the evening dusk, make darker and forbidding by the trees along the lane, and the final excitement of the day when crossing the railway even though there were no trains……..magic!

    Comment by Mike Shelley | April 11, 2020 | Reply

  9. I spent lots of hours playing at the Dooley and later having a few drinks in the pub.

    Comment by AnonW | April 11, 2020 | Reply

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