Aldeburgh

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Aldeburgh  is a coastal town in Suffolk, East Anglia, England. Located on theRiver Alde, the town is notable for its Blue Flag shingle beach and fisherman huts where freshly caught fish are sold daily, and the Aldeburgh Yacht Club. The internationally renowned Aldeburgh Festival of arts, which takes place at nearby Snape Maltings, was created in 1948 by the resident and acclaimed composer Benjamin Britten.

A popular weekend destination, particular attractions are the ancient Moot Hall (where the town council still meets), Napoleonic-era Martello tower to the south, sheltered yachting marina at Slaughden, and two family run shops serving fish and chips, one of which is often cited as among the best fish and chip shops in the UK.

Alde Burgh means “old fort” although this structure, along with much of the Tudor town, has now been lost to the sea. In the 16th century, Aldeburgh was a leading port, and had a flourishing ship-building industry. Sir Francis Drake’s ships Greyhound and Pelican (later renamed Golden Hind) were both built in Aldeburgh. The flagship of the Virginia Company, theSea Venture is believed to have been built there in 1608. When the River Alde silted up and was unable to accommodate larger ships, the area went into decline. Aldeburgh survived principally as a fishing village until the nineteenth century, when it became popular as a seaside resort. Much of its distinctive and whimsical architecture derives from this period. The river is now home to a yacht club and a sailing club.

Aldeburgh is within the Suffolk Coastal parliamentary constituency and local government district. The constituency was represented from 1983 to 2010 by John Gummer of the Conservative Party. In 2010 John Gummer chose not to seek re-election and Therese Coffey was returned as MP for the Conservative Party with a majority of 9,128.

Aldeburgh was a Parliamentary Borough from 1571, and returned two Members of Parliament, the right to vote being vested in the Freemen of the town. Latterly it was considered a rotten borough, and lost its representation in the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Aldeburgh was the first British town to elect a female mayor: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, in 1908.

At the age of 15, Sam Wright became Aldeburgh’s town crier and mace barer – the youngest in the world.

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