1590
A new mouth of the Blyth was excavated throught the shingle bar to give the river Blyth boats of Walberswick and Southwold a more or less straight line of access to the sea. Dunwich men had to dail south from the site of their former town quay in order to use the new exit to the sea.

1614
The periodic blocking of the Blyt still continued and was highlighted in a pamphlet written by Tobias Gentleman of Southwold which described the situation as:

In the Towns of Southwold, Dunwich and Walberswick is a very good breed of fishermen... but these men are greatly hindered and in a manner undone by reason that their Haven is so bad and in a mananer often stopped up with beach and shingle stone.... it is pitiful the trouble and damage that all the men of these towns do daily sustain by their naughty harbour.

1688
The jurisdiction of the port of Southwold was defined as from Covehithe to Thorpeness. Southwold's Blackshore quay was declared the legal staithe from which goods could be landed and embarked for export.

1740
Reydon Quay built

1746
An Act of Parliament established a board of Commissioners to take control of Southwold Harbour from the Borough. The Commissioners were empowered to raise funds by mortgages secured on the proceeds of harbour dues.

1749-52
North and South Piers built to secures the harbour entrance.

1753
The headquarters of the Free British Fishery transferred from London to Southwold. This company had been formed by London merchants as a commercial device to compete with Dutch fisherman. The fishery was operated with 67 45-80 ton, square rigged boats, constructed on the same lines as the Dutch busses. The Southwold fleet was based on a quay and premises at Wood's End Creek (Buss Creek) with warehouses at Blackshore, and was engaged in exporting herrings, sprats, and also malt and corn.

1757
Act passed to make the River Blyth navigable by wherries from Southwold to Halesworth for the export of malt and import of coal.


1772
The Free British Fishery was a commercial failure.

1805-18
Harbour had to be dug out 13 times

1884
Halesworth Navigation closed. Southwold Borough regained control of the harbour.

1908
Harbour opened for the East Coast herring fleet after widening the harbour mouth and extending the piers with concrete. The new harbour and its shoreline facilities couild accommodate several hundred herring drifters. Barrels of cured herrings were exported to Germany.

1914
The harbour was a commercial failure, despite Southwold having a rail connection with Halesworth.


1932
Twenty colliers used the harbour to import 3,000 tons of coal. This was a commercial speculation that did not continue.

1974
Ownership of the harbour passed from the Borough Council to Waveney District Council

1986
A proposal by the District Council to back a commercial marina and holiday village on the Town Marshes was rejected by a public meeting held in St Edmunds Church.


1998
There were between 30-40 fishing boats registered at Southwold.

2008

East Anglian Daily Times; 20th February


4.5m harbour Repairs needed’

Users’ Association: Fears over lower cost options

By Staff Reporter

The future of a popular north Suffolk harbour will be in serious jeopardy if council bosses pursue cheaper options to carry out vital repairs, it has been claimed.

The Southwold Harbour Users' Association estimates £4.5million is needed to bring the crumbling north dock wall back into use, but fears Waveney District Council is now looking at lower cost options.

Chairman Graham Hay Davison said the repair of the wall is vital to the future prosperity of the harbour and has urged council bosses to protect the site for at least another century.

"The wall is now in imminent danger of collapse and has been classified as a dangerous structure, incapable of, being used for the purpose for which it is intended," he said.

"The future of the harbour is of paramount importance, not only for the town, but also in support of the up-river sea wall defences."

He insisted a £4.5m scheme that involves placing steel piling about half a metre into the river and filling the gap; with concrete is the only suitable solution.

However, after recent talks with a, council official, he has been led to believe other, cheaper, options are being considered, including collapsing the north dock wall into the river.

"Wasting time devising cheaper courses of action, which take out the dock wall, are simply not acceptable" he said. "The harbour cannot survive without this facility"

Mr Hay Davison said another £800,000 was needed to carry out repairs to the harbour's south training arm and urged the district council to seek European Union funding.

The north dock wall has been fenced off since 2006 and a subsequent Waveney council bid for European funding was turned down.

The harbour is also facing up to a new threat after the Environment Agency announced proposals to withdraw maintenance of flood defences along the Blyth Estuary over the next two decades.

A Waveney District Council spokesman said consultants had been commissioned to identify a range of solutions to repair the harbour.

He added: "Based on the recommendations that flow from the conclusion of the technical reporting process, members will make appropriate decisions. Funding will be sought to facilitate the works and, again, a range of options will be considered.

"The harbour wall is 100 years old and we suspect it was never built with such a lifespan in mind.".