One of the World Heritage Sites in Holland is called ‘The Lines of Amsterdam’. The ‘Lines’ are the extended defences of Amsterdam stretching right round the city, sometimes as just the sea but for long stretches as built walls, banks, ditches, mounds, and gun emplacements. Their origins go back to the 1880s, after experience during the Franco-German war of 1870-71, and their last active phase was when, towards the end of the Second World War, the retreating German army stripped the defences of their armament.
The ‘Lines of Friston’, so-named by me, are not quite on that scale, though the name of the Amsterdam defences is the source of my title.
Friston is a small village in coastal Suffolk where I had a cottage for a short time six years ago. It lies just 4 miles inland from Aldeburgh and the long, often lonely beaches which were regarded c1939-40 as a highly-likely landing area for the forthcoming German invasion. Hence the ‘Lines of Friston’, four carefully placed blockhouses on its eastern approaches along the main road from Aldeburgh (the A1064).
Recently the rather scruffy hedges have been removed in the area and, although new hedges have already been planted, for the moment two of the blockhouses on the west of the road, sitting in newly-ploughed arable, are fully in view from the road where attack was presumably expected to come from. Here is that view, with photographs of the individual blockhouses following:
The two blockhouses west of the A1064, with Friston village to the right and the southern blockhouse to the left
The northern blockhouse The southern blockhouse
Though not quite on the scale of the Amsterdam defences, four blockhouses ‘defending’ one village is surely unusual. I would guess this little group has been properly written up somewhere and it will be interesting to follow up my minor piece of opportunistic photography of structures which, though constructed within my lifetime, are now fully ‘historic monuments’ in their own right. Perhaps I am too?