LEISTON
1960s

The 60s

A time of growth in the town, fuelled by the construction of the power station at Sizewell.

1960

Farthing withdrawn

1961

First man in space

1962

Ipswich win League Cup

1963

Beatles reach No1

1964

Secondary Modern School opens in Seaward Avenue

1965

Post Office Tower

1966

England win World Cup

1967

Sizewell nuclear power station opens

1968

Martin Luther King Assassinated

1969

1969 Concorde Maiden flight

Change at the Works

In 1960, Garretts were reliant on Elliot contracts for machine tools and shapers. But fortunes improved when The S&S Machine Company of New York licensed the manufacture of its cardboard box making machine at Leiston. Sales output trebled.

In 1962, Sirapite, the steam shunting engine, was replaced with a battery electric locomotive. Towards the end of the decade, the ‘Top Works’ was modernised, and the ‘Town Works’ cleared for possible redevelopment of the site.

Sirapite, the Works shunting engine c1960

Sirapite, restored by the Long Shop Museum, can be seen in steam here

A Growing Town

The town grew more quickly than since Victorian times. Allotments and fields became streets, for example on land off Haylings Road and the Garrett Crescent development. National trends also had a local impact. Both the mini skirt and the mini car were seen in Leiston streets and TV ownership grew rapidly. Sports programmes, soaps (Coronation Street), pop music (Ready Steady Go) and satire (That Was the Week That Was) enthralled TV viewers, while Beatles and Bond films thrilled cinema audiences. Leiston had its own Group – ‘The Wild Oats’ whose songs can be heard here.

New buildings in 'Paradise'

Listen to the experiences of a teenager in the 60s.

Margaret’s recollections were recorded in 2020. She remembers visits as a teenager to dance halls where local groups played live.

Click Here

The High Street

Post Office Square

Moving, Opening and Closing

The old centre of the town shifted as the Post Office moved to Sizewell Road and a new building for the Secondary Modern School opened in Seaward Avenue. The Eastlands Industrial Estate was developed in King George’s Avenue. Leiston did not escape the Beeching cuts to the national railway network. The railway line closed to passenger traffic in 1966, though the goods line remained operational for transport to Sizewell Power Station.

The level crossing and signal box, 1960

60s Snapshots

The Power Station

Interior of the Power Station

This huge construction project took five years and needed thousands of workers. At its peak, 2,000 worked on the construction and the 1961 August Bank Holiday attracted 3,000 visitors to the viewing platform. After it became operational, locals filled nearly half the workforce.

The Power Station

This huge construction project took five years and needed thousands of workers. At its peak, 2,000 worked on the construction and the 1961 August Bank Holiday attracted 3,000 visitors to the viewing platform. After it became operational, locals filled nearly half the workforce.

Interior of the Power Station

© The Long Shop Museum 2019

The Long Shop Museum is a charity registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

Registration Number 1167945