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Title: Leiston  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Suffolk Coastal, Aldeburgh, Aldringham cum Thorpe, Suffolk, Summerhill School
Collection: Post Towns in the Ip Postcode Area, Suffolk Coastal, Towns in Suffolk
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



Long Shop Museum
Leiston is located in Suffolk
 Leiston shown within Suffolk
Population 5,508 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference
District Suffolk Coastal
Shire county Suffolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEISTON
Postcode district IP16
Dialling code 01728
Police Suffolk
Fire Suffolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Suffolk Coastal
List of places

Leiston is a town in eastern Suffolk, England. It is situated near Saxmundham and Aldeburgh, about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the North Sea coast and is 21 miles (34 km) northeast of Ipswich and 90 miles (140 km) northeast from London. The town had a population of 6,240 at the 2001 Census,[1] reducing to 5,508 at the 2011 Census.[2]


  • History 1
  • Governance 2
  • Economy, culture and community 3
    • Sport and leisure 3.1
  • Transport 4
  • Education 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The 14th century remains of Leiston Abbey lie northwest of the town.[3]

Leiston thrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a manufacturing town dominated by Richard Garrett & Sons, owners of the "Leiston Works". This firm made steam tractors and a huge variety of cast and machined metal products, including munitions during both world wars. The works closed in 1981 and the site was reused as a mixture of housing, flats and industrial uses. The Long Shop Museum, showing the history, vehicles and products of the works, remains as a heritage tourist attraction.

During the Second World War, RAF Leiston, 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of the town in the neighbouring village of Theberton, sent fighter squadrons of the American 357th Fighter Group to fight the Luftwaffe. Famous American test pilot and fighter ace General Chuck Yeager (who, later, first broke the sound barrier) flew out of RAF Leiston. The Friends of Leiston Airfield hold a memorial service and flying display at the end of May each year, with veterans and their families attending.

Since the 1960s Leiston became famous outside the UK as the home of the Summerhill School, founded by A.S. Neill in the 1920s, which was the first major "free school" - referring to freedom in education. Children are not required to attend classes and discipline is given by pupil self-government meetings. Summerhill has inspired a large "free school" movement and, more recently, "democratic schools" in several countries. The school occupies the former mansion of Richard Garrett, owner of the Leiston Works.


An electoral ward in the same name exists. The population of this ward at the 2011 census was 6,360.[4]

Economy, culture and community

Since the closure of Garrett's, the town's economy has been dominated by the two nuclear power stations on the coast at Sizewell: the now decommissioned Magnox reactors of Sizewell A and the more modern Pressurised Water Reactor of Sizewell B. A number of smaller companies operate from industrial areas within the town.

Leiston's High Street serves as the business and market hub of the surrounding agricultural district. The town's facilities include a post office, library, banks, pubs and a range of shops and other services.

"Leiston Film Theatre", a half-timbered building with street front shops, is the oldest purpose-built cinema in Suffolk. The cinema is owned and run by Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council and supported by the Leiston Film Theatre Support Club which has raised money for stage refurbishment and enabled the cinema to install the latest digital 3D projection system.

The town has a traditional Anglican church, St. Margaret's with an ancient tower and an unusual 19th century nave. In addition there are Roman Catholic and Baptist churches at the edge of the town.

Sport and leisure

Leiston F.C. play in the Isthmian Premier Division and in November 2008 reached the 1st round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.

Leiston also has a leisure centre, a skatepark and several parks.

Leiston & Thorpeness Rugby Club were in existence in the late 1980s and early 1990s; unfortunately the club closed in 1995. However the club was reformed in March 2010; Now Aldeburgh & Thorpeness Rugby Club is run by many of the previous Leiston Rugby club members. Based at Aldeburgh Community Centre / Kings Field, Aldeburgh.


A railway branch spur from the Great Eastern Line, known as the Aldeburgh Branch Line, went from Saxmundham to Aldeburgh, with intermediate stations at Leiston and Thorpeness. On 12 September 1966 British Rail withdrew all passenger services to Leiston and beyond; however, the line to Leiston remains active, but only for the purpose of removing nuclear materials from Sizewell power station - which is expected to cease entirely by 2012.


Other than Summerhill School, Leiston also has its own primary and high school. Leiston Primary School caters for pupils aged 5 to 11. The school also provides a nursery with 52 places.[5]

  • The Leiston Long Shop Museum
  • Suffolk's oldest cinema
  • Visit Leiston
  • Leiston Abbey
  • Leiston Film Theatre Support Club

External links

  1. ^ 2001 census population data - Leiston ward Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  2. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Leiston Abbey, English Heritage. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  4. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Leiston Primary School profile, Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  6. ^ Potter.T (2012) Leiston: Pupils take first lessons in new-look high school, East Anglian Daily Times, 2012-09-06. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  7. ^ Waveney students become energy ambassadors, Eastern Daily Press, 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  8. ^ Green.D (2007) School benefits from station link-up, East Anglian Daily Times, 2007-01-20. Retrieved 2011-12-17.


In 2001 the school became a Specialist Technology College, and in following years it was named as one of the most improved schools in England. It is the lead school in the Schools Energy Network based at the Orbis Centre in Lowestoft[7] and has strong links with Sizewell nuclear power stations.[8]

in January 2015 and was renamed Alde Valley Academy. academy status The school converted to [6]

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