Getting access to John Doman Turner’s ‘first’ scroll of Ferry Road, Southwold

John Doman Turner’s most adventurous works include four scrolls completed during the latter part of his life. If you are a regular visitor of this website, you will have heard us talk about the Walberswick, Trinity Fair and Fairground Frieze scrolls.

A section of the Walberswick scroll. 1931 – 1932
A section of the Trinity Fair scroll. 1933
A section of the Fairground Frieze scroll. 1934

Now it’s time to turn our attention to the Ferry Road scroll. In 2017, the late great Richard Scott wrote…

“To the best of our knowledge, the first scroll John Doman Turner completed was the Southwold scroll known as the ‘Ferry Road’ scroll, much shorter than the Walberswick work and completed a year earlier, in 1930.

The original Southwold scroll is kept in the town’s museum, but unfortunately, it is too fragile for public showing, even by arrangement.

On display in the museum, there are some photographs of parts of it. Additionally, a good collection of transparencies survives locally in private ownership, so all is not lost.

Turner did not attempt to portray the whole of Southwold; he confined himself to Ferry Road, a part he found particularly quirky and interesting. In 1930 it was notable for its line of unusual beach chalets, no two alike, running the length of the road and backing onto Southwold marsh. A few of these survive, albeit rather altered over time, but a number of them, particularly those closest to the river, were washed away in the devastating tidal surge in January 1953, in which several lives were lost.”

Since then we have reached out to the people who had the transparencies and got digital copies of them – and for the first time we can share them with you here.

A section of the Ferry Road scroll. 1930
A section of the Ferry Road scroll. 1930
A section of the Ferry Road scroll. 1930

In this section of the scroll (see image below), you can see a reference to ‘Jane’. This was a place of residence for Turner during the 1930’s.

A section of the Ferry Road scroll. 1930

You can see that Turner sent written correspondence from this address ‘Jane, Southwold Harbour, Suffolk’, to James Bolivar Manson in 1936.

Letter from John Doman Turner to James Bolivar Manson. 1936. Source: Tate
A section of the Ferry Road scroll. 1930
A section of the Ferry Road scroll. 1930
A section of the Ferry Road scroll. 1930

This scroll is at risk of disintegrating even further, if you can help, do reach out to the Southwold Museum. There is hope that a benefactor might step forward to help save the scroll.

Written by Stephen Robertson, 2022. We hope you enjoy these wonderful images as much as we have. Thank you to the Walberswick Local History Group for helping us access this.

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