At our October meeting Sarah Doig gave an illustrated talk about the life of Daniel Defoe. We all know about his well known book but didn’t realise that he was a travel writer. Sarah gave an account of his travels during the early 1700s when he visited the eastern region. He was born in 1661and during his lifetime he was a champion for almost everything and had opinions on everything.
His tour of eastern England started in Essex, finding Colchester was a large industrial town manufacturing baize cloth which was exported in large amounts.
He visited Ipswich which he found a most agreeable town where ship building took place. Moving on to Harwich, this was a large container port even in those years. Then to Bury St Edmunds which had its own government and he was amazed at the huge numbers of geese and turkeys which were marched to London in time for the Christmas market.
He arrived in Norwich and was surprised how quiet, the city was during the day but came alive at weekends. This he put down to the fact that the inhabitants were busy during the week in their homes weaving, which was a huge industry in Norwich. He was captivated by the small villages around Norwich.
Then he went Yarmouth where he found the large herring industry but little else to comment on. Travelling around the coast to Kings Lynn to which he made little reference, at Newmarket where he found the sport of kings in the form of horse racing.
There is no record of the times he visited these places or how he travelled - it is left to the readers imagination