Boyton Dock: Boom and Bust
Boyton Dock protrudes into the Butley River - a reminder of short-lived booms in the past, when geology
created two brief windfalls for the nearby village of Boyton. A large deposit of high quality potter's
clay was found in the mid 1600's beneath a local field. It was good enough for export to Holland and
America, and also for shipping to the London delftware manufacturers at Lambeth and Vauxhall. At its
height, the boom saw 500 tons of clay dug every year, carted to the dock and sent to London. That
bubble burst when they ran out of clay.
The other Boyton boom also came from beneath the sandy crag soils, where brown nodules of phosphate
- coprolite - were found that make good agricultural fertiliser. The boom began in the 1840's, but it
was all over by 1880. In a seven-year period, 1,600 tons of coprolites were quarried from one Boyton
farm, and 2,500 tons from another. The nodules were shipped from the dock on the Butley River by
barge. At Ipswich they were ground up and processed into fertiliser by a business that later
metamorphosed into Fisons.