(Image: Adrian Cable. The so-called Bulcamp Oddity in Suffolk)
Situated at the side of the A145 road, between the Suffolk villages of Blythburgh and Bulcamp, stands an unusual structure whose original purpose has been lost to time. Known as the Bulcamp Oddity, the structure looks like a roadside shelter of some sort, though unusually decorative and dating to an era well before buses.
(Image: Adrian Cable. Is the structure unusually grand for a shelter?)
Several theories have emerged regarding the history and purpose of the so-called Bulcamp Oddity, which is set into an embankment on the east side of the A145. Thought to date to the mid-1800s, the shelter may have been associated with a toll gate on the old turnpike road on which it stands.
Writing on the Blythweb Group website, Eileen Heaps suggests a possible association with the now-demolished Turnpike Cottages that once stood nearby. The author also speculates that the structure may occupy the site of an ancient spring – the adjecent stretch of road is known as Springhole Lane.
(Image: Adrian Cable)
But there could be an altogether darker purpose behind the structure. According to Eileen Heaps: “Another suggestion is that it was indeed a shelter, but for those whose journey to the nearby Bulcamp Workhouse (a ‘House of Industry‘ dating from the 1700s, now a private residential complex) meant that their arrival was after the House had closed for the night.”
(Image: via Google Street View. Hidden in plain sight)
Whether the true purpose behind the brick-built Bulcamp Oddity one day reemerges remains to be seen. For now, it remains an intriguing and unusually ornate roadside structure that, if not designed as a shelter, at least acquired two basic stone seats as the years have progressed.
Related: Hidden Wartime Air Raid Shelter West of River Almond, Edinburgh
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