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Days Gone By: The Co-op and its close connection with Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:49 28 July 2017

Carr Street, Ipswich, in June 1970 from Majors Corner. The various Co-op stores are on the left of the street. On the right, at the corner of Old Foundry Road, was Albert Lists who sold prams, nursery items, sewing machines and cycles. 	
Photos: JERRY TURNER/ ARCHANT

Carr Street, Ipswich, in June 1970 from Majors Corner. The various Co-op stores are on the left of the street. On the right, at the corner of Old Foundry Road, was Albert Lists who sold prams, nursery items, sewing machines and cycles. Photos: JERRY TURNER/ ARCHANT

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One end of Carr Street, Ipswich, was until recently, dominated by the Co-op’s department stores, writes David Kindred.

Crowds packed the pavement outside the Salutation public house in Carr Street, Ipswich, hoping to see Pat Phoenix in November 1965. The street was then still open to traffic and part of a bus route. Picture: ARCHANT Crowds packed the pavement outside the Salutation public house in Carr Street, Ipswich, hoping to see Pat Phoenix in November 1965. The street was then still open to traffic and part of a bus route. Picture: ARCHANT

Haberdashery, white goods, fashion and food, were all among the many departments around the Cox Lane junction.

The company’s first premises in Ipswich was a little shop at 34 Carr Street, which opened in March 1869.

The company expanded and the large building on the west side of Cox Lane opened in 1886 and during the late Victorian and Edwardian period grocery stores were opened in outlying areas of Ipswich and in towns around the county.

A timber-framed building on the east corner of Cox Lane was demolished in 1908 and a drapery and store built on the site.

Do you know any of the Co-op restaurant staff who were photographed with Pat Phoenix? Picture: ARCHANT Do you know any of the Co-op restaurant staff who were photographed with Pat Phoenix? Picture: ARCHANT

In 1928, a boot shoe and furnishing department was built next door, connecting to the central grocery and tearoom.

Thousands used to queue in Carr Street, Ipswich, to collect their “divi”, a dividend on all purchases members made at the various departments.

In this week’s Days Gone By, I have taken a look through picture files at events featuring the Co-op in Ipswich, including the day thousands gathered to greet television star, Pat Phoenix, who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street.

What memories do you have of the Co-op in Ipswich, did you work there? Write to David Kindred, Days Gone By, Ipswich Star/EADT, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS or e-mail him.

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