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Days Gone By: What makes The Saints area of Ipswich such a special place?

PUBLISHED: 12:30 31 May 2017

Australian acrobat Eddie Ash performing an amazing publicity stunt on the roof of the Hippodrome Theatre in St Nicholas Street, Ipswich in the 1950ís. The Hippodrome opened as a music hall in 1905. The building became the Savoy Dance Hall soon after the theatre closed in the late 1950's. After a period as a bingo hall the building was demolished in 1985. An office block now stands on the site. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

Australian acrobat Eddie Ash performing an amazing publicity stunt on the roof of the Hippodrome Theatre in St Nicholas Street, Ipswich in the 1950ís. The Hippodrome opened as a music hall in 1905. The building became the Savoy Dance Hall soon after the theatre closed in the late 1950's. After a period as a bingo hall the building was demolished in 1985. An office block now stands on the site. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

Dave Kindred

St Nicholas Street and St Peter’s Street in Ipswich are known as The Saints, writes David Kindred.

The Hand in Hand public house was at 52-54 St Peters Street until it closed in 1981. Part of the Novotel now stands here. Picture: DAVID KINDRED The Hand in Hand public house was at 52-54 St Peters Street until it closed in 1981. Part of the Novotel now stands here. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

The streets are home to several restaurants and small, independent shops and businesses.

The streets are some of the oldest in Ipswich and still have many buildings dating back centuries. Several of the public houses in St Nicholas Street have closed, including the Oxborrows, the Hand in Hand and the Rose.

St Peter’s stands where there has been a church since at least the late Saxon period. In 1527, Cardinal Wolsey, who was born in Ipswich, closed the priory and took the site to build a new college with St Peter’s Church as the chapel. The project was short lived when Wolsey fell from favour.

St Nicholas Church was where the Wolsey family worshipped during the cardinal’s boyhood. St Nicholas Church is now the St Nicholas Centre with the Sanctuary Cafe and St Peter’s is now a centre for music and arts.

St Peters Street, Ipswich in June 1957. At the corner of Cutler Street is the Sailors Rest building, a facility for seamen run by the British Sailors Society. Picture: DAVID KINDRED St Peters Street, Ipswich in June 1957. At the corner of Cutler Street is the Sailors Rest building, a facility for seamen run by the British Sailors Society. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

A statue honouring Wolsey now stands at the junction of St Nicholas Street, Silent Street and St Peter’s Street.

Although the businesses have changed and some buildings have been replaced, “The Saints” would be recognisable today to visitors from many decades ago.

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