Days Gone By: Your memories of the Chantry estate
PUBLISHED: 08:34 07 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:25 10 September 2017
Memories of the Chantry housing estate, Ipswich, have come from readers following the publication of archive photographs of the area in a recent Days Gone By, writes David Kindred.
Also featured this week is a letter and photographs from Hadleigh reader, Brian Beaumont, who was an RAF fireman on duty the day a jet bomber crashed close to the Martlesham airfield in September 1956.
The development of Felixstowe in the Victorian and Edwardian period was a feature on these pages and Margaret Hancock,
Archivist at the Ipswich Building Society, tells us about the planning and financing of the resort.
John Sparkes emailed in to shared his memories of the chantry housing estate area,
After my father was “demobbed” in 1953, there was a shortage of houses and so we had to share a council house on Maidenhall estate.
We had the back half and a couple, who were complete strangers to us, had the front half and we shared the bathroom and kitchen!
Fortunately that didn’t last long and we got our own brand new house on Bunting Road in 1954, so new in fact and all done in such a rush, someone had forgotten to connect the mains electricity so we spent the first night in complete darkness!
Only the even number side of the road was built then, so outside our house and all around was open countryside.
There was no Ipswich bus service, so the only transport was an Eastern Counties bus that ran along Birkfield Drive/Hawthorn Drive and terminated at Aster Road, where it turned round and went back into town.
You then had to walk the rest of the way home in the road as there were no pavements and in complete darkness if it was at night, there being no street lamps.
There were a few shops, but no Coop then and the Kingfisher pub didn’t exist.
I remember there was a very large briar patch where the pub now stands as we kids used to have “dens” in it.
On the corner of Kingfisher Avenue/Hawthorn Drive there was a mock Tudor rectory, where the doctor’s surgery now stands.
No houses behind the shops either, just open fields with festering crops of what the farmer last planted and certainly no Belstead/Stoke Park estates, just rolling countryside which was our wonderful playground.
Where the council houses finished in Hawthorn Drive was “the dump,” where we used to have the annual bonfire night and where people dumped all manner of rubbish and unwanted items.
There is a clinic and library on top of all that now! Next to that (and now a small park) was Stonelodge House and estate, the home of Lord and Lady Alwyn.
He was a bit of a recluse, but she was very nice lady who would take in injured birds if you took them to the house, which much later became Chantry Youth Club, run by a Mr Stalley.
I presume Chantry Junior school in Aster Road wasn’t quite ready when we started school, as we kids had to walk to Ranelagh Road Primary school, which involved reaching it via the dirt track that was then Gwydyr Lane and is now part of Lupin Road, with the now tarmac lane coming out at the same spot at the bottom of Crane Hill/London Road.
Very few had cars in those days so we had no choice. I can’t imagine children doing that in this day and age, in all weathers!
It was certainly a relief when we did start at Chantry Junior and I remember the first head teacher was a Mr Massey.
My form teacher was Mr Heath, who I remember giving me six-of-the best on the back-side with a large white plimsoll he kept for those occasions.
He was the son of the head of Tower Ramparts where I was later to go aged eleven.
Andy Betts emailed in to share his memories.
I lived on Chantry from 1957 to 1969 when my Dad’s job took the family to Leicester, where I have lived ever since.
My boyhood on the estate constituted a blissful childhood. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Hayward, at Aster Road School, whose wisdom I still cherish.
When I moved from there to St. Alban’s R.C. School, Digby Road, where another fantastic teacher was a nun, Mother Colombiere who used to take the whole class swimming at Fore Street on the bus, supervise the swimming and take us back to school all on her own!
The estate was a safe and great place to live and we played away the summer holidays on Chantry Park or by Belstead Brook, if we were feeling up to it we would cycle to Nacton Shores for a swim.
Saturdays in the football season a few of us kids would walk across Gippeswyck Park, down to Portman Road to watch Bill Mc Garry’s boys, which at that time still included the legendary Ray Crawford.
Love the photos, I think the two girls with the guy in the Kingfisher from 1975 I was at school with at St. Alban’s, Kathy Mackay and Maureen Gallivan.
If either would like to get in touch I would love to get an e mail.
Great article which brought back happy memories and a lump to my throat.
Vintage photographs of Felixstowe featured in a recent Days Gone By, Margaret Hancock shared her memories.
I was interested to see your lovely photos of Felixstowe.
Our archive material, now on permanent loan at Ipswich Record Office (Ref:GF419) includes a large quantity of deeds, documents and plans of estates developed by our founding fathers, the Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society (FLS) relating to Felixstowe.
The FLS Committee were very forward thinking and, seeing that the seaside town was increasing in popularity, concentrated their efforts on providing members with houses and plots of land there, even putting on special trains from Ipswich allowing members to view available property.
The Society thus played a significant part in the creation of the resort of Felixstowe.
Between 1883 – 1893 FLS developed 12 estates in the town, offering land or houses for sale to its members.
Many of the houses had sea views and great care was taken “to fit (some of) the properties for Dwelling or Lodging Houses”
In 1885 FLS balloted nine “Handsome Semi-Detached Villas” each with seven bedrooms, bathroom and front and back staircases, which included Waverley Villas in Montague Road, which are still standing today.
Our minute book records the names of those members successful in the ballot, thus enabling them to take out a mortgage and eventually becoming property owners.
Interestingly, five of the nine houses were balloted to female members of the Society, perhaps with a view to going into business as the proprietor of a boarding house.
The tragic day of September 28, 1956, when an RAF Canberra jet bomber crashed at Martlesham, narrowly missing the Blue Triangle Cafe and garage at Crown Point featured in Days Gone By.
One of the first on the scene was Hadleigh man, Brian Beaumont, then a member of the RAF fire crew.
At around 11am the day of the crash I was on standby crew at the fire station on RAF Martlesham.
The other crew were on call on the airfield waiting for the aircraft to land.
We were alerted by the speaker system that an aircraft had crashed at Crown Point.
We were first at the scene and started to extinguish the fire.
The other RAF crew arrived soon after, followed by crews from Ipswich and Woodbridge.
The bodies of the two on board the aircraft were recovered.
Civilian and RAF police guarded the wreckage until the investigation was completed and the wreckage removed.
If you have memories you would like to share write to David Kindred, Days Gone By, Ipswich Star/EADT, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS or e-mail.