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Ipswich Icons: Hooray for Hollywood nightclub

PUBLISHED: 19:00 30 September 2017

Hollywood nightclub was packed out for it's official opening in 1988

Hollywood nightclub was packed out for it's official opening in 1988

Archant

You might remember from a recent article that the whole of Portman’s Marshes came into the possession of the Corporation of Ipswich following the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, writes John Norman.

The Hollywood Ipswich sign The Hollywood Ipswich sign

The marshes and grazing meadows had been under the control of the ‘Portmen of Ipswich’ since perhaps the first charter (1200) signed by King John.

The Act changed the ownership of similar lands across the country; they were to be held by the local authority.

Thus the corporation had land on which they could build, keep their horses and store the essentials of running a town (sandbags, daises for military parades and bunting for civic celebrations).

The new railway station opened in 1860 and at the same time a new road bridge over the Orwell was constructed. Initially this was a wooden structure but of sufficient size to allow horse-drawn traffic from the town centre to access the station.

The maltings when operated by R&W Paul Ltd The maltings when operated by R&W Paul Ltd

The new road was called Railway Station Road but today we known it as Princes Street.

The corporation also took possession of the early nineteenth century maltings (to whom it had previously belonged is not clear).

These maltings were refashioned in 1866 with Dutch gables facing the new Railway Station Road.

A foundation stone gives the date and unknown initials ASV. They were leased to R&W Paul. who operated them as their Number 7 maltings.

They had been built to the Newark design: three floors, with grain storage on the middle floor. This is somewhat perverse, because as the grain was germinating (on the top floor) it was sometimes necessary to add water, which was sprayed over the barleycorns. Inevitably, this water found its way between the floorboards and onto the grain on the floor below!

Despite the difficulties, Paul’s operated the maltings for 100 years, albeit most years it was seasonal – September to May – after which the maltster and his team moved to Felaw Street (Paul’s Maltings 5 & 6).

After Paul’s pulled out (in 1967, when the malting process elsewhere had become automated) the building fell into disuse and stood idle for a number of years.

There was an application to use the building as a tyre service garage and for the sale and repair of second-hand cars. In the late 1970s the site was used as a lorry park.

In the 1980s there were major changes to Ipswich’s road layout. Star Lane gyratory came into being.

West End Road was opened to cross-town traffic (Chancery Lane effectively disappeared) and the double “Ds”carried traffic around the sorting office and the new fire station.

Princes Street maltings suddenly had a street presence; a major opportunity on a major route.

In December, 1986, there was an application to turn the maltings into offices, restaurant and wine bar, but this was never carried out.

An alternative scheme was put forward in May, 1987; the maltings would become a nightclub.

Hollywood Ipswich opened to the public in the spring of 1988 and was a successful and popular nightclub.

There was a refurbishment in the autumn of 1999 and a change of name: Kartouche. For the most part it kept the same clientele group.

Another change of name occurred in October, 2003, when the nightclub became Zest, a venue that offered entertainment for the young people of south East Anglia until it closed in December, 2009.

It reopened as a live music venue in 2011 but it didn’t attract the numbers it had enjoyed when it was Hollywood and the club closed for the last time in February, 2015.

The building was purchased by Ipswich Borough Council in September, 2015, putting it once again in local authority ownership. The council’s idea was to make the building available for commercial use, offices, restaurant or a high-tech ideas space.

It was revealed this month that Colchester-based business park developer Pertwee Estates is seeking to turn the building into upmarket offices after agreeing to buy The Maltings subject to planning permission being granted.

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Sandwiches, tea, cake and scones and I’ve not had to leave my house. What’s not to love?

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