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Magnificent mansions lost in time

PUBLISHED: 17:31 13 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:59 09 March 2010

Red House with a tennis court on the lawn. These undated photographs of the house were probably taken over a century ago

Red House with a tennis court on the lawn. These undated photographs of the house were probably taken over a century ago

SPLENDID houses which once stood on the high ground on the outskirts of Ipswich have been lost to history.

The south view of Red House

SPLENDID houses which once stood on the high ground on the outskirts of Ipswich have been lost to history.

The houses with views across the town were occupied by powerful and wealthy families who had great influence on the town. Those who live on the Stoke Park today occupy the parkland where the home of Lord Belstead stood, overlooking both the town and the River Orwell.

John Childs Ganzoni, who lived in this impressive house, was Conservative MP for Ipswich from 1914 to 1923 and again from 1924 to 1937.

In 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain elevated him to the House of Lords. He took the title Baron Belstead, a reminder of his sizable home in the Belstead area of the town. Work started to build houses, shops and schools on the site in the mid 1960s.

Holywells Mansion in around 1905. A bowls green now stands on the high ground on the right of this view

On the opposite side of town, close to where the Tuddenham Road roundabout is today, was Red House which was originally built in 1658 by Thomas Edgar for his son. In the mid eighteenth century three storey wings were added to the house.

A member of the family, clergyman Mileson Gery Edgar, lived there until his death in 1853. His wife was the last member of the family to occupy the house.

She died in 1890. In April 1937 the house and land was auctioned by Christies but by then the house was in very poor condition and demolition cleared the site soon after the sale.

A few of the lime trees which once lined the path leading to the south entrance still stand today.

The home of Lord Belstead at Stoke Park

Holywells Park is today one of the town's fine parks. Until demolition in 1962 a mansion stood overlooking the town from the east. The mansion was built around 1814 by John Cobbold as his family home.

The pure water from the Holywells springs had prompted the Cobbold family to move their brewery from Harwich to Ipswich when they built the first Cliff Brewery in 1746.

The mansion had a sad last few years and was used as a community centre during the 1950s. The stable block and ornamental gardens are still there today.

- I wonder how the town would deal with these old houses today. Do you have any memories of these large houses? Write to Dave Kindred, Kindred Spirits, Evening Star, 30 lower Brook Street, Ipswich. IP4 1AN or e-mail info@kindred-spirit.co.uk

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