Ipswich shops we've loved, from Footman's and Debenhams to Grimwades

Debenhams sales in 1985

Debenhams sales in 1985 - Credit: Archant

Readers have been sharing more memories of Footman's, the iconic Ipswich department store.

Today we are also looking back at more much-loved shops over the years, with photos of Debenhams, the store which took over from Footman's and is sadly now closing, as well as Grimwades and Ridley's.

A delivery vehicle belonging to Footman’s store, which was in the centre of Ipswich. This photograph was taken in the 1930s. 

A delivery vehicle belonging to Footman’s store, which was in the centre of Ipswich. This photograph was taken in the 1930s. - Credit: Archant

There is also a 1960s photo of Ipswich Town players getting kitted out with suits at Coes, a store which is still going strong today.

Following our previous nostalgia piece about Footman's, reader Peter Mumford wrote: "I joined Footman's on a buyers course, after leaving school  aged 16 in 1955. I lived at Sudbury but I was able to have a room within the staff ‘living in’ accommodation, which was situated at the front of the building with the dining room  overlooking  the Cornhill and Westgate Street. Meals were also provided.

Ipswich Town footballers get fitted out with grey worsted suits at Coes in 1967

Ipswich Town footballers get fitted out with grey worsted suits at Coes in 1967 - Credit: Archant

"I had a break from 1959 until 1961 for my National Service. I returned to Footman's travelling daily from Sudbury, and specialising in carpets. I met my future wife Glenace , who worked in the office.

"I later worked as ground floor supervisor and shortly after I was promoted to carpet buyer, until central buying  came in. I remained as departmental manager until 1980.

A Footman's ad from 1957

A Footman's ad from 1957 - Credit: Archant

"I have fond memories of my time with Footman's and subsequently Debenhams. There was a friendly feel about the company and a good social life. In my early years we held an annual staff dance on site, a carol service, and a Christmas grotto. Santa would arrive on a decorated float after travelling round local villages, with his helpers.

"We had our own football team which played in the local Wednesday league. Good friendships were made and altogether we  felt part of a large family."

Cleaning the windows at Grimwades shop front in Westgate Street.

Cleaning the windows at Grimwades shop front in Westgate Street. - Credit: Archant

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Another former member of staff, Marc Boulton, wrote: "I left school in 1970 and got a job in the kitchen of Footman's. As l remember it was always very busy in the kitchen, and loud. The head chef was a bit like Gordon Ramsay.

"During our  tea break we would go up to the roof and smoke, and the views were excellent. I sometimes wonder where the last 50 years have gone."

Models at a Grimwades fashion show at Ipswich Town Hall in October 1972

Models at a Grimwades fashion show at Ipswich Town Hall in October 1972 - Credit: Archant

Paul Beggs of Playford wrote: "I too can remember as a young boy being taken there, and feeling the deep carpet pile that felt like walking on air. My grandmother used to take me there to the restaurant, and to look around, in the 1960s."

Larry Roscoe is now in Toronto, Canada, but still has fond memories of Footman's, writing: "The lift operators were just like in the TV show Are You Being Served. And I remember the model railway in the toy department at Christmas." 

Memories of Father Christmas at Debenhams store in Ipswich 

Memories of Father Christmas at Debenhams store in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

What are your memories of shopping in Ipswich, and which store was your favourite? Email judy.rimmer@archant.co.uk

To order photos, visit our website or call Diane Townsend on 01603 772449. 

Parked cars in Tavern Street, Ipswich, in December 1963. Shops included Haskell’s jewellers, Stuarts clothes shop and A J...

Parked cars in Tavern Street, Ipswich, in December 1963. Shops included Haskell’s jewellers, Stuarts clothes shop and A J Ridley’s clothes shop - Credit: Ivan Smith/Archant


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