Do you live in one of these houses built in 1866 and sold for £145?

Houses on St Nicholas Road

Houses on St Nicholas Road - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Building Society is celebrating 156 years since it built its very first houses, including those on Lancaster Road in Ipswich that were sold for £145 each - a far cry from today's prices.  

The organisation, previously called the Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society, was established in 1849 and became a part of a national movement to create ‘forty-shilling freeholders’ – giving the ordinary men the chance to buy enough land to enable them to vote. 

St Nicholas Street, Ipswich

St Nicholas Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

In its early days, the Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society owned big pieces of land, which were separated into individual plots and allotments.   

These were then allotted to members of the society, who built their own properties on them. 

Joanne Leek, marketing manager, mortgages, at the Suffolk Building Society, said: “The initiative then progressed into the society building houses ourselves.  

“We did build properties in Ipswich up to 1933. There are quite large parts of Suffolk that we developed.   

“We don't build houses anymore, but we are still helping people to buy houses through mortgages and also through saving with us.” 

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The society built hundreds of houses across Ipswich, including 28 houses on Lancaster Road that were set up in 1866 and were sold on the ballot for £145 each, as well as 38 houses on Saint Nicholas Street, which were built in 1892. 

Lancaster Road

Lancaster Road - Credit: Archant

Other houses built by the society are located in east Ipswich, including the area between Spring Road, Foxhall Road and Felixstowe Road. 

Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society also built many properties in west Ipswich, including Bramford Road, Richmond Road and Norwich Road. 

St Nicholas Street

St Nicholas Street - Credit: Archant

On September 10 and 11 the society will take part in England’s largest festival of history and culture, called Heritage Open Days.  

Ms Leek said: “Anyone with history, heritage or attraction gets involved.  

 “The event is really well supported in Ipswich. The society is hosting the event at our Mutual House branch in Ipswich town centre, which in itself is a historically interesting building.  

Lancaster Road, Ipswich

Lancaster Road, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

“We employ an archivist solely to look at our history and heritage materials, and she'll be running guided tours of the Cromwell Square development, which we balloted to members in June 1892.  

“As part of this archive collection, we have in our possession a previous deed for the land, written in Latin and dated 1579.”

More about the history of the Suffolk Building Society can be found online.