After leaving school and before going to university in 1963, Stuart Grimwade was fortunate to be offered a year’s work experience in the Ipswich Borough Surveyor’s office, then based at 19 Tower St. 

Unlike today, the town was then responsible for all of its local government services, everything being conducted by what in retrospect was a remarkably small number of staff based in Tower Street and the Town Hall, aided by an operational depot in Wolsey Street.

In common with many other large towns and cities in those years, slum clearance was common, together with a huge programme of council housebuilding. 

Ipswich Star: Stuart Grimwade took the pictures for Ipswich Council in the early 1960s.Stuart Grimwade took the pictures for Ipswich Council in the early 1960s. (Image: Archant)

Ipswich’s legacy of Victorian growth had left large numbers of mainly terraced housing with no internal hot water supply or bathrooms. 

Under the terms of the Housing Act of 1957, such otherwise perfectly sound houses were deemed ‘unfit for human habitation’ and condemned, their tenants being offered newly-built homes in such areas as the new Chantry estate.

Many historic buildings that today would be regarded as worthy of saving, or even given ‘listed’ status in conservation areas, were swept away. 

It was not until 1970 that the town had a fully staffed planning department. 

One of Stuart’s tasks was to photograph these streets before they were demolished, and over the next twelve months he took many hundreds of images. 

During the subsequent four years on his university course in Town Planning, he returned in his holidays to continue the work, to earn his keep.

In recent years a colleague in the planning department discovered the collection of slides and saved them from being thrown away. 

They are now safely housed in Suffolk Archives, where they await digital restoration for future public viewing. 

From these Stuart has scanned and restored a small selection shown here for the first time. 

These are probably the only colour images ever taken of these long-lost streets, while others will appear familiar if very different from today. 

Anyone interested in the collection should contact Suffolk Archives at the Hold, although Stuart tells me that he would be happy to receive any enquiry about his images.

Stuart spent much of his career at Suffolk Coastal Council where he became chief planning officer and was involved in many major projects - including the construction of the Sizewell B power station.

He lives in Ipswich and was one of the founders of the Ipswich Maritime Trust.

Ipswich Star: Crown Street Congregational Church.Crown Street Congregational Church. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

This rough car park had been the site of George Abbott’s ‘Crown Ironworks’ on the corner of High Street and Crown Street.

The grand iron works building had in an earlier life been the Temperance Hall. On the other side of the junction was the Crown St Congregational Church later to be demolished and eventually to make way for new offices currently known as Hyde Park House.

Ipswich Star: The corner shop in Fitzroy Street.The corner shop in Fitzroy Street. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

Most of Ipswich’s Victorian streets of terraced housing were eventually served by corner shops, the premises usually having been converted from what had previously been the front parlour.

In fact many still survive today providing a vital community service. In the case of Fitzroy Street however, demolition was imminent, with the whole area north of Crown Street eventually being redeveloped for offices and the Crown Pools.

Posters on the wall proudly announce live performances by Des O’Connor, Eve Boswell, and the Shadows.

Ipswich Star: The former EADT/Star offices in Carr Street.The former EADT/Star offices in Carr Street. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

These Carr Street newspaper offices were the home of the EADT and Evening Star for nearly 80 years - but they had originally been built for a doctor’s practice.

In 1888 Jeremiah Colman’s newspaper company added his printing works behind their offices along the Little Colman Street frontage seen in the photograph.

The company’s various newspaper titles were published and printed here, the daily editions being taken straight from the presses out into the street to be sold by loud and colourful newspaper sellers who became well known to Ipswich shoppers of those days.

A few years after this photograph was taken the building was demolished, the company having moved to newly built offices in Lower Brook Street in 1966.

Ipswich Star: Tavern Street in 1963.Tavern Street in 1963. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

Flags filled Tavern Street, perhaps to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Queen’s 1953 Coronation.
It took the temporary closure of Tavern Street to traffic in order to tackle a major fire that prompted the Council to consider the permanent closure of the street to through traffic.

This was the beginning of a programme of pedestrianisation that continues to this day.

Ipswich Star: Tavern Street in 1962.Tavern Street in 1962. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

A familiar view, but look a little more closely and you can see that much has changed over the years, not least the then fully fledged Great White Horse hotel.

The Eastgate shopping centre had yet to alter the Carr Street skyline dramatically.

Overhead are the electric trolley bus wires, yet to be removed after the imminent introduction of motor buses for which a newly painted bus-stop bay can be seen in front of Croydon’s Jewellers.

Ipswich Star: Princes Street in 1962.Princes Street in 1962. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

Almost all of the buildings in the photograph have long since gone, making it unrecognisable.

The large red brick Boardman’s Removals warehouse dominated this part of Princes Street, and stood in the middle of what is today the wide junction of Franciscan Way and Civic Drive with Princes St.

Tom’s café on the right of the picture adjoined today’s Curve Bar building which is out of sight round the corner in Curriers Lane from where the white Ford car is emerging.

The British Lion pub on the left of the picture stood on Princes St. replaced today by the glazed wall of the Willis building.

In the distance it is just possible to make out one of the new floodlights of Portman Road, so we can imagine that heady time when Alf Ramsey’s Town team were on top of the entire football league, perhaps to be celebrated with a cup of tea in Tom’s café!

Ipswich Star: Ipswich Lower Yard in 1963.Ipswich Lower Yard in 1963. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

For more than a hundred years up until the 1970s almost all cargoes were taken to and from Ipswich docks by train, their trucks being assembled and dispatched using dock shunter engines as part of the railway goods yard operations between Stoke Bridge and Princes Street in an area known as the ‘Lower Yard’.

The river can just be seen on the right of this picture, with St. Peter’s Church on the left.

The whole area had once been a huge tidal pond to provide water-power to grind flour at Stoke Mill beside Stoke Bridge. Today, most of the site is being developed by Galliard Homes, after many years of commercial use.

Ipswich Star: Purplett Street in 1962Purplett Street in 1962 (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

Many terraced houses between Wherstead Road and the New Cut were deemed ‘unfit’ in 1962, leading to their demolition and the construction of today’s road layout.

In his book ‘Memories of a Special Town’ Barry Girling writes about the families of bargemen who lived in these streets, and he mentions Miss Freeman's shop, No.18, seen on the right in this photograph, on the corner of Hawes Street.

In the distance, on the far side of the wet dock the huge gasholder still supplied the town, fuelled by coking coal brought into the dock each week by sea.

Ipswich Star: St Peter's Street in 1962.St Peter's Street in 1962. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

The Sailors’ Rest in St. Peter’s Street stands proudly beside Nicholls car showroom.

When this photograph was taken, but out of sight just beyond the cupola-topped office on the corner of Cutler St, the old Hippodrome Theatre had been converted to become the ‘Savoy Ballroom’.

In later years, when the Sailors Rest was threatened with demolition, a public campaign led by the Ipswich Society resulted in a deal being struck to enable a new office block to be constructed behind its façade to fund its restoration, thus saving its historic frontage.

Sadly very few buildings of this early 18th Century period have survived in Ipswich.

Ipswich Star:

The tidal St. Peter’s dock below Stoke Bridge marks the seventh century origins of Ipswich as an international seaport.

Continous occupation ever since those far-off days enables Ipswich to claim to be 
the oldest English town.

In this photograph, taken before the concrete flood walls were built in 1966, Stoke Mill, seen on the far side of the bridge, had by this time been converted into a yeast factory.

On the right, Paul’s grey gantry streched over the dock railway tracks to the edge of St Peter’s Wharf for loading and discharging straight to the holds of ships and barges.

Ipswich Star: Common Quay in 1962.Common Quay in 1962. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

During the 1960s fewer large ships were using Wet Dock, although companies such as Paul’s and Cranfields still owned their own fleets of sailing barges, and so these continued to bring their cargoes to their various mills and warehouses.

This view looks across the water from Flint Wharf towards to the Old Custom House.

Beside it, the rust-red iron columns of Henry Palmer’s original warehouse still stand today supporting the apartments above Pizza Express.

On the other side of the Custom House, R and W Paul’s Malt occupied the original ‘Home Warehouse’, which was later converted into offices.

Ipswich Star: Waterloo Street in 1962.Waterloo Street in 1962. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

Two views of a sunny day in Waterloo Street (not to be confused with the nearby Waterloo Road, which is still very much existing).

This narrow roadway was literally a 'back-street' which ran behind the north side of part of the 'Town' end of Bramford Road, between Beaufort Street and Wellington Street.

Ipswich Star: Waterloo Street in 1962.Waterloo Street in 1962. (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

At the western end, the properties on the south side adjoined the rear yard of the former 'Spotted Cow' public house (facing Bramford Road) where, in days gone by, a building in the yard served as a slaughter-house, which was used by the nearby Lay's family Butchers shop at 71 Bramford Road.

Ipswich Star: Navarre Street in 1962Navarre Street in 1962 (Image: Stuart Grimwade)

Victorian Ipswich was built of either red or ‘white’ Suffolk bricks, sometimes using both, and these houses in Navarre Street were typical.

After around 100 years of exposure to sooty chimneys by the time this photograph was taken, the ‘white’ brick of the terraces could look quite weathered and worn, but cleaning can restore something of their original appearance.

Most of these houses in Navarre St. were demolished eventually making way for the current William Street car park and the building of the Crown Pools.

The house with the green upper door and the one on the right of the picture still stand today.

Ipswich Star:

Almost free of traffic this quiet tree-lined section of Norwich Road has changed considerably, although the retail premises on the right of this photograph still exists today at the end of a fine terrace of houses.

The smaller houses in the centre of the picture were soon to be demolished to make way for today’s Cumberland Towers