Burtons was at the heart of the port

ICING, caster and fondant sugar were all part of the sweet history of an Ipswich company which operated close to Ipswich Dock for close to 150 years.

David Kindred

ICING, caster and fondant sugar were all part of the sweet history of an Ipswich company which operated close to Ipswich Dock for close to 150 years. A photograph from Brian Reeder of a fine archway, which formed the entrance to offices at the corner of College Street and Foundry Lane, was published recently in Kindred Spirits.

Brian asked what had happened to the arch and Stuart Grimwade, the director of Ipswich Maritime Trust, told me: “The Mill developers plan to reconstruct the archway which was dismantled and held in store by the demolition contractors. The arch will stand in the new Dance East open performance area.”

Although the last users of the building were Cranfield Brothers, Peter Andreasen, of Norwich Road, Ipswich, reminds me that the building was originally part of Burton Son and Sanders. Peter said: “The archway was over the entrance to the head office of Burton Son and Sanders Ltd from 1899 to closure of the company in the 1960s/70s. Burtons, from 1824 onwards, were a large national company in the first place as wholesale grocers, tea blenders and bacon curers. There were warehouses in Ipswich, Norwich and Colchester.

“Two local wholesalers, H W Caffe Ltd and Squirrel and Cleveland Ltd, were subsidiary companies. Burtons developed into the bakery supplies industry and were among the first in the field to manufacture caster and icing sugar, sugar fondant, marzipan and macaroon paste, as well as a vast range of cake decorations. The main factory was in the current Cardinal Lofts building with others in Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol and Portsmouth.”

David Segger added by e-mail: “I started work in those offices in 1952 for Burton's and those offices were transferred to Cranfield's, I guess sometime in the 1970s. I left Burton's when they closed in 1993.”

Most Read

- Did you work for Burton Son and Sanders? Write with you memories to Dave Kindred, Kindred Spirits, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail info@kindred-spirit.co.uk

The firm's history:-

A HISTORY written in 1930 gives an idea of how big the operation of Burton Son and Sanders was - it even had its own rail link. The item said: “Burton Son and Sanders Ltd were sugar and almond millers, confectioners and importers. The house of Burton was established in 1824 by Messrs Charles and Henry Burton and from a small beginning it has steadily grown until it has become one of the largest of its kind in England. Over half a century ago Mr Bunnell Burton and Mr (now Sir) William P Burton joined the firm. The head offices are in Ipswich, but there are branches and factories in London, Hull, Glasgow, Newcastle, Belfast, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Colchester and Norwich. The Ipswich premises are situated alongside the dock and have a direct railway line into the building, the goods being packed nightly.”

Memories of wartime bomb damage:-

A REQUEST from in a recent Kindred Spirits from Jay Harvey, of Warwick Road, Ipswich, for information about Second World War bomb damage in that part of town has been answered. Vivienne Owen, of Heath Road, Ipswich, said: “I lived with my parents Mr and Mrs Bowman at 193 Woodbridge Road, near the top of Warwick Road and in 1941/42 we were evacuated twice. First while an unexploded landmine, which fell in Cemetery Road, was detonated, then in 1942 a bomb fell in Harmony Square, now Hanover Court.

“After the raid I remember going with my father to see the bomb embedded in the wall of one of the little houses. We were evacuated for several days while the bomb was taken away. I vaguely recall that a bomb fell in the grounds of the East Suffolk Water Offices, where Upton Close is now, but fortunately the blast only caused minor damage to the backs of houses on that side of Woodbridge Road.

“I'm not sure if this was dropped at the same time as the Harmony Square bomb, but as I joined the WAAF in December 1942 and spent the next three years in Liverpool I know it was definitely before then.”

- The parachute mine landed in Cemetery Road on September 21, 1940. The raid, when a bomb landed in Harmony Square, was on August 25, 1942, late in the evening. The same raid killed a family of nine in an Anderson shelter at the junction of Nacton Road and Lindbergh Road. Other bombs landed on Derby Lodge and Woodbridge Road. A total of 12 were killed in Ipswich that evening.