Felixstowe seafront ice cream kiosk closing after a century

Peter's Ice Cream kiosk on Felixstowe seafront. Inset: Peter's Ice Cream seller on Sea Road, Felixstowe in the 1930s.

Peter's Ice Cream kiosk on Felixstowe seafront near the Spa Pavilion theatre has closed. Inset: a Peter's Ice Cream seller on Sea Road, Felixstowe in the 1930s. - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS/DAVE KINDRED

An ice cream kiosk that has been a familiar feature on a seafront promenade for a century has closed to make way for a new stall. 

Peter’s Ice Cream has traded in the Felixstowe area since the 1890s and the company’s yellow beach hut has become a well-known sight to residents and tourists alike.

Located close to the Spa Pavilion theatre, its vanilla ice cream cone proved a popular delicacy among holidaymakers. 

Ipswich ice cream makers Peters have long been a feature of the sea front at Felixstowe. This seller

Ipswich ice cream makers Peters have long been a feature of the sea front at Felixstowe. This seller was on Sea Road, Felixstowe in the mid 1930s. - Credit: Dave Kindred

However, the concrete platform that used to support the business is now standing empty following the expiry of the lease. 

The site was put on the open market and offered as a new long-term lease, but Peter’s Ice Cream decided not to bid for the new lease. 

Paul Thorpe, who ran the hut at the bottom of Bent Hill, said he wanted a longer lease to enable him to upgrade the premises, but was told via email by East Suffolk Council that the land was going to be marketed in the spring.

An original Peter's Ice Cream van from when the company first started trading

An original Peter's Ice Cream van from when the company first started trading a century ago - Credit: DAVE KINDRED

He said trade had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic – especially during lockdowns when the Spa Pavilion was closed, which reduced the number of coach loads of visitors to the seafront. 

The weather has also affected the number of customers, with fewer people buying ice creams on cooler days. 

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He now wants to focus on the other Peter’s Ice Cream branches in the area, at Bawdsey, Orford and Ipswich. 

“I am 70-years-old now and I just think ‘I don’t need this’," he said.

"When I went back home, I noticed that the farmland had been turned into housing estates. Cottages have been knocked down to make way for flats. Life changes. I still have the other businesses.”

An East Suffolk Council spokesman said: “A new tenant has been agreed and they will be submitting a planning application for a new kiosk in due course.  

“Peter’s Ice Cream had a long history in the local area and in collaboration with Peter’s Ice Cream and the new tenant, it has been agreed that a plaque commemorating the history of the company will be installed on the new hut.”