Cherished memories of days out at the seaside

Annual works, club or pub outings were very popular until most people had their own transport. Everybody wore their best clothes and seaside destinations were popular with Yarmouth, Felixstowe and Clacton high on the list.

Until motor vehicles took over, horse drawn transport would take parties on what would be their only day out from their neighbourhood.

Erik Roper of Spring Road, Ipswich, sent me photographs of outings from Ipswich. Erik said “One of the photographs was taken just before the First World War and features a charabanc outing from the Safe Harbour, public house. which stood at the corner of Dorkin Street, Ipswich, which was then close to Grimwade Street in what was known as “The Potteries” area of town.

“On the vehicle are three of my relations. Fourth from the right with bowler hat, patch over his left eye and a cigar, is my great grandfather, James Kelly Hazell. He was once a bare knuckle boxer, who lost sight of the left eye through his ring battles.

“In later life he worked in a foundry by the dock. Next to him, with a flat cap and smoking a pipe, is my great uncle, Fred Burton, who for many years was the licensee of the Market Hotel in Princes Street. Sixth from the right and next to Fred Burton is George Roper my grandfather, who worked on the roads for the Ipswich Borough Council for over 50 years. “The other photograph was outside the Cattle Market in Princes Street and I guess was taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. My great uncle Charlie, with his hands in pockets, is third in from the right.

“He was a dealer who lived in Kelly Road and was known by the nickname “Peeler”. I would be interested to know more about this photograph”

Former Ipswich man Brian Dean, who now lives in Sussex, recalls the days out organised by local bus companies. Brian said “P&M and another Ipswich coach company JDW Transport, better known as “Blue Bird Coaches” ran many day excursions around East Anglia.

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“In 1965 P&M offered day trips to Great Yarmouth and the races, Southend and illuminations at ten shillings a time, while the slightly longer trip to Cromer was eleven shillings.

“For the really adventurous who could manage the 7.30am start, long day tours went to Stratford-on-Avon, Reading and the Chilterns and the Weald of Kent for one pound two shillings and sixpence.”

“Another very popular attraction was the Sunday afternoon circular tours around Suffolk and Essex towns including Southwold, Aldeburgh, Brightlingsea and Bury St Edmunds, with a stop made for tea. Blue Bird coaches also specialised in these Sunday afternoon jaunts which cost around five shillings.”

“I had a particular interest in the operation of both P&M and Blue Bird coaches as my uncle Freddie Burrows, who lived next door to me in White Elm Street, drove for both companies and would sometimes have his coach parked outside the house.

“In the days before mass car ownership to have a vehicle in White Elm Street was quite an event. It even stopped us playing football!

“As well as a fleet number each Blue Bird coach carried the name of a bird. JU2788 was Starling, although, according to my uncle, amongst the drivers it was better known as the JU88 after the wartime German bomber due to the registration number carried”

“Blue Bird” was established in Ipswich in Princes Street in 1920 and was there until 1960 when their lease was not renewed and they were forced to find new premises.

“They relocated their depot at the former Cavendish Street School where the old playground area provided parking space, while the office moved to Northgate Street and bookings were taken from there. “Blue Bird also had contracts for schools and people to work.

“They transported Fison’s staff to Felixstowe when the company relocated from Ipswich to their new head office at the former Felix Hotel.

“My uncle did his bit to promote trade by organising excursions for the people of White Elm Street and Cavendish Street. “Those people had pulled together during World War Two and during the hardships of the early post-war years developed a community spirit amongst their tiny little houses that I don’t think exists today.”

“In the summer of 1953 he organised an evening tour for us to see the illuminations and decorations in central London following the Coronation. Trips with the neighbours to Clacton were a regular event.

“On the way back a halt would be made at the pub by Manningtree Station with the adults disappearing inside while we youngsters sat on the steps outside with our bags of crisps. Children inside a pub were unheard of in those days.”

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