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Days Gone By: How Foundation Street in Ipswich fell victim to the 1960s

PUBLISHED: 14:00 26 November 2015 | UPDATED: 13:40 30 November 2015


Foundation Street, Ipswich, around a century ago. Little remains of the ancient buildings in this street. This photograph was taken from near the junction of Lower Brook Street.

Foundation Street, Ipswich, around a century ago. Little remains of the ancient buildings in this street. This photograph was taken from near the junction of Lower Brook Street.

Dave Kindred

Foundation Street is one of the oldest streets in Ipswich, connecting the port with the town centre. Buildings which had stood for centuries were demolished in the early 1960s in what was then seen as “improvements”.

At the junction of Foundation Street and Lower Brook Street, was a late 15th Century merchant’s house, which was converted to the Half Moon Inn. The inn closed in 1913 and, despite public protests, one of the town’s oldest buildings was demolished in 1960.

Felaw House was bequeathed to the Ipswich Grammar School by leading merchant Richard Felaw who died in around 1482. The building was demolished in 1963. The site was part of a surface car park for around 20 years before a multi-storey car park was built.

Suffolk artist Gainsborough spent seven formative years in Ipswich, 1752-1759. After a few years of apprenticeship in London, he had returned to the town of his birth, Sudbury, in 1748. He moved to Ipswich in 1752 because portrait commissions were more easily obtained here. He rented 34 Foundation Street. This was also demolished in the early 1960s.

Also featured this week are a couple of schools. Reader Sue Brooks has sent me memories of Fonnereau House School. Part of the school building was used by Christchurch Hospital and is now converted to residential use.

Another school building in Ipswich, which has another use, is what was Bramford Road School. Pupils moved out in October 1984 to Handford Hall School and the building was converted to the Suffolk Record Office. I have featured photographs, by Star and EADT photographer Paul Nixon, of the move.

An Ipswich lady has sent memories of her youth living in Foundation Street, Ipswich. I have found photographs to show how this ancient Ipswich street has changed.

My mother, Maud Minnie Keeble, ran a shop in Foundation Street, it sold sweets cigarettes and various other goods. It was opposite Smart Street. During the Second World War we used the cellars of the brewery, which was next door to the Unicorn pub in Foundation Street, as an airraid shelter. I wonder if these cellars still exist?

As a consequence of a bombing raid on the docks in 1941, when I was 22, the windows of all the houses in Foundation Street were shattered. My mother, sister Elsie, with her small baby and I, were taken to either Chantry or Gippeswyk Park overnight.

This building at the junction of Foundation Street and Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, was a late fifteenth century merchant’s house, which was converted to the Half Moon Inn. The inn closed in 1913. Despite public protests one of the town’s oldest buildings was demolished in 1960 and warehousing built on the site. These buildings too have since been replaced. This photograph was taken around 1910.This building at the junction of Foundation Street and Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, was a late fifteenth century merchant’s house, which was converted to the Half Moon Inn. The inn closed in 1913. Despite public protests one of the town’s oldest buildings was demolished in 1960 and warehousing built on the site. These buildings too have since been replaced. This photograph was taken around 1910.

The next day they returned to their home, but the shop was never re-opened as the windows had to be boarded up. After several month we all moved to Handford Road.

Other memories I have of Ipswich in the past are of Brands shop in Tacket Street, which sold clothes and haberdashery, and Hollands drapers shop in Upper Brook Street, owned by ‘Donkey’ Holland, who offered a chair to customers and asked ‘Would you like the halfpenny or a strip of pins’. Also the pork butchers in Tacket Street, run by two brothers. There was sawdust on the floor, and a tub of pork scratchings, of which we would buy a penny worth. I remember ‘The Lads Club’ in Arcade Street, where we went dancing, there was always a large policewoman on the door.

Vera Josselyn (sent by her daughter Diane Kirby), Ipswich.

Do any of the photographs featured this week prompt thoughts or memories for you? Write to David Kindred, Days Gone By, Ipswich Star/EADT, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or email info@kindred-spirit.co.uk


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