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Days Gone By: St Helen’s Street, from an important shopping site to among the busiest roads in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 09:01 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:01 12 April 2018

St Helen's School, Ipswich, is in the centre of this aerial photograph taken in June 1992 from over Alexandra Park. St Helen's Street runs across the centre of the picture. Picture: OWEN HINES

St Helen's School, Ipswich, is in the centre of this aerial photograph taken in June 1992 from over Alexandra Park. St Helen's Street runs across the centre of the picture. Picture: OWEN HINES

Archant

St Helen’s Street is one of the oldest streets in Ipswich. It is now one of the busiest routes through Ipswich, taking thousands of vehicles across town everyday.

The junction of St Helen's Street and Grove Lane around a century ago. The shop on the left was William Nichols butcher. The shop next door was Robert Snell baker. Picture: DAVID KINDREDThe junction of St Helen's Street and Grove Lane around a century ago. The shop on the left was William Nichols butcher. The shop next door was Robert Snell baker. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

It was once known as St Helen’s Wash, following the path of one of the streams, which had their source amongst the natural springs in the Cauldwell Hall area of town.

Playground games at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977. Picture: JERRY TURNERPlayground games at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977. Picture: JERRY TURNER

St Helen’s Church was built on the site of its medieval predecessor between the 1830s and the 1870s.

Fun time for infants at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977. Picture: JERRY TURNERFun time for infants at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977. Picture: JERRY TURNER

The area had many streets of poor housing around Rope Walk, which were demolished in the 1930s and Wells Street, off St Helens Street, was replaced with the flats of Wells Court in the 1950s.

Were you head over heals to be at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977? Picture: JERRY TURNERWere you head over heals to be at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977? Picture: JERRY TURNER

A devastating fire at Handford Hall, School, Ipswich featured in Days Gone By recently.

The scene of destruction at Handford Hall School, Ipswich, in November 1982, recalled by Luke GriffithsThe scene of destruction at Handford Hall School, Ipswich, in November 1982, recalled by Luke Griffiths

Luke Griffiths from Leicester wrote in and said: I was a pupil at Handford Hall when the building was burnt down by an arsonist. It was quite a shock at the time, but as a 10-year-old it was also quite exciting. A few days off school and then we had to move to Bramford Road to the old school building at the corner of Gatacre Road, which is now the Suffolk Record Office, and organise classrooms with lots of donations from other schools in the area. One of my most vivid memories was returning to the burnt out school a few days after the fire with my teacher Mr Cann, who went on to become Ipswich’s MP, to recover exercise books, stationary and tins of paint.

The scene of destruction at Handford Hall School, Ipswich, in November 1982, recalled by Luke GriffithsThe scene of destruction at Handford Hall School, Ipswich, in November 1982, recalled by Luke Griffiths

A group of us made our way through the chard condemned building and found the store cupboards and removed what we could, as we made our way out there was a sudden rumble and part of the roof fell in! A few weeks after the fire, I and a group of others represented the school at a swimming gala at St. Matthew’s baths, we managed to set personal best times in our races and win the competition. We were hailed by the headteacher, Mr Ward, the following day in assembly and taken to the sweet shop on Bramford Road for ice-creams as a reward for returning pride to the school!

Reader, Dave Gilbert, asked when the Solar Superstore was opened by the Co-op on the Boss Hall site, off Sproughton Road, Ipswich. It was opened in August 1977 and was extended the next year to double the size. Were you one of the checkout staff photographed in August 1977? Picture: JERRY TURNERReader, Dave Gilbert, asked when the Solar Superstore was opened by the Co-op on the Boss Hall site, off Sproughton Road, Ipswich. It was opened in August 1977 and was extended the next year to double the size. Were you one of the checkout staff photographed in August 1977? Picture: JERRY TURNER

Dave Gilbert from Ipswich wrote in and said: My daughter and I were reminiscing recently about the first out of the town centre supermarket to open in Ipswich, which we think was Solar in Sproughton Road. We wondered when this was and when did the others follow?

Break time at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977. Picture: JERRY TURNERBreak time at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977. Picture: JERRY TURNER

Do you have memories to share of that part of Ipswich? To submit a letter, in less than 300 words, write to David Kindred, Days Gone By, Ipswich Star/EADT, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS or e-mail info@kindred-spirit.co.uk

Are you among the pupils pupils enjoying a music lesson at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977? Picture: JERRY TURNERAre you among the pupils pupils enjoying a music lesson at St Helen's School, Ipswich, in November 1977? Picture: JERRY TURNER

There were some very serious faces at St Helen's School, Ipswich, when this photograph were taken around 1930. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVEThere were some very serious faces at St Helen's School, Ipswich, when this photograph were taken around 1930. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

The harsh way of life and poor housing of the St Helen's Street area before the Second World War is illustrated by this 1930s photograph of Dove Yard off St Helen's Street. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVEThe harsh way of life and poor housing of the St Helen's Street area before the Second World War is illustrated by this 1930s photograph of Dove Yard off St Helen's Street. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Belle Vue Road, Ipswich, around 1912. The road was then lit at night by gas lamps. Most of the iron railings have now gone from the front gardens. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVEBelle Vue Road, Ipswich, around 1912. The road was then lit at night by gas lamps. Most of the iron railings have now gone from the front gardens. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

The junction of Argyle Street (background) Grimwade Street (foreground) and St Helen's Street in the early years of the twentieth century. This is now one of the busiest traffic junctions in the town with no time to linger in the roadway.  Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVEThe junction of Argyle Street (background) Grimwade Street (foreground) and St Helen's Street in the early years of the twentieth century. This is now one of the busiest traffic junctions in the town with no time to linger in the roadway. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

St Helen's Street, Ipswich, between St Helen's Church yard (left) and Jefferies Road in the 1930s. The shops included Benjamin Kemp confectioner, Miss Gee, also a confectioner, the Ipswich Sanitary Steam Laundry, Hammonds newsagents and John Skilton ladies hairdressers. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVESt Helen's Street, Ipswich, between St Helen's Church yard (left) and Jefferies Road in the 1930s. The shops included Benjamin Kemp confectioner, Miss Gee, also a confectioner, the Ipswich Sanitary Steam Laundry, Hammonds newsagents and John Skilton ladies hairdressers. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

St Helen's Street, Ipswich, and the County Hall around 1910. The building had also been used as a law court before it was turned into council accommodation in 1906. The County Hall was completed in 1837 as a law court with a prison at the rear. The last public execution at the Ipswich Gaol was in April 1863, the last execution was in November 1924. It was home to Suffolk County Council until they moved to Endeavour House, Russell Road, Ipswich, in 2004. The empty building has been heavily vandalised. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVESt Helen's Street, Ipswich, and the County Hall around 1910. The building had also been used as a law court before it was turned into council accommodation in 1906. The County Hall was completed in 1837 as a law court with a prison at the rear. The last public execution at the Ipswich Gaol was in April 1863, the last execution was in November 1924. It was home to Suffolk County Council until they moved to Endeavour House, Russell Road, Ipswich, in 2004. The empty building has been heavily vandalised. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE


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