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Days Gone By - Look back at Cranfields sparks fond memories for readers

PUBLISHED: 12:56 28 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:56 28 April 2017

Cranfield Brothers Ipswich mills and silos are in the bottom left corner of this 1994 aerial photograph. The Buttermarket Centre is top right. (Photo by David Kindred/Archant).

Cranfield Brothers Ipswich mills and silos are in the bottom left corner of this 1994 aerial photograph. The Buttermarket Centre is top right. (Photo by David Kindred/Archant).

Archant

A recent Days gone By featured Cranfield Brothers Mills at Ipswich dock, writes David Kindred.

Mel Rumsey working on sifter trays at Cranfields Mill, Ipswich.
Mel Rumsey working on sifter trays at Cranfields Mill, Ipswich.

The large complex of buildings has mostly been demolished and a tall, as yet uncompleted, block of flats “The Mill” stands on part of the site.

One of the company’s former buildings, opposite St Mary at the Quay Church, is currently being converted into living accommodation.

The publication of photographs of Cranfield Brothers, which had been on the site since 1884, has prompted fond memories for readers who worked for the company.

Mel Rumsby, from Ipswich, worked in the maintenance department for 26 years as a carpenter.

Fred Chaplin recalls the steam powered shunting tram engines that used to cross the road stopping traffic near Stoke Bridge, Ipswich. Fred Chaplin recalls the steam powered shunting tram engines that used to cross the road stopping traffic near Stoke Bridge, Ipswich.

He said Robin Armstrong, whose family is part of the Cranfield family, started working at the bottom before working his way up to managing director of the flour will.

Fred Chaplin, who worked at Cranfield Brothers Ltd for more than 50 years, recalled the steam powered shunting tram engines.

He said: “The steam locomotives I remember from an early age as during their trips from the dock to the Commercial Road rail yard they blocked the road between Stoke and the town, much to our annoyance.

“Cranfields had “Lighters” of which we had about forty as additional storage for wheat in the dock. These were craft with no means of propulsion, which were towed into the dock from Cliff Quay.

A barge loaded with grain at CranfieldÕs Ipswich Mill in 1949.
A barge loaded with grain at CranfieldÕs Ipswich Mill in 1949.

“Our barges were rarely used for storage, they had to earn their keep.”

Albert Goodchild worked as an apprentice with Eastern Electricity in the early 1950s.

He said: “I worked with Eddie Hard at the mill when the old steam engines where being replaced with large electric motors to drive the various mill floors.

“The first motor was installed in the engine shed on the right hand mill and the last steam engine carried on working the left hand mill and was eventually shut down and replaced by the second large electric motor. I can remember the large belt drive lifts the mill staff used to get from one floor to the other floors and installing emergency stop buttons.”

A wall, of one of CranfieldÕs silos at Ipswich Dock, collapsed in 1897 spilling hundreds of tons of grain into the dock and blocked the quay.
A wall, of one of CranfieldÕs silos at Ipswich Dock, collapsed in 1897 spilling hundreds of tons of grain into the dock and blocked the quay.

The last sailing ship to deliver grain to Ipswich to Australia was the clipper, Abraham Ryburg.

The ship set sail from Spencer Gulf, Australia, on February 18 and berthed at Cliff Quay on June 18.

After unloading part of the cargo, the ship was moved into the dock on June 30.

If you have memories to share write to David Kindred, Days Gone By, Ipswich Star/EADT, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS or email him.

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