Days Gone By - looking back at Tavern Street in Ipswich town centre as Jack Wills opens in former Croydons store
Tavern Street, Ipswich, has always been a main thoroughfare of the town, writes David Kindred.
Victorian photographs show how little most of the building line has changed in more than 100 years. Croydon’s shop in Tavern Street shown here in the 1970s. The building is now home to a recently-opened Jack Wills store
Don Taylor was a long-serving member of the staff at Croydon’s and he tells a little of the history of the building, which was built in the early 1930s.
“I worked in the Croydon building in Tavern Street from October 1953 until September 1997. The company’s building was mostly demolished around 1930 and rebuilt when Tavern Street was widened, between Upper Brook Street and St Lawrence Street.
“The present building, now home to a Jack Wills clothing store, opened in 1931. The builders were Sadler and Sons of Ipswich. Bernard Sadler was a friend of the Croydon family. “The exterior has three, beautiful, well-proportioned bays, between which were boards which advertised Croydon’s, one with an oil painting of Old Father Time with his sickle. The other was the ‘Generation Board’ showing the generations of wedding ring buyers.
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“Entering the building there is a magnificent staircase ascending to the first floor in three stages. This staircase is considerably older than the building, it was originally situated in a house in Essex called “Shaddellows”. On the back wall of the shop there is a stained glass window depicting a wedding ring and again with a time theme. Over the stairs there is on the ceiling mouldings from a bedroom in the original building.”
He sent this 1920s photograph of Tavern Street. Croydon’s shop is in the foreground. All of these buildings were demolished when the street was widened around 1930. Charles Harry Edward Croydon served a five year apprenticeship from 1860 at one shilling (5p) a week, starting when he was 14. He opened his own business at 1 Hatton building, Tavern Street in 1865. He moved across the street to the building in the photograph in 1871.
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A similar viewpoint of Tavern Street taken in September 1967. On the right of the street was J and J Edwards clothing store (with the high overhanging sign). The shop also supplied of school uniforms.
There was drama in Tavern Street in November 1970, when fire broke out in the roof of Croydon’s shop. Crowds stood at the junction of Carr Street watching the fire brigade deal with the incident.
Tavern Street, Ipswich, from the junction of Carr Street, around 1910. The buildings on the left, including Croydon’s shop, were demolished around 1930 when the road was widened. The Great White Horse Hotel is on the right. There had been an inn on that site since at least 1518. In 1818 the building, which had a timbered front, was largely rebuilt in a road widening scheme. It closed as a hotel in 2008.
An 1890s view of Tavern Street from the junction with Dial Lane. The Great Eastern Railway Company then had a ticket office there. The department store of Fish and Son, in the centre, was at the corner of St Lawrence Street. The tracks in the street were for the horse drawn trams.
The Picture House Cinema, Tavern Street, opened in December 1910 and was the first purpose-built cinema in Ipswich. It closed in 1958 and was demolished. It was replaced by a Timothy Whites chemists shop, now a branch of Boots. Did you visit this cinema or use the cafe?
Frank Mason and Sons, ladies fashion store, stood at the corner of Tavern Street and Tower Street for many decades. It closed in 1970 and the buildings are still there today and is now a Game and Body Shop. Did you work or shop at Mason’s?
The way the buildings at the junction of Upper Brook Street and Tavern Street were altered, with the changes of 1929, is illustrated in these two photographs, one was taken around 1905 with A E Sach tailors shop in the foreground, next in Tavern Street was Poppy and Company, milliners and A Nelson Howe tobacconist. The 1965 picture has Milletts clothing shop where Sach’s shop was.
Tavern Street and the White Horse Hotel, from Upper Brook Street, is seen in this image from around 1915. This was a period when a visit to the town centre saw people in their best clothes, which usually included a hat.
Frederick Corder’s department store extended from Tavern Street through to the Buttermarket until the early 1980s. HMV now occupy part of this building. The Walk, with its Tudor-style frontage, was built from Tavern Street to meet the Thoroughfare and the Buttermarket in the mid 1930s
Horse transport on a busy day in Tavern Street, Ipswich, in the 1890s. The building line in this part of the street has changed little since this photograph was taken by Ipswich photographer Harry Walters
Tavern Street from the top deck of an electric tram around 1905. The buildings in the left background, between St Lawrence Street and Upper Brook Street, were demolished in 1929 and the road widened.
• Did you work for Croydon’s or have memories of the other shops featured this week? Share your memories via email