Days Gone By - Memories of Foxhall Stadium

Drivers preparing cars for Stock Car racing in July 1968

Drivers preparing cars for Stock Car racing in July 1968

Readers have been sharing their memories of old Ipswich after being prompted by photos in Days Gone By, writes David Kindred.

Drivers preparing cars for Stock Car racing in July 1968

Drivers preparing cars for Stock Car racing in July 1968

Foxhall Stadium featured in a recent Days Gone By. An Ipswich reader had recalled the early days of stock car racing there and at other stadiums.

Mrs P Winter, of Ipswich, said: “I am the daughter of Pat Frost, a local stock car driver, who, with his brother, Trevor Frost and a few others, were the first to drive at Foxhall Stadium in the 1950s.

“Travelling all over the country to race we would be picked up in Woodbridge at 3pm on a Friday and travel the long miles to Barnsley in Yorkshire to stay with relations, then on Saturday we would go to Belle Vue in Manchester for my father to race, then back to Barnsley the same day, returning to Woodbridge on the Sunday, ready for school on the Monday.

“Dad raced on until the 1970s. My uncle Trevor was sadly killed on a scramble bike at a local track. My mother and father went to see the Trotting meeting at the Ipswich track. I met my husband at Norwich Firs Stadium in the early 1960s, he was there racing with his brother and the late Skid Parish. In those days the drivers had to wear clean, white overalls to race.

Stock car racing in 1968

Stock car racing in 1968

“Ipswich and Norwich stadiums were promoted by ‘Bozzie’ Bosworth and ‘Digger’ Burgh, in the early 1950s. Then in the 1960s along came Mr Stock Car, the late Les Eaton. He formed a company called Speedworth Ltd, later to be Speedworth Motor Sport.”

Meanwhile, Christine Watkins, of Bury St Edmunds, said: “Your aerial view of the Bramford Lane/Bramford Road area of Ipswich was of great interest to me and brought back many happy memories. I grew up in Bennett Road in the 40s and early 50s. In those days Bramford Lane became a narrow country lane, just about where Ulster Avenue joins it and I often used to walk down the lane to Bramford with my father to visit Mr Stebbings who lived on a farm there. Does the old lane still exist?

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“There used to be a fish and chip shop, a ladies’ hairdressers and a corner shop at the bottom of Bennett Road on Bramford Lane. I think the hairdressers was run by a Mrs Chambers and the corner shop by a Mr Woodhouse, always known as ‘Woody’.

“I very much enjoy your Days Gone By features.”

An aerial view of Bramford Lane (left) and Bramford Road, Ipswich, taken in the 1970s. High View Ro

An aerial view of Bramford Lane (left) and Bramford Road, Ipswich, taken in the 1970s. High View Road is in the foreground. The Bramford Lane allotments are top left. (Photo by Jim Empson.)

Josephine Ball, of Framlingham, added: “I was very pleased to see the aerial photo of Bramford Lane. It brought back memories of the mid to late 40s, when we used to travel by trolley bus to a small roundabout by the Waveney. The trolley bus turned round at the hotel and then went back to the Ipswich town centre.

“We used to walk through the allotments to visit relations in Bramford Lane, who lived in long makeshift, corrugated houses, which were put up after the war for temporary accommodation. It would be interesting to know if any readers remember these houses.”

Stuart Greenhalgh emailed to say: “The couple featured in Days Gone By were Mr Frederick and Mary Greenhalgh, they are my grandparents. They lived at 662 Bramford Road. The picture is at the rear of their house.

“They had sent a letter to the prime minister, Harold Wilson, complaining that they had no inside toilet or bath and had to use the bucket at night.”

Mr Frederick and Mary Greenhalgh in 1965.

Mr Frederick and Mary Greenhalgh in 1965.

John Carpenter, of Felixstowe, said: “The photograph of the houses in Henniker Road, taken in 1965, include my grandparents’ house. They lived at number 144, the fourth door from the right in the picture,where the van is parked. They were Frank and Grace Carpenter and my dad, also named Frank, grew up in that house which was rented from the Church of England.

“The road wasn’t surfaced until the late sixties or even the early seventies. My dad told me that this end of Henniker Road was outside the control of Ipswich and was under East Suffolk council auspices. It meant he went to school in Bramford and he always claimed that the unsurfaced part of Henniker Road began at the boundary point of the two councils.

“My sister and myself were regular visitors to Henniker Road at the time of the photograph, but as I was born in late 1963 I can only recall the house from the late sixties, by which time my grandmother had passed away. My grandad’s neighbours included a Mrs Ellis and a Mrs Elgy and the photograph of the couple in their back garden might have been the couple next door who kept hens at the top of their garden that my sister and I always gave our crusts to after tea on a Sunday.

“I remember being lifted over the fence at the bottom of the garden to play in the park behind the houses (as seen in the aerial photograph.) My grandad always referred to the park as ‘the meadow’. My dad used to say that if he claimed to be ill my grandad would tell him that a ‘good run round the meadow’ would soon cure him! I remember there was a grocery shop called Drew’s just along from the houses.

Houses in Henniker Road, in March 1965.

Houses in Henniker Road, in March 1965.

“The houses had no inside toilets or bathrooms and my grandad’s house wasn’t modernised until the summer of 1977, when he had to move into a mobile home positioned opposite his house for several weeks. He passed away in June 1978 at 82 years of age – having suggested that he would die happy having seen Ipswich Town win the FA Cup! I had very happy memories of him in Henniker Road and that probably explained why I bought my first house in 1987, in the same road, but at the other end! I lived there for nine years and my wife and I had our first child while living there.”

Mrs D McLaughlin, of Ipswich, said: “The picture of the Eagle Tavern includes my brothers-in-law, Jack from Nacton estate and William McLaughlin and his wife Joyce.”

And Derrick Adams added: “The lady on the left is my cousin Joyce McLaughlin. In the centre is Joyce’s husband Bill, an ex-GI on the right is her elder brother Jack.”

The Westbourne area of Ipswich was featured recently and readers have provided more information about the pictures featured and life in the area.

The photograph taken at the Eagle Tavern, Ipswich in 1975. (Photo by Jerry Turner/Archant)

The photograph taken at the Eagle Tavern, Ipswich in 1975. (Photo by Jerry Turner/Archant)

Wendy Orriss, of Ipswich, said: “My family lived in the seventh house from the left of the row in Bramford Road, featured in the 1920s photograph. We had moved from higher up the road (that was then still part of the village of Bramford). I lived in that house until I married in 1948. My mother still lived there until 1985. They were neat little houses, but rooms were small. We did have a bathroom, but it had a bath on one wall (cold tap) and a gas copper up the opposite corner. We had to ladle the water when hot into the bath. “That little room had a window just two feet square. We had to be very wary of fumes. As I look at the picture of these houses I can remember the names of every family, (grown-ups and children), right down to Shafto Road. Starting from where we lived, opposite us, (out of view of the picture) was a post office cum sweet shop and then a cycle shop. These were run by a family called Rodwell.

“I can see the cycles in the window display now, priced at four pounds, seventeen shillings and sixpence. A few yards from them was a general store called Leeches, run by a lovely couple. My mother shopped there and at Christmas time they always gave us a big bag of apples as a ‘Christmas Box’. Very handy, us being a family of five children.

“At the end of the road was a little ‘front room’ shop called Stammers, a child’s delight, because it held all the sweets that were so popular then. Plus household goods and everything you needed in your pantry. Out of the sight of your picture, extreme left, stood the Waveney Hotel and as a child I always thought it was a palace. Henniker Road was unmade, a dirt track almost.

“The houses pictured were at the top of our back garden, which would be near the white car on the left. The front of the houses were on the road to Bramford village. The houses we lived in then, (1932), were identical to the picture. Behind where the photographer took his picture of the houses was a very large house with high iron gates and a wide drive with hedges either side (I never did know who lived there) and even further back was a little shop up a long brick, paved path, next to a house. This was called Drews, lovely, cosy little shop, with bundles of wood, soap powder, sweets, cakes etc.

Wendy Orriss recalls living in one of these houses in Bramford Road, Ipswich.

Wendy Orriss recalls living in one of these houses in Bramford Road, Ipswich.

“A few yards further along was a family store called Nurses, a plump mother, father in cap and braces, with a son and daughter in their late teens. I had to take a basin to get two penny-worth of Mustard Piccallili, spooned from a huge jar, which Mr Nurse hugged under his arm, it smelt lovely. Opposite that shop was a gypsy encampment. The family there was Smith, with real gypsy caravans, smoke coming out of little metal chimneys, with a least six wooden steps up to their door, and dogs everywhere. They were real gypsies, older men with wide brimmed hats, mufflers and braces.

“I remember, when the ‘Queen’ of the encampment died, there was a fantastic funeral. Big horses with plumes and carriages. Very impressive! Some of the gypsy children came to the village school in Bramford.

“The school featured was then Westbourne Senior, Marlow Road. I was among the first children there when it opened, just after war was declared. I loved that school! I spent many hours in the ‘shelters’ during raids, singing, reciting and story telling, but they were still good days. I have very fond memories, and of my headmistress, Miss Baker and the teachers, I can remember them all and their subjects. I can aspire to being head girl (through popularity rather than academically I think). I had two sisters who made it too.

Lovely, lovely memories.”

Readers have been debating where a greyhound racing track was in Ipswich before the now closed track at London Road was built. John Alcock has written with the answer.

“Perhaps I can throw some light on where the old track was. My grandfather owned Broadmere House now situated in Broadmere Road, which is off Eustace Road. The land extended from Bramford Road, where the Scout hut is, down to where Eustace Road meets Bramford Lane and along to Wallace Road.

“The other boundary was the railway line. The track was situated within this area, but I do not know the exact location.We lived at 28 Eustace Road, which was built in 1938 after my grandfather sold the land for housing. My grandfather stabled a horse at the rear of 28, where in the loft were the lighting poles from the old track.”

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