Days Gone By: The changing face of town’s firefighting base
In 1982 the Fire Brigade moved to a new fire station in Princes Street, Ipswich.
The new station replaced the fire station in Bond Street built in 1899, which had been the town’s main fire headquarters until a new station was built on Colchester Road in November 1962.
The Colchester Road site was replaced with a new station at Ransomes Europark in 2011. East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star photographer, Richard Snasdell, visited the new Princes Street site in July 1982 and took pictures of firefighters during a training session.
Also featured this week are reader’s memories prompted by photos in recent Days Gone By of thatchers at work and of photographs of motor cycle scramble races in Suffolk.
Thatchers and thatched buildings featured in a recent Days Gone By and readers have written adding information to the photographs featured.
Jane Moore emailed in and said: The two Thatchers at Stratford St Mary are my grandfather and uncle, Ernest James Death and his son John Death, both from Thorington Street, Stoke by Nayland. The business, E.J. Death and Son, Master Thatchers, is still in business, run by his two grandsons, Malcolm Macbeth and Trevor Death.
Valerie Fenwick from Butley said:
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Thatching often runs in families. Generations of Chilvers have cut local reeds to roof the nave of Butley’s Church, which you showed being re-thatched by them in 1955.
Growing in brackish water, reeds from the headwaters of the Butley river were reckoned to outlast any from Norfolk. They were cut in the autumn and the bolts stacked head down along the river walls.
Parish records confirm that Butley’s thatch lasted at least a century, although the straw ridge always required to be renewed about four times.
My photograph shows the 1955 thatching 25 years later with a new golden ridge making a pretty picture. It was damaged in the 1987 storm and renewed in 1998. The ridge is now a sorry sight and in urgent need of replacement a little sooner than usual.
Edna Beckley from Hitcham said:
I was most surprised and pleased see a photo of my mother Nellie Pearl and aunt Kathleen Pearl in Days Gone By.
The house featured was called ‘Old Daniels’...my grandfather used it to keep horses in along with hay etc.
The horses in the picture were called Boxer and Smiler. My grandfather worked in the fields nearby and my mother had to help, being the oldest child.
From the age of 12 she worked in the fields after school other than Sundays when no work was done.
Motor cycle scramble racing featured recently and readers have responded with their memories.
Roger Chaplin emailed:
Wow, the photos of Scrambles from yesteryear made my day. I was at some of those meetings and know some of the riders, great times.
On Facebook there is a page called “Riders who rode MX when it was called Scrambling” and the many ‘friends’ to this will be over the moon to see this feature. It was set up by Lowestoft rider John Lockwood with the help of Sudbury’s Fred Keyton and now with the help of Ian Berry.
Amongst the ‘friends’ are Freddie Mayes, Bryan Wade and Torsten Hallman. The date of Mumberry Hills event, featured in Days Gone By, was Saturday, February 29, 1964, and was Dave Bickers first time out on the new Greeves Challenger.
He won the 250cc race with John Banks second and I believe that is him in your photo.
Charlie Ralph said:
It was wonderful to see the photographs, I did not realise how old I am!
I was spectating at every venue shown and have thousands of race programmes dating back to 1948. I still attend meetings as commentator for all the Eastern meetings, and as reporter for various motorcycle newspapers and magazines.
I even recognise some of the spectators shown. The photograph at Hintlesham shows John Banks (46), Chris Horsfield (47), Dave Bickers (1), Clacton fruit and veg’ grower, Norman Messenger (11), and another local ace, Freddie Keyton (22).
Local inventor, Rex Garrod, was the star of the day at Cockfield, which was hosted by the Bury St Edmunds club.
John Bridges sent an email:
I was most interested in the motorcycle photos, particularly the one which shows Geoff Revett at Shrubland Park in 1949. I visited Geoff in 1987 in connection with my Suffolk motoring book. He told me his favourite bike for trials was the Ariel, and he did work for that company for some time.
That photo shows other riders mounted on Ariels, but Geoff is on his preferred scrambles mount, a Triumph Tiger 100.
He said it was at some time fitted with a bronze cylinder head, which would have been rather special. He used this bike for road racing, scrambling and general road use. As an 18-year-old he did once compete at a Brooklands club meeting.
After the war, he rode for Norwich speedway for three years, but preferred scrambling. I remember the great excitement of my first visit to Shrubland Park in 1961.
Roger Kennell from Hadleigh said:
The excitement, noise, smell, and competitive endeavour of Scrambling in the 1960s was evoked by your selection of photographs of some famous riders and tracks. Being a regular spectator every Sunday during the season I was likely to have been at all those venues shown.
Falstaff Manor at Bentley was my first scramble and I was instantly captured by the whole spectacle. Essex rider Jack Hubbard was supreme that day.
Shrubland Park was a testing track for National and European meetings with huge crowds being attracted. When Shrubland Park closed for events, the Ipswich Motor Cycle Club then moved to create a new track at Hintlesham Hall.
The big National meetings were a chance to see the great riders of that era, Dave Bickers, Jeff Smith, Vic Eastwood, Arthur Lampkin, Alan Clough, ‘Badger’ Goss, and the Rickman brothers.
Mumberry Hills and the Hill Climbs were something different, and who can forget those BBC Grandstand Scrambles, usually held in the winter months and which produced so much mud and unpredictability. A great era remembered by Days Gone By. Thank you.
Do you have memories you would like to share with readers? 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 email@example.com