Father came to find work

Vivid memories of a childhood in Ipswich in the 1930s and 40s have come from a reader who now lives in Manchester.

Vivid memories of a childhood in Ipswich in the 1930s and 40s have come from a reader who now lives in Manchester. Barbara Monagham who now lives Middleton, Manchester said “I was a member of the Wilson family. My parents moved to Ipswich from Manchester in around 1930. My father hitch hiked to Ipswich looking for work before we joined him. He found himself a job at Baldwin’s Wood Yard in Bramford Road. My brother Teddy stayed in Manchester with his grandparents for awhile. My sister Evelyn moved with my parents to Ipswich. My sisters Mavis, May and Maurine and me were born in Ipswich. Our home was the rooms behind the fish and chip shop at 128, Cavendish Street. I remember my first day at Clifford Road Primary School, where my teacher was Mrs Mulley. I played truant with Hilary Ambrose, we ran through the back passages to Alexandra Park and I was hauled back to school by my sister Mavis. The school story time with Miss Goldie was magical; she made the words come alive. I recall walking back to school full of mum’s potato hash and spotted dick and on the way we enjoyed toppling over the railings on Devonshire Road hill, which are still there today. I did not like school, but my childhood was not bad, I never went hungry and was always kept clean.”

“I had adventurous times out of school at the rubbish tip near Copleston Road School, scrambling among old cars and water looking for newts. My sister Evelyn got a good hiding for taking me there. We used to play in the street until late with spinning tops, marbles and skipping ropes. I got into trouble one day for making mud pies with Yvonne Bloom with water from the outside toilet. When mum found out, there was no more water, so we peed in the mud. I got a thick ear and Yvonne was sent home!”

There were bike rides to Bourne Park where we crossed the railway lines to pick bluebells. Not far from home was Holywells park with a paddling pool, apple orchard and beech woods.”

“I enjoyed trips on the River Lady along the River Orwell from New Cut and walking home through the dock and seeing the glorious sunsets over the water. Other pleasures were the Saturday morning pictures and a halfpenny bun from the bakers. A small roll of Lyons ice-cream wrapped in paper just big enough for a cornet and two ounces of sweets and a big bottle of ‘Tizer’ to share on a Sunday, the Co-op fete on Christchurch Park and the Rope Walk on bonfire night.”

“Mum believed if you were frightened of something you would catch it so we still went swimming at Fore St Baths during the polio epidemic. We also went swimming at St Matthews and Broomhill.”

“Christmas meant a party at dad’s works, a new dress made by friend Mrs Hilling with material supplied by mum and new shoes. When my sister Evelyn and Mavis started work I remember them buying us books. My favourite place was the library, I always enjoyed reading.”

Most Read

“The Second World War did not seem real. When the bomb fell at the top of our street, it bounced and landed at the bottom onto Myrtle Road and demolished six houses, killing people. We wanted to go and look, but were not allowed. Boys collected shrapnel and Hilary and I collected broken glass and pottery, until one day she fell on it and cut her leg. Many nights were spent in the air raid shelter. I saw the German bombers caught in search lights, barrage balloons and often heard the anti-aircraft guns. One day we ran down the street into Mr Crowther’s shop and he let us stay until the ‘all clear’ sounded. Once the air raid warden shouted at my mum because the light from our coal fire was too bright. Dad served in the home guard and he used to put his great coat on our bed. My sisters and I slept three in a bed and Evelyn told us witch stories, which were more frightening than any raid. The Victory in Europe and Japan days saw street parties, bonfires and fireworks.”

“My first job was at Ransomes Sims and Jeffries as a filing clerk and my friend there was Marina who worked in the blue print room and I helped her. We had a lot of fun belting out the latest hit songs. I went dancing at the local American bases. I recall seeing Dickie Valentine, Lita Rosa and Eric Delaney at the Regent. There were days out to Clacton, Yarmouth and Felixstowe.

George Burton, who now lives in Shaftesbury, has written to me asking for memories of a visit to Ipswich Dock in the early 1950s of a Royal Navy submarine. George said “I would very much like to know whether a Royal Navy submarine visited Ipswich docks around 1952 or ’53. I grew up in Belstead Road and have few memories of that time and I do remember it caused a bit of a stir and going to see it.” Do you recall the visit George refers to? Write to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter