Forgotten house set for new life

BEHIND each ivy leaf lies an untold story. Dust has been gathering for more than 20 years and until now, the story of this forgotten house in the shadows has never been told.

BEHIND each ivy leaf lies an untold story. Dust has been gathering for more than 20 years and until now, the story of this forgotten house in the shadows has never been told.

The detached property on the edge of north Ipswich used to be a proud family home with an attractive well kept garden. Today it is barely visible from the street and standing vacant as decades of historic events have passed it by.

The owner, who is believed to be in his 70s and lives in North London, has never lived in the family home since his mother died 20 years ago.

But that was back in 1988 when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, the IRA were at the height of their mainland bombing campaign, the Prince and Princess of Wales had a happy marriage - or so we thought - the Berlin Wall was up, Wimbledon won the FA cup and no one had ever heard of reality television.

Although the owner has visited the house in that period, he admits that a busy work life as an architect in London has kept him occupied for the past few years.

However now, after remaining empty for two decades, the house is finally set to be renovated and returned to its former glory.

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The owner, who did not wished to be named, said that he is in the process of looking to do the house up, and clear the front and back gardens. The plan is to come up to Ipswich more frequently in the new year to get the house back to a good state.

He added that he was reviewing his options of what to do with the house after the refurbishment, given the current property market.

Laurence Crapnell, 86, a nearby neighbour and friend who keeps an eye on the house for him, explained that the house was built just before the Second World War and was the final house in the road to be built before the war.

He said: “I came to this house in 1968 and I've known him for 40 years. It used to be a beautiful house with a lovely garden.”

Colin Girling, of Colin Girling & Co in Great Colman Street, made an estimated value of the property at approximately £180,000, on the assumption that it was in poor condition.

Mr Girling, who public relations officer for the Suffolk branch of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “If a house has been left for some time, it can get damp and have all other sorts of additional problems.

“It would not be a case of a straight forward refurbishment. If it has damp, it depends how bad it is because it could affect the plastering.”

Do you have a mystery in your street you want to solve? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

What were you up to in 1988? Can you remember what you were doing 20 years ago?

Here's some reminders.

January - The Soviet Union begins its program of economic restructuring (perestroika) with legislation initiated by Premier Mikhail Gorbachev.

February - The 1988 Winter Olympics are held in Calgary, Canada.

March - The Halabja poison gas attack is carried out by Iraqi government forces.

April - The Last Emperor wins nine Oscars.

May - After more than eight years of fighting, the Red Army begins withdrawing from Afghanistan.

June - The Queen strips jockey Lester Piggott of his OBE following his jailing for tax irregularities.

July - The Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea is destroyed by explosions and fires, killing 165 oil workers and two rescue mariners.

August - The Iran-Iraq War ends, with an estimated one million lives lost.

September - Hurricane Gilbert devastates Jamaica

October - Women are allowed to study at Magdalene College, Cambridge, for the first time.

November - George Bush is elected US President.

December - The Clapham Junction rail crash kills 35 and injures 132.

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