Going back to colourful time of travel

COLOUR photographs of life in Ipswich in the 1960s are rare.

David Kindred

COLOUR photographs of life in Ipswich in the 1960s are rare.

Former Ipswich man Alan Valentine, who now lives in Newcastle on Tyne, sent me a unique set of colour slides he took during that period, which captured part of the town now gone forever. Alan, a keen enthusiast in the history of transport, also recorded locomotives and buses.

Several readers wrote with their memories of working at Crane Limited at their works on Nacton Road, Ipswich, where Alan took a photograph of a shunting locomotive in 1969. I have this week featured more of Alan's excellent pictures.

Michael Collyer of Cambridge Road, Kesgrave, said “Alan Valentine's photographs were delightful and brought back memories of years past.

“The freight train featured, pulled by a diesel shunter heading for Cliff Quay along the promenade, was a regular job when I was on the railway, but drawn by either a tank or tram engine, both steam of course.

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“I worked in the power house at Cranes for a spell, and the engine in Alan Valentines's photograph used to bring us trucks of coal for the boiler.

“The engine was the pride and joy of the work's engineer. He had worked on Indian railways and loved steam engines. The little locomotive was cleaned every day and really shone.

“How Ipswich has changed during my lifetime, I remember the old trams, the trolley buses. So many of the old buildings have gone too and the dock area is now a completely different world to what it was.”

Mrs M Kett of Maryon Road, Ipswich, said “My father, Percy Richardson, whose nickname was 'Con', worked at Cranes. He lived at 514 Nacton Road with his wife Ellen and three daughters.

“He drove Locos at Cranes from 1937 until 1961. He worked on the old engine until the new engine was delivered in 1952. A gentleman from Grimsby handed it over to our father and stayed at our home overnight.”

“Our father kept both engines immaculate. They were his pride and joy. Unfortunately due to ill health, he was forced to take a lighter job in the factory and finally retired in 1974.”

John Harrold of Risby Close, Ipswich, added “I worked at Cranes; Nacton Road, at the time of the shunter pictured and was one of a team who regularly emptied the coke trucks which supplied the foundry.

“What a great sight it was chugging away in the yard. I shall treasure that photo sent in by Alan Valentine. I also remember the diesel shunters along New Cut East and prior to them the steam “Puffing Billys” as I called them, often holding up traffic as they crossed Bridge Street near Stoke Bridge Imagine that today?”

Mr R Clarke of Boyton Road, Ipswich, also worked at Cranes. “The train used to bring trucks into the yard, which had pig iron and lime stone scrap metal and sand to be unloaded by the crane you can see in the background of this picture.

“I was the crane driver on night shift at that time. Sometimes there were fourteen trucks at a time. I worked at Cranes for 38 years, I am almost 80 now.”

Mr C Parker of Humber Doucy Lane, Ipswich, wrote to say he was also a driver of the steam locomotive.