Grimwade memorial hall riddle

MYSTERY today surrounds the future of one of Ipswich's last memorials to one of its great founding families.'Sold' posters have gone up around the Grimwade Memorial Hall at the junction of Back Hamlet and Fore Hamlet.

MYSTERY today surrounds the future of one of Ipswich's last memorials to one of its great founding families.

'Sold' posters have gone up around Grimwade Memorial Hall at the junction of Back Hamlet and Fore Hamlet.

But estate agents Beane, Wass and Box were keeping tight-lipped as to the buyer of the nineteenth century building.

Since 1979 the hall's basement has housed the weekly meeting of Ipswich's slot car racing society.


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But the club members got their orders to leave when the sale was announced.

Secretary Dr John Davis said: "I tried to find out who the hall had been sold to but the estate agents wouldn't tell me. They offered to convey messages though.

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"We knew since last year that the property was up for sale. It's in quite a bad condition, just as you'd expect of a big Victorian hall. It is very large and would be expensive to maintain. We set up our tracks in the basement and kept warm with gas heaters."

The club is currently setting up new tracks in Henley, north of Ipswich.

Even planning department bosses knew nothing of the future of the red-brick Victorian site.

A spokesman said: "No one has yet put in a planning application, there is no information on owners."

If the hall loses its Grimwade name it will be another blow to the history of the town.

After the closure of Grimwades department store in 1995, the memorial hall is one of the few remaining reminders of the great family.

The Grimwade name is woven into the history of Ipswich over the last century and a half.

Apart from running one of the longest-established businesses in the town, the Grimwade family made other contributions to Ipswich life.

No fewer than four members of the family have been mayors of the town.

Grimwade Street is named after one of the family and the just-sold Memorial Hall, at the bottom of Bishop's Hill was built in memory of former mayor Edward Grimwade who died in 1970.

Grimwades department store was founded in 1844 by Richard Grimwade a merchant tailor from Weathingsett.

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