Ipswich Icons - Have you seen the first edition of the Ordnance Survey map of Ipswich?

The Black Horse

The Black Horse - Credit: Archant

The first edition of the Ordnance Survey of Ipswich 1883, produced at a scale of 1.500, is a fascinating read, writes John Norman, of the Ipswich Society.

WM Paul Tenements Trust

WM Paul Tenements Trust - Credit: Archant

It contains a wealth of information but poses a considerable number of questions, the answers to which requires research by using alternative resources.

Such is the case where Westgate Street meets St Matthew’s Street, Hyde Park Corner. Here was a major entry point into the town through Bar Gate (or more commonly the West Gate).

To the north of the centre of Ipswich is a double road system (Tower Ramparts and Crown Street) which clearly show the extent of the town in Saxon times. One road inside, and one outside the ramparts. Probably a bank and a ditch (the excavated material from the latter created the former) surmounted by a wooden fence. The double line continues along the western boundary; Lady Lane and Black Horse Lane and eventually Tanners Lane and Curriers Lane. There is some evidence that Ipswich Castle (demolished 1170) was located between Lady Lane and Black Horse Lane. The streets hereabouts included The Mount and Castle Street.

Just inside the West Gate is Black Horse Lane, an intramural lane (that is within the town’s defences). In the late 19th Century Black Horse Lane had a variety of buildings, a mix of terraced houses, small workshops, retail outlets and a couple of pubs. The tavern that gave its name to the lane, The Black Horse, is a long way down, almost at Elm Street; the other was at number 17, the Duke of Cambridge, which closed in 1923.


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Close to Westgate Street at number 8 was the notable Industrial Home and School for Girls, a gift of Samuel Belcher Chapman JP, chemist and druggist who had a shop in Tavern Street. Chapman was born in Eastbourne, Sussex in 1800, and was a businessman and philanthropist. His business, a pharmaceutical chemist, proved sufficiently lucrative during the second quarter of the 19th Century to enable him to move his shop from Tavern Street to the very centre of town at 17 Cornhill.

Chapman married Frances Elizabeth Mendham in St Mary le Tower church in January 1824, and they had seven children. By the time of the 1851 census they were living in Berners Street with two daughters still at home. The others, four sons and the eldest daughter, had left home to make their own way in the world.

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He set up the Industrial Home and School for Girls in 1857, a court of terraced houses was converted to accommodate dormitories, workshops, kitchens and accommodation for the superintendent. The superintendent for the first 20 years was Miss Annie Strangways who ran a well- disciplined and loving home.

An industrial home was a reformatory, a children’s home (generally for teenagers) who had been before the magistrates and had been sentenced to detention for a maximum period of five years. The home also received voluntary admissions and up to 20 girls could be accommodated.

Industrial school homes gave youngsters a second chance providing not only secure accommodation but also a regime of schooling and domestic work, most of which was undertaken on the premises (laundry, ironing, needlework).

All of the housework and cooking in the home was carried out by the girls themselves. Inmates who earned the trust of the staff were able to work off premises in the homes of the local gentry.

Although the home had started life in converted terraced cottages in 1865 it was extensively rebuilt (at Chapman’s expense) and enlarged to accommodate 46 girls aged, on admission 13 to 16. Chapman supported the home financially for 23 years and acted as its honorary manager and secretary.

Frances died in February 1869 and was buried in Ipswich Cemetery whereupon Samuel moved to Tower Terrace in Tower Street (1871 census). He died in July 1880 and was buried alongside his wife.

The home closed in 1920 and the site was cleared, eventually to become the service road to access the rear of the shops in St Matthew’s Street. The street was renamed Chapman Street and the name adopted by the Ipswich Housing Action Group for their headquarters on the corner of Black Horse Lane and Chapman Lane.

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