It's second time around for some

I have noticed more and more signs of getting old in recent years. Not just the creaking bones, but the fact that I am now seeing changes to the town happen twice!Buildings I watched going up in the 1960s are coming down and are being replaced again.

I have noticed more and more signs of getting old in recent years. Not just the creaking bones, but the fact that I am now seeing changes to the town happen twice!

Buildings I watched going up in the 1960s are coming down and are being replaced again.

The Civic Centre and Crown Court site was built in the mid 1960s as the whole area around St Matthews Street was redeveloped. Now the council offices have moved to Grafton House in Russell Road. The new Crown Court building is nearby. Large parts of St Matthew's Street that were redeveloped at the same time have been partly demolished and the Greyfriars development bears little resemblance to the original shopping complex.

I recently featured memories of the Ipswich company E R and F Turners (later Bull Motors), which was originally where Cardinal Park is today. The company moved to Foxhall Road in stages from 1918. It was the end of the 1930s before they completed the move. Gwenda Gibson witnessed the company's new works being built and then in recent times being demolished to make way for new homes on the site.

Gwenda, of Parliament Road, Ipswich, said: “Although I did not work there their presence was a large part of my childhood. I was born in the late 1920's at the shop on the corner of Henslow Road owned by my parents. Where the offices of Bull Motors were built stood a pair of grey stone cottages. I watched these two cottages being pulled down and the start of the Bull Motors works and offices being built. Whilst doing so my mother used to make jugs of tea, which she sold to the workers and builders for two pence a jug, as they had no canteen then.

“Where the Celestion works stood was a field we called 'The Brickie' where we used to catch tadpoles and newts from the pond. In the autumn we used to gather baskets of blackberries. Living where I do now, I have watched Bull Motors and Celestion being pulled down, so I watched them go up, and have watched them come down! How amazed my parents would have been.”

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Jack Jay of Arundel Way, Ipswich, recalls his time working for the company and the busy social club they ran for their staff. Jack played drums in a trio. He transported his drum kit on a trailer towed by his bicycle! Jack said: “When I started my schooling in 1926, I lived with my parents in Dover Road, and as I went to Rosehill Road School I walked past the Foxhall Road site four times every day - school meals and school buses were not even a figment of the imagination in those days. The E R & F Turners site was then just part of a very large and somewhat neglected field, with the foundry well away from Foxhall Road.

“I left the Northgate School in 1937 and was accepted as an apprentice by E R & F Turners, starting at the College Street works on the generous wage of seven shillings and six pence (37p) per week. The General Manager was Mr Chamberlain, whose office was right next to Wolsey's Gate. Also in management were brothers Percy and Alan Leggett.

“You could not be late for work then, because at two minutes after start time, “Old Jock” closed the gate and you couldn't get in, and there were always three or four men hanging around the gate in hope of a vacancy arising!

“I worked then in the Inspection Department under the beady eye of “Ollie” Parker. Later we all moved up to the new workshops in Foxhall Road and one of our first jobs there was to dismantle cleanout and reassemble lots of electric motors, which had been engulfed in floods at the Greyfriars works.

“At the sports ground and pavilion at Roundwood Road there was dancing to the amateur trio of Reg Andrews (piano), Vic Rudd (saxophone) and me, Jack Jay (drums). I used to haul a full kit of drums about in a trailer fixed to the back of my cycle!”

If you enjoy memories of the 1950s and 60s there is a new book on sale by me featuring hundreds of photographs of Ipswich in that period. The hardback book is published jointly by the Evening Star and At Heart Publishing and is on sale at the Star's offices in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Stowmarket for £14.99. For more information click the link at the bottom of this page.

Memories of the Sproughton Road sugar beet factory featured recently in 'Kindred Spirits' have brought a letter from America.

Peggy Tate (nee Clathorpe) of Cumming, Georgia USA said: “I am a regular reader of 'Kindred Spirits' it keeps me in touch with the town I grew up in before I moved to the USA in 1960.

“I was raised with a sister and two brothers on Fuschia Lane and we went to Clifford Road Primary and Northgate School for Girls. My dad, Alfred Calthorpe, worked for most of his life at the sugar beet factory on Sproughton Road. I visited it several times during my childhood. They had a sports day for children each year and my dad would take us around the factory before we went home.” It always had a special sweet smell. During the campaign - the autumn and winter - the men worked in shifts so the machinery could run 24 hours a day.

“The shift work always caused a disruption in our daily routine. The worst shift was 10pm-6am because that meant we had to be very quiet during the day so dad could sleep. He didn't have to join the army during WWII because his work was considered essential to the country, but he had to take his turn at fire-watching duties at the factory during the summer.”

“The summer was when the factory machinery was cleaned and everything made ready for the campaign. Dad rode a bicycle to work and back every day.

“I collect your columns so I can make a scrapbook about my home town for my granddaughter.

“You have mentioned many places I have a connection with. Martlesham Heath Aerodrome, for example, is a place of fond memories. My best pal and I were members of the Ipswich Air Rangers - a branch of the Scout movement - and we used to spend weekends at Martlesham at the gliding school. In return for making tea and sandwiches for the Air Cadets and instructors we were given a flight in a glider!”

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