Life on the Heath was hard but healty

FOXHALL Heath is probably best known now as home to the Ipswich Witches Speedway team and stock car racing.Until the stadium was built in the early 1950s there was little to disturb the wildlife and the families who lived in the houses at the base of the ater tower on the heath.

FOXHALL Heath is probably best known now as home to the Ipswich Witches Speedway team and stock car racing.

Until the stadium was built in the early 1950s there was little to disturb the wildlife and the families who lived in the houses at the base of the ater tower on the heath. They lived a remote country life.

Recently in Kindred Spirits Tony Adams, who now lives in Kesgrave, recalled his childhood walk home every day from St John's School in Cauldwell Hall Road to his family home in Rushmere.

Tony told how life was when Rushmere was a rural village without mains gas, water or electric power and recalled the well known and mark of the iron water tower and the houses which he saw every day on his way home. The tower was replaced in more recent years with the modern concrete one there today. The third bend at the Speedway meeting was often referred to as the Water Tower turn.


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Dorothy Gray of Waterford Road, Ipswich, has her own memories of Foxhall and Rushmere Heath. Dorothy said: “My sister and brother in-law, Flo and Stan Fisher, lived in one of the houses on the heath. Mr and Mrs Knights were the other tenants and my brother-in-law worked at the pumping station.

''I loved going there with my children. In the days before they built the speedway track was wild, unspoilt heath land. You could hear cuckoos, nightingales in the spring and summer and many other birds through the year.

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“The only way to get to their house was across the heath, we often cycled there. The nearest bus was at the Ipswich boundary on Woodbridge Road. At the bottom of the lane was a bungalow kept by Mr and Mrs Brett, who had a small shop.

“The children had to walk to Kesgrave School across the heath whatever the weather. The house had a bathroom; all cooking was done in a coal oven.

''It was a hard, but healthy life. My sister was a wonderful cook and she kept geese, chickens and guinea fowl, they also had fruit trees in the garden and plenty of rabbits until myxomatosis was introduced. It was very distressing to see the effect of this illness.”

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