Magical milestone for brothers' business

THOUSANDS of vehicles every day use the junction of Grimwade Street and Fore Street in Ipswich.

David Kindred

THOUSANDS of vehicles every day use the junction of Grimwade Street and Fore Street in Ipswich.

Hundreds of students make their way through the traffic to the new university building nearby. Olive Barnard, of Holme Oaks Court, Ipswich, recalls a popular business which was just starting at this junction exactly a century ago.

She said: “It was 100 years ago, on October 31, 1908, that brothers Tom and Harry Barnard, aged 23 and 19, opened their corn chandler's business on the corner of Fore Street and Grimwade Street, which was then called Church Street.

Their first day's takings amounted to 10 shillings and sixpence halfpenny and their opening hours were 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 8am-11pm on Saturdays.

“Their earliest deliveries were by hand cart, followed by carrier bicycle, but hard work obviously paid, as after 12 months they acquired a pony and cart, enabling them to deliver to a wider area.

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“Their first motorised vehicle was a model T Ford lorry bought in 1925.

“In 1935 they purchased St John's Mill in Woodbridge Road, the machinery being very useful to them for grinding their own grain as they experimented to produce even better animal foodstuff.

“Those premises underwent complete modernisation in 1952 by which time all four of Harry's sons, Len, Richard, Ray and Geoff were working in the business, which had become a limited company, Barnard Bros (Ipswich) Ltd. in 1951.

“My husband, Dick, worked at the Fore Street shop and I remember the 1953 floods when the water in the shop reached counter level and a lot of the stock was ruined.

“Another shop was opened in 1968 in Bramford Road. Len ran the business there until he retired in 1983 and the shop was sold. Meanwhile, due to increased traffic in the area and parking difficulties the Fore Street shop was closed in 1973 and Dick joined Ray and Geoff at Woodbridge Road.

“Sadly Geoff died a few years later while still in his 40s. Over the years the firm saw many changes and in later years the focus moved more towards pet foods and garden products.

“The company was sold in 1994 when Dick and Ray retired, but the name still lives on and the same type of products is still sold, even though the business is under completely new ownership.

“Sadly my husband died last year. On the changes at the Waterfront, as many of the buildings were demolished, his comment was 'I've seen them go up and I've seen them come down'.

“He was proud of his family's involvement in a part of Ipswich life and right up to the end of his life he referred to 'nearly a hundred years'. That milestone has now been reached.”

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