Nora's Memories

VILLAGES around Ipswich were, a couple of generations ago, little independent communities. They had a doctor and district nurse. The baker and milkman called regularly.

VILLAGES around Ipswich were, a couple of generations ago, little independent communities.

They had a doctor and district nurse. The baker and milkman called regularly.

A special treat for children, who all walked to school, was an ice cream brought from a dairy. Once a week a trip would be made to Ipswich by bus to buy items not available at the local shops.

Eighty six-year-old Nora Atkins (nee Wilding) of Seaton Road, Ipswich, lived in Kesgrave and has recalled some of her childhood memories from around 1930.


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Including, Nora says, a flying visit to the village by aviator Amy Johnson who achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

Nora said: “My early school days were spent at Rushmere School. I lived in Cambridge Road, Kesgrave and I walked to school along the main road.

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I took a footpath just past Bent Lane, which led to Playford Road.

Another path from Playford Road came out opposite Rushmere Church by some cottages, which are still there today. From there we made our way to Rushmere Post Office and into Humber Doucy Lane where the school was then.

I loved Empire Day at school because we were allowed to play sports and we were also given an orange and bottle of orange or lemon to drink.

Some of the teachers I can remember were Miss Salter, Miss Garnham, Miss Nunn and Miss Works. The school dentist used to come to the village hall, which was then a wooden hut next to the school.

“A couple of moments of local history I recall from my childhood include the day Amy Johnson landed her plane on a meadow near Rushmere School.

Also the day we walked to the Golden Key at the corner of Cauldwell Hall Road and Woodbridge Road, to wave flags during the visit of the Prince of Wales, who came to open Ipswich Airport in June 1930.

“As I lived in Kesgrave, when I was 11-years-old I went to Kesgrave Area School. I started the day it opened; I was in Mrs Freeman's class. Captain Harrison was the headmaster. We had canteen dinners and Mrs Brownlee was the head cook and Mr Brownlee was caretaker.

“My childhood memories of Kesgrave include a general store at the top of Cambridge Road kept by the Poole family. On the opposite corner was Miss Biddy Roberts who kept boarding kennels for dogs.

On the main road near the drive to a fruit farm, which in those days was run by Mr Dickerson, was a lady who made delicious cakes. On Saturday mornings Tom Masterson used to bring them round on a barrow. They soon sold out. They were a real treat for Sunday tea in those days.

“Dr Crawford was our doctor and the district nurse was Jean Rackham who lodged with Mr and Mrs Peck in Cambridge Road.

“The newspapers were delivered by Mr Holden from Lattice Barn. His trade bike was always absolutely loaded. The baker came on a Saturday night with a van from Woodbridge.

He also brought with him a churn of ice cream. If I had been on good behaviour I was allowed to buy one. Sometimes I was quite late going to bed because I had stayed up to have an ice cream, which I so looked forward to. There were no sweets and ice creams every day of the week like children have today.

“My parents worked hard and I had to help. When I got home from school I would often find a note; “Pick up the potatoes I dug up this morning, weed the front garden, gather the sweet peas and put in a bucket of water. Clean the chickens nest boxes out and put some clean straw in.

Gather the raspberries and put in the container on the shelf. Don't touch the greengages on the tree because I have counted them.” “After tea several of us would enjoy a game of rounders and then to bed.

“On a Fridays I went with my mother to Ipswich to do the weekly shopping. We caught the 'Blue Bird' bus at the top of the road. We went to Sainsbury's, a lovely shop then near Croydons in Tavern Street.

It was always very interesting watching the assistants with the butter, patting it into the required amount. The shop had a lovely patterned marble floor, which was always so clean; most of our groceries were bought there.”

“I wish I had kept the receipt”. How many times have you heard that said or mumbled it to yourself when you want to return an item to the dealer?

I recently featured motor-cycling memories in Kindred Sprits with photographs of riders on bikes from the 1920s and 30s. Thanks to a reader, not only are we now able to put a name to the rider featured, but the original receipt has been kept for 81 years!

The rider featured in the photograph by Ipswich photographers The Titshall Brothers was Mr Harold Spall of 111 Tower Ramparts, Ipswich, on his Rex Acme, which he purchased from C E Hammond of St Nicholas Street, Ipswich.

Harold traded in a Douglas for £8 and his final balance was a little over £43.

The receipt was sent to me by a member of Harold's family who wishes to remain anonymous. Do you remember Hammond's shop in St Nicholas Street, Ipswich?

Write to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star.

I recently published a photograph of the sailing ship 'Melbourne' at Ipswich Dock. The photograph was sent to me by Mrs Millbourne of Thanet Road, Ipswich, who was curious about the history of the ship. The photograph was among her parents possessions. C Keeble of Woodlands, Chelmondiston, tells me the ship came to a tragic end not long after the photograph was taken. He said “The ship was in Ipswich in 1931. She arrived in Europe after a passage of 109 days, having sailed from Adelaide. This would have been her last visit to Ipswich, as the following year she was run down near Fastnet, with the loss of the vessel and 11 crew including the master.

“A sad end after a long passage from South Australia.”

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