The Flying Fish of Norwich Road is no more
PUBLISHED: 20:01 07 July 2019 | UPDATED: 20:01 07 July 2019
THE IPSWICH SOCIETY ARCHIVE COLLECTION
Historians are rueing the loss of a much-admired roof ornament which has adorned a building in Ipswich for more than a century after it was accidentally damaged.
The Flying Fish, which sat at the front of a roof in Norwich Road, has looked over the road for over 100 years and can be seen in photographs taken as far back as 1912.
Originally on top of the W.Rush West End Fish, Game and Poultry market, the building is now the Maharani Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant.
The missing tile - called a finial - was spotted by eagle-eyes members of The Ipswich Society.
According to their chairman, John Norman, the tile was accidentally damaged while the roof was being repaired.
Mr Norman said: "William Rush's fish and game market was a feature of Norwich Road.
"You can see from pictures that he used to proudly display his fish outside his shop and the finial was part of that.
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"We don't know wether it was requested or commissioned but we do know it was part of the fish and game market when it was built about the turn of the 19th century."
The shop was also an ice importer at this time, a vital service for the people of Ipswich at a time when very few people had refrigerators.
Mr Norman added: "There are quite a few finials across Ipswich - you can see dragons on some properties and there are stylised bulls in Henley Road and Woodbridge Road East."
It is believed the terracotta tile cannot be fixed, but the society have spoken to restaurant owner Manik Miah and are advising him on finding a potential replacement.
The contractors carrying out the roofing are also trying to find a replica fish to sit at the front of the gabled roof.
Mr Norman said: "We do believe it will be possible to replace this but it may not be cheap.
"The number of manufacturers of these kids of tiles had decreased over the years but we think it is an important feature of the building.
"The Ipswich Society are working with local planning authorities to get buildings like the fish and game market to be designated 'locally listed' properties.
"These would not be listed buildings as judged by Historic England but we think these are the buildings that give the town a bit of character and need protecting."