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Days Gone By - Photographs of Felixstowe and memories of Ipswich Sea Cadets

PUBLISHED: 11:30 29 January 2019

Felixstowe seafront in July 1963. These children, in their 1960s swimwear, would not have had as many ships to watch as there are today Picture: IVAN SMITH

Felixstowe seafront in July 1963. These children, in their 1960s swimwear, would not have had as many ships to watch as there are today Picture: IVAN SMITH

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Photographer David Kindred has put together a stunning collection of pictures of Felixstowe seafront from more than 50 years ago.

A 1950s photograph of amusements on the seafront at Felixstowe. St Edmunds Road is across the foreground. Picture DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVEA 1950s photograph of amusements on the seafront at Felixstowe. St Edmunds Road is across the foreground. Picture DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

At this time of the year we look forward to day trips to the coast to enjoy the sunshine.

In today’s Days Gone By I feature photographs of the Felixstowe seafront from over 50 years ago, steam powered locomotives and the two stations at Felixstowe.

Generations made the trip from Ipswich to Felixstowe by train in a time when few had a family car.

Families would board the train at Ipswich, Westerfield or Derby Road stations and ride to Felixstowe Town, or often wait while the locomotive would pull them on to Beach Station. After a day on the beach or visiting the amusements on the seafront, it was time for a bag of chips from the shop in Beach Station Road and then board for the return journey.

A steam locomotive pulling a train under the Garrison Road bridge at Felixstowe in the 1950s. Picture from Russell Whipps collection.
A steam locomotive pulling a train under the Garrison Road bridge at Felixstowe in the 1950s. Picture from Russell Whipps collection.

Also a reader from Germany has written trying to trace a photograph of a gunboat used by the Ipswich Sea Cadets on the River Orwell.

Derrick Palmer, from Verden, wrote: “Sometime in 1949 I pestered my parents to allow me to join the Ipswich Sea Cadets, I was proud to be enrolled into the TS Orwell Ships Company, at the time it was on Yarmouth Road.

“I received a complete issue of a Royal Navy uniform including a TS Orwell cap tally.

“I quickly had to learn the traditional RN uniform attire, such as seven bell-bottom creases plus the seven folds in the black silk, also tying the cap tally knot, that was tricky.

Beach Station had a passenger daily passenger service until November 1959. The service ran during the summer until the end of the season in 1967. The station was demolished in April 2004. Picture: JOHN KERRBeach Station had a passenger daily passenger service until November 1959. The service ran during the summer until the end of the season in 1967. The station was demolished in April 2004. Picture: JOHN KERR

“TS Orwell was a wonderful place to be on Wednesday evenings and Sunday Mornings.

“For the evening parades we received lectures on seamanship, learning the art of tying reef knots, splicing ropes, watching slide shows of our countries modern Royal Navy.

“The Sunday parades were special, after inspection and receiving the latest maritime news, the whole ships company would form up ready to march through the town.

“Leading the parade was the ships band of drums and bugles, next in line was the ships guard with rifles with fixed bayonets, with the remaining ships company towing a World War One naval gun.

Masons photo booth in the foreground was a feature of the seafront for decades. Seaside photographers offered a service on the seafront taking pictures of visitors walking along the promenade in a time when few families had a camera. 
Picture: IVAN SMITHMasons photo booth in the foreground was a feature of the seafront for decades. Seaside photographers offered a service on the seafront taking pictures of visitors walking along the promenade in a time when few families had a camera. Picture: IVAN SMITH

“The summer months was an exciting time, each week a group of about a dozen would assemble on Friday evenings at Pin Mill.

“This was the time when we had the opportunity to spend the weekend on board a former Royal Navy World War Two Gun Boat; she was permanently anchored mid-steam on the River Orwell.

“Here we truly felt we were in the Navy. Each of us would be detailed to carry out various duties for the weekend, we had to cook meals, and the boat often needed a lick of paint, but the exciting period was night time.

“With commercial shipping travelling to and from the port it required lookouts to be on duty throughout the night, but the best time of all was Saturday afternoon, it was then that we were allowed to have a swim in the river.

Boys enjoying the yacht pond at Felixstowe in July 1963. In recent years this area of Felixstowe has been revamped with an events area and car park.  Picture: IVAN SMITHBoys enjoying the yacht pond at Felixstowe in July 1963. In recent years this area of Felixstowe has been revamped with an events area and car park. Picture: IVAN SMITH

“The Commanding Officer at that time was Captain Cousins, I recall him being a quietly spoken man, but his discipline was administered in a much stronger tone. I am hoping that someone will have a photograph of our wonderful gun boat.”

If you can help with a photograph of gun boat, or have memories to share, send an e-mail here.

Barry Dye, from Ipswich, was pleased to see pictures of
First Floor Club in a previous article.

He said: “Wow! What great photographs of the First Floor Club! It was virtually my life from soon after Ken bought it in 1966 until it was sold.

“I had the main band there for many years, The Sonics.

Radio One DJ Kenny Everett was at the First Floor Club in June 1969. Picture: Ian McGrath.Radio One DJ Kenny Everett was at the First Floor Club in June 1969. Picture: Ian McGrath.

“We backed loads of the weekly cabaret acts and most of the ‘Stars’ including Bob Monkhouse, Roy Castle, Paul Daniels, Warren Mitchell and many others.

“We also ‘supported’ many of the acts like the Barron Knights, who I first worked with in 1962 – before they became famous – and Kenny Ball Jazzmen. “I played drums with them on the final number in their act so that their drummer Ronnie Bowden could go out front and sing with the front line!

“I think the song was King of the Swingers.

“I met my wife Cindy there in 1971 and she won the dance competition you featured, dancing non-stop for 25 hours.

A beach hut, a popular facility for day visitors to Felixstowe. This photograph was taken in the 1930s. Picture: CHARLIE GIRLING 
A beach hut, a popular facility for day visitors to Felixstowe. This photograph was taken in the 1930s. Picture: CHARLIE GIRLING

“I booked lots of the cabaret acts including Paul Daniels, Roy Castle, Barron Knights, Kenny Ball, Joe Brown, Sweet Sensation, and many of stars from the television show The Comedians.

“I also booked many of the famous ‘Stag’ and ‘Hen’ nights at the club. The first hen night caused lots of complaints in the town.

“Lots of very happy memories of a place I virtually ‘lived’ at for many years.

“It was also the‘ home’ to the famous Olive Leaf Heavies cabaret nights when we organised shows to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis charity.

Children enjoying a Punch and Judy show at Felixstowe in July 1968. Are you in the picture? Picture: PETER FOX 
Children enjoying a Punch and Judy show at Felixstowe in July 1968. Are you in the picture? Picture: PETER FOX

“I got to know Alex Harvey and the Hair Band when they brought the show Hair to the club. I booked Alex to bring the Hair band to Copdock one night for the Olive Leaf Heavies!

“It was a Sunday night, and they also did a lunch time slot for me at the Chev club on the day in Chevallier Street.

“I still have the very primitive contract I used at the time, and the total fee was £235!”

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