Days Gone By - Mammoth bones found at Stoke High School and memories of other Ipswich events
PUBLISHED: 09:32 26 February 2019
This week Local history enthusiast David Kindred has collected memories of St Matthew's Street School, The Cobbold family and the floods in Princes Street.
It is back to school in today’s Days Gone By.
Rob Smy, who was a pupil at Stoke High School, Ormiston Academy, Maidenhall Approach, Ipswich, from 1991 to 1996, has written to ask if there were photographs on file of the excavation of mammoth bones found on the site when the school was being built in the mid 1970s.
I have found a picture in this newspaper’s files taken in May 1976.
The bones are believed to be 186,000 to 245,000 years old. It is thought the mammoth died after becoming stuck in the mud. The bones are presently on display in the school’s reception area.
I also feature photographs from some other events at the school from the past.
Readers have also responded to photographs published of the 1939 floods that caused huge damage to parts of Ipswich in the Princes Street area – and have also added names and memories to the photographs of the St Matthews Street area of Ipswich featured recently.
The floods on January 1939, which badly hit the low parts of Ipswich around Princes Street, featured in a recent Days Gone By.
One lady, who was born at the time of the flood eighty years ago, recalls how her father had to cycle to Bramford village via Sproughton as the bridge of the River Gipping at Bramford had been washed away.
M D Boreham, wrote: “My family was deeply affected by the floods. My mother, who was due to get married in September that year, four days after the outbreak of World War Two, worked at Mellonie and Goulder as a clark in their sub office at Stoke Bridge.
“During the afternoon of the flood my mother’s boss told her to go home as the water was rising.
“She was still living with her parents, where my grandfather was a baker at the off licence and bakery at the junction of Quadling Street and New Cardinal Street, close to where the Royal Mail sorting office is now.
“My mother could only reach part of the way home and was unable to enter the front door to the house or the shop as by now the water levels were quite a way up the premises.
“My grandparent, father and their lodger had gone upstairs. My mother went to stay with a friend.
“On the second day of the flood my mother went to Quadling Street and persuaded men at John Woods Stables, opposite her home, to let her ride a horse to her home and contact her parents.
“It was days before they could get downstairs. Most of the stock at the bakery was destroyed. Cleaning up was a heartbreaking task for the family.”
Margaret Sayer from Ipswich added: “I was born January 28, 1939, at High View Road, which was then in Bramford.
“The midwife lived in Bramford the other side of the river. There were no telephones available to my parents then, so my father had to cycle to Sproughton to cross the river to get the midwife.”
Jenna Wardley emailed in, she said: “My grandmother’s home was badly damaged in the 1939 flood. She was rescued by boat. Her maiden name was Kettle and she worked at William Pretty factory in Crown Street, Ipswich, at her first job when she was just 14.
“At the time of the flood she told me she had to walk home in torrential rain and water was quickly rising to her ankles.
“I recalled her saying she was stuck upstairs with her brother, who had a learning disability, she always spoke of men rowing boats delivering bottled water and bread to those who were stranded.
“The men who were rowing wouldn’t have got very far without my nan making some kind of cheeky comment.
“Nothing ever phased her and she made a joke about any situation, some not always appropriate.
“She mentioned that the men tried to rescue her from the house to seek refuge at the local asylum, which I believe was the old hospital.
“She refused time after time as she would rather sit in her own home. My nanna lost everything in the floods. She did not have a single thing or photo from her childhood, everything was destroyed.”
The St Matthews Street and Mount area of Ipswich also featured recently. The original St Matthew’s Street School was replaced when much of this part of Ipswich was redeveloped in the 1950s and 60s.
Reader, Dorothy Channing, from Bramford, wrote: “I was a pupil at the old St Matthew’s School, Ipswich, in the late 1940s.
“I lived at Brook House Nursing home, which stood where Defoe Road, Ipswich, is now. My mother was a live in nurse there, so I had a long walk to and from school every day.
“The school playground was in the graveyard of St Matthews Church and gym lessons were held on the Alderman Road recreation ground.
“We had to walk to Ranelagh Road School for our school lunch, which was always something awful.
“I recall we often had fatty lamb with beetroot and mash potatoes. If you did not eat all the meal you would get nine whacks with a slipper and had to write lines.
“School had open coal fires to keep us warm and we had to de-ice the school milk in winter by standing it by the fire.
“There was an abattoir in Lady Lane near the school and it was not unusual to see a bull running around by the school.
“I used to hide behind a grave stone when this happened. Two of the teachers I remember were Miss Colman and Mr Ward.”
Graham Day from Stowmarket added: “I read with interest your item on the St Matthews area of Ipswich.
“Going to school at Tower Ramparts and living in Old Stoke, there were often several different ways I could walk home after school.
“On one occasion, I remember seeing The Mount for the first time, with the house built on a different level to the road.
“It seemed strange, but after a bit of research I discovered that they had been built on the earthworks of the old town wall.
“Early in the 1960s the prospect of expanding the town with “overspill” population from London became a possibility.
“One of the projects was the new Civic Centre site and underground car park. The underground car park was, I believe, the deepest at that time.
“My route home could, with adjustment, take me past the site where I would look through the fence and watch and marvel at the construction work, which was going on with the almost seemingly bottomless depth of the hole, which was to become the car park, together with the huge piles, which were being driven noisily into the ground.
“When it was all completed I did feel a sense of pride in the efforts of my home town to modernise itself.
“After a while, the journey home took even longer, as sections of the inner ring road were being built, together with the Greyfriars development.
“I don’t recall getting into trouble from my parents as a result.”
Last but not least the Cobbold family featured recently and a reader has written asking for information about Brook House, which was demolished when the Defoe Road, Ipswich, area was developed around 1970.
Do you have any photos or information about the building that was a nursing home in its later years?
Nigel Crisp sent in an email, he said: “Following on from your Days Gone By on the Cobbold family.
“Ernest St George Cobbold was one of the six sons of John Chevallier Cobbold, he was well known in Woodbridge as a managing partner in the Woodbridge branch of the Bacon, Cobbold and Co’s bank.
“After living on the continent for some years he returned and took up residence at Brook House, Whitton.
“He died aged 54 on February 23, 1895 and is buried in Whitton Church in a brick grave near the entrance gate.
“Interestingly the funeral arrangements were carried out by Frederick Fish and Son of Suffolk House, Ipswich.
“Frederick Fish was also the owner of Brook House before the Cobbolds. If anyone has any information on Brook House I would be grateful.”