Popping round to the corner shop

BOOT makers, butchers and sweet shops full of jars of goodies were among the shops serving most homes until supermarket shopping took over as the 1960s and '70s advanced.

BOOT makers, butchers and sweet shops full of jars of goodies were among the shops serving most homes until supermarket shopping took over as the 1960s and '70s advanced.

Rod Cross, who grew up in the Foxhall Road area of Ipswich during the 1950s, told us recently in Kindred Spirits how his shops were the hub of the community, with characters behind the counters for many decades.

Many children earned their pocket money with delivery jobs for the shops, cycling round the neighbourhood taking meat, loaves of bread and groceries to homes.

John Dunnett, now of Landport, Portsmouth, has shared his memories of life around Foxhall Road when the community supported shops, including several fish and chip shops and pubs.

John said: “I was born at 145 Foxhall Road in January 1943.

I had my first job at Robinson's newsagent in Foxhall Road.

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I was paid six shillings and sixpence a week, until I was offered a delivery job by Wells the Butcher's in Fore Street at 25 shillings.

There was no contest! “Across the road from my home there was a large house at the corner of Alan Road, which billeted Land Army girls during the Second World War and later returned to being an orphanage.

“On the other corner of Alan Road and Foxhall Road there was a sweet shop.

There was another opposite.

When I was a child we would go into an empty sweet shop and the owner would often not be around, but we would never think of shoplifting.

“There were two churches in the area, a Methodist in Alan Road and a Church of England in Newton Road.

“I belonged to the Newton Road Scout group and my sister belonged to the Methodist Church and Girls Church Brigade.

“Pubs in the area - The Blooming Fuchsia, The Royal Oak, The Heathlands and The Railway Hotel - were always busy. The Blooming Fuchsia is where I had many a pint and a game of darts when I was on leave from the Royal Navy.

“On the corner of Faraday Road there was a greengrocer's shop and on the corner of Ruskin Road was a post office.,Across the road was a garage, chemist and the barber's.

“I can remember three fish and chip shops within walking distance, Wellesley Road, Foxhall Road near the Railway Hotel and in Rosehill Road.

“We enjoyed two very good parks - Alexandra and Holywells. The latter was the better for playing cowboys due to all the trees and thick undergrowth.

“The schools were Clifford Road Primary School, which I went to - Mrs Gage was then the headmistress - and Rose Hill Primary School in Derby Road.

“I went on to Copleston Road Secondary School where the headmaster was Mr Scott, who was an awesome figure in his cape and gown.

He was hard, but fair.

“Another master in my time at Copleston was Mr Stanley Stowe, who taught science and maths and maintained order with a folded piece of two-inch conveyor belt.

“When I heard recently about the fire at Copleston it really upset me as I had some very happy times there.”

• I RECENTLY featured memories of films shot on location in our area. Evening Star sports writer Elvin King tells me about another cinema production filmed at Pin Mill.

Ha'penny Breeze was a 1950 drama where a soldier comes back to his home village and starts a small boating company. Elvin was an extra in the production as a small child.

Tom Scrivener of Heron Road, Ipswich, said: “References to local filming brought back memories of my four and a half years spent at RAF Martlesham, from 1950 to 1955.

“One day I helped to push an old Sea Otter aircraft out of the hangar and reset the wings. The corporal fitter got the engine started and did a test flight. In my time at Martlesham it was the only occasion this aircraft came out of the hangar.

“Two civilians arrived, got in and started it up and away they went. It returned after about one and a half hours. Flt Sgt Ratcliffe told us it had been taking part in the film The Sea Shall Not Have Them.”