Readers share their memories of old Ipswich after recognising photos published in Kindred Spirits
From skating rinks to bomb blasts, David Kindred’s weekly photographic feature has prompted memories of old Ipswich to come flooding back to our readers.
“I recently featured a photograph of a skating rink at the junction Portman Road and Portman Walk (now Sir Alf Ramsey Way),” said David Kindred. “The building became home to J Harvey Ltd a clothing factory.”
And it prompted this letter.
Your article of Harvey’s in Portman Road brings back memories of working there in the early 1960s. There was a large room for the sewing machines with a very uneven floor. There was also a rodent population!
Friday afternoons was normally when everybody brought in sweets and passed them around.
I have included two pictures including one of the boss Mr Mac and some of the girls, who I remember as, Judy Anderson and Sandra Hurren.
When the Harvey’s closed, myself and about four of the other girls went to Churchman’s cigar and cigarette factory to work .
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Sheila Whiting (Nee Cannell)
David continued: “I featured the Priory Heath area of Ipswich in a recent Kindred Spirits.
“One of the photographs used was of a World War Two air raid when a bomb landed on houses at the junction of Nacton Road and Lindbergh Road, killing Mrs Kate Nunn and her eight children.
“The same bomb killed three others in adjoining houses. ARP man William Schulen (53), Fire watcher Alfred Southgate (48) and William Thomas (42). In an air raid shelter that day was six year old Ken Southgate who has written to Kindred Spirits with his memories of that awful day.”
As a result, one of Alfred’s sons contacted us.
I was the youngest son of Alfred Southgate who was killed when the bomb fell August 2, 1942. My mum and the seven of us children were in the bomb shelter.
I remember it quite clearly, not so much the noise, but I clearly remember the bright flashing lights and the sound of my mother and sisters screaming. I can still see my father laying in the doorway of the shelter, but at the age of six I had no idea what death was.
I was told much later by my mother that if my dad had not been in the doorway of the shelter, we could have all been killed by the blast, but he took all the force of the bomb blast on his back and that was what had killed him.
I can recall that I was lifted from the shelter by some soldiers, they were on a bus taking them back to their camp on the heath, which is now Ransomes Europark.
The theory behind why the bomb hit us was that the German planes would look for the flash from the trolly buses when the conductor had to unhook the the arm from one electric cable to another when turning a corner.
The night following the bombing we all slept on the floor of my Aunty’s house in Lindberg Road, Ipswich.
My father was one of the sons of Walter Southgate the Rag and Bone Merchants of Long Street, Ipswich.
I would love to hear further memories of that time and other information.
“Among those killed in the Nacton Road/Lindbergh Road bombing was William Schulen (53),” writes David. “Mr SchuIen was serving as an ARP man.”
He added: “After dark the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) came into effect, enforced by ARP men, also known as Air Raid Wardens. They toured the streets to check every building’s blackout.
“I have received a letter from Mr Schulen’s great-granddaughter.”
William Schulen was my great-grandfather. He worked for the council and his name is displayed on a plaque in the Town Hall, commemorating council workers who lost their lives during the Second World War. He died, leaving his wife, my great-grandmother Norah and their five children.
My grandfather, who was William’s oldest child and only son (and was also called William) was a prisoner of war in the Far East at the time, in the hands of the Japanese after the fall of Singapore. He did not learn of his father’s death until after his release at the end of the war.
Thankfully my grandfather returned safely home and died at the age of 92 in 2008.
I want to express mine and my family’s gratitude for your article and the mention of my great-grandfather, it certainly prompted a lot of nostalgic discussion.
I was most interested in your aerial photo published on January 6.
I was brought up in Rydal Walk, a short road of bungalows backing onto the industrial site at the north of the school playing field.
In my day as a small boy, during WW2, this area was heath land with just two old trams as the base of the auxiliary fire service.
I went to the Priory Heath Infants and Primary School. The later was blest with a wonderful teacher Miss Watson who got several boys like me through the eleven-plus exam and thus to the Northgate Grammar School.
At weekends we boys would all congregate on the large playing field which belonged to the Eastern Senior Mixed Secondary School and play football. Sometimes we would be chased off by PC Roper the local ‘bobby’.
The other playing field (or recreation field) was the home of the Eastern Old Boys’ football Club.
At the Queens Way end of the recreation field was the New Estate Red Triangle Club, which was open to men and boys - mainly young men, where the four snooker tables and bar serving coffee and tea. It did a great service keeping lads off the streets. It disappeared in the 1960s.
Despite the war we children had an excellent upbringing, good manners and respect for others, for which I am very grateful.
My mother had a bicycle which had a little seat over the back wheel
which she used to cart me around. I never knew anything about the war
going on around us. One day she was cycling along Severn Road, Ipswich, with me in the back seat, when a doodlebug overflying shut its engine down.
Mother threw the cycle down and grabbed me. She ran into a house and
everybody laid down on the floor. I thought it was a new game!