Star lane

STAR Lane, Ipswich, is a narrow lane with little traffic. Some of the houses nearby have gardens where you can sit in the shadow of St Mary at the Quay Church and hear the choir sing on a Sunday morning, or stroll over to the Sea Horse pub for a quiet pint.

STAR Lane, Ipswich, is a narrow lane with little traffic.

Some of the houses nearby have gardens where you can sit in the shadow of St Mary at the Quay Church and hear the choir sing on a Sunday morning, or stroll over to the Sea Horse pub for a quiet pint. This is not the Star Lane of today, but this was how it was a couple of generations ago.

Memories of the area around St Mary at the Quay Church were featured in Kindred Spirits recently and a prominent family in the area, the Sneezums, were recalled by readers. They lived in a large house next to the church and ran several businesses in the town.

Former Ipswich man Frank Tanners of Rossdale, Tunbridge Wells, has told me more about life around Star Lane as it was.

Frank said: “I was born in 1926 in Bolton Lane, Ipswich and lived there, until I married and left for Orford. I left Orford in 1956 and have remained an exile from Suffolk. I am kept in touch with Suffolk and particularly Ipswich by the Star's website.

“Kindred Spirits has always demanded reading for the memories it awakens. The Sneezums lived at the corner of Star Lane and Bank Street. They were very generous to St Mary at the Quay church and gave their enclosed lawn, on the opposite site of the road from their house, for wedding receptions, etc. My grandparents lived in Foundation Street in the '20s and '30s, next door to Rev J W Blanch who baptized me and later prepared me for confirmation at the nearby St Peter's. My parents and several of my aunts and uncles were married at St Mary's and were photographed on the Sneezum's lawns.

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“Sneezum's had a shop at the junction of Lower Orwell Street and Fore Street, which was also a pawnbroker, I bought my first tennis racket, hockey stick, camera, binoculars, etcetera from there. Sneezums also had a shop on Norwich Road where a group of us would congregate after school at Northgate to buy balsa wood and look wistfully at the aeroplane kits. Even if we bought nothing we were always welcomed.

“For the families of the not-so-well-off in the 1930s there was a Sunday School outing. You had to attend Sunday school for a minimum number of weeks to qualify for the outing. Around 1938 I joined the Bethesda Sunday School and later went on an outing to Flatford. After the outing we skipped Sunday School, but still met and went over to Stoke to watch Ipswich Greyhounds, at the time I believe they were effectively the Suffolk cricket team on the YMCA ground. We also loved to watch the steam trains at Belstead bank.”

I recently featured memories of St Johns School, Ipswich, when it was in Cauldwell Road, asking for memories of life there.

Diana Barrett (nee Nunn) of Shadwell, Thetford, has sent this photograph of children there. Diana said: “Both my elder brothers and myself attended school there. I was one of the last to join shortly before the school moved to Victory Road. I remember a large classroom with open fires and the two lower classes being taught at the other end of the room. I recall what seemed to me at the time a huge desk, which I believe was Miss Abbot's. I also have vague memories of the school motto on the wall.

“The toilets were a dash across the playground, perishing cold in winter, hence many little 'accidents' and a supply of dry knickers in the cupboard! School dinners were served in the church hall across the road; I am not sure where they were cooked.

“I remember being very relieved when we moved to the lovely new school.”

The photograph was taken in the playground behind the old school, shortly before we moved to the new building.”

Were you a pupil at St John's in Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich?

Bakers shops have featured several times in Kindred Spirits recently and Gillian Purnell of Dunlin Road. Ipswich, has fond memories of the smell of freshly baked bread from working at one of the shops featured.

Gillian said: “Kindred Spirits brought back memories to me of my time as the shop girl at Bishop Bakery, Orchard Street, at the age of 16. In February 1954 I answered an advert in the Evening Star for a shop girl at the bakery. I got the job and as I walked into the bakery for the first time I was met with the aroma of freshly baked bread as it was being drawn out from the coal fired ovens.

“The two delivery vans were being stocked up for the day; they covered the local and rural areas. Whistling and light hearted chatter was going on, as the wicker baskets of warm bread and fresh cakes were being carried to the vans.

“I remember dressing the windows with the morning goods, cream and jam donuts, cream split, Chelsea buns, raspberry jam sponge triangles, rusks and savouries together with fancy cakes. Sliced bread at Bishops started while I worked there, I can recall viewing the machine with fascination. The atmosphere was a happy one - many customers lived locally in the Orchard Street area. Young men working nearby would call in for their morning lunches.

“In November 1954, flour was no longer subsidised and the business could no longer afford to run, It was a sad day when Stanley Last and Clifford Abbott was sweeping up the bakery for the last time after working there for decades from their early boyhood on leaving school - Miss Wright and Miss Bishop found me another job as a shop assistant in Thompson's Cake shop, Tavern Street, which was opposite what is now Superdrug.”

If you would like your memories to feature in Kindred Spirits write to Dave Kindred, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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