Street life was a great teacher

LIFE around the Orford Street and Norwich Road area of Ipswich was featured in a recent Kindred Spirits when Peter Shaw, who now lives at Swilland, recalled his formative years living in the area between 1939 and 1959.

David Kindred

LIFE around the Orford Street and Norwich Road area of Ipswich was featured in a recent Kindred Spirits when Peter Shaw, who now lives at Swilland, recalled his formative years living in the area between 1939 and 1959.

There were still many small local shops operating in the area including Sabatella's fish and chip shop in Orford Street where queues would often stretch along the street waiting for “Sabbies” fine meals.

Also among Peter's memories was a small private school in Redan Street. Colin Lane, of Bramford Road, Ipswich, said: “This brought back lots of memories of my childhood.

“I recall being a pupil at the little private school at Redan Street, called Northgate House School, in 1949. I started there when I was five years old and I remember my teacher Miss Darleston very well.

“She was a very lovely lady and I respect her for what she taught me, discipline, good manners and respect.

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“I can remember the time I used to have bad nose bleeds and she would put a cold key down my back to stop it bleeding. I used to take my packed lunch all week except on a Friday when Miss Darleston took turns in taking one of us to Sabatella's fish and chip shop in Orford Street to pick up orders for our dinners.

“It was the best fish and chips in Ipswich at the time. Mr Sabatella was a little man with glasses. His son took over in later years and the shop moved to Norwich Road in the late 1960s.”

Philip Jacobi, of Wimborne, Dorset, wrote with his memories of the same area of Ipswich including the influence Mr Denny, the one armed radio engineer who operated from his workshop off Gymnasium Street, had on his life.

Philip said: “My father had a cycle and motorcycle business at 74/76 Norwich Road with repair workshops in South Street, which he started up in about 1930. Some 40 or more years later it was run by my older brother Francis.

“In the years not long after the Second World War the business included electrically charging the old two volt glass accumulators used in those days to power battery wireless sets.

“If a wireless failed to work it was not unusual for customers to bring their set to my father's shop. It was my job when I was about eight or nine years old to take the set to Gymnasium Street where Mr Denny, the wireless mechanic with his gloved artificial hand, carried out the necessary repair.

“His workshop was through a door at the back of a dark warehouse store and Mr Denny was to have an influence on me for the rest of my life.

“Once in the workshop it was for me an Aladdin's cave with dozens of radios on benches in various states of repair. Under Mr Denny's guidance I soon made my first crystal set followed by a one valve amplifier.

“My life's ambition was to work for Marconi and design and make radio valves. Sadly this was not to be. However, 60 plus years later amateur radio is still my hobby and I have that original crystal set although the 'cat's whisker' has gone missing along with valve and other components used in my first radio experiment so many years ago.

“Incidentally Mr Denny told me that he lost his hand as a result of a gun accident when the sporting rifle he was using blew up.”

- Were you a pupil at the tiny Northgate House School in Redan Street, Ipswich, or do you have any photographs showing what it was like there? Write to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star.

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