The days of home deliveries

HOME delivery of groceries today often means a large van from one of the big supermarkets bringing the weekly shop, which has been ordered on line by computer.

HOME delivery of groceries today often means a large van from one of the big supermarkets bringing the weekly shop, which has been ordered on line by computer.

The milkman or baker walking up the garden path daily was, until relatively recently, a common site. Some still know their milkman and baker personally, but the trade has changed dramatically as the supermarket trade supplies many of the customers once cared for by smaller businesses.

I recently featured a photograph of a delivery van from Joseph Hunt's bakery and dairy in Spring Road, Ipswich, asking if readers could recall the days when they called at hundreds of local homes.

Jack Jay of Arundel Way, Ipswich, said: “Mill Farm Dairy was owned by my grandfather J R Jay and was based at Mill Farm, Foxhall Road, on the corner of Heath Lane. After he died in 1930 the business was split into two rounds. The first was then taken over and run by my uncle, Harry Jay, and was based at his home, Eastleigh, Foxhall Road, later his son Robert Jay took over.

“The other round was bought and run by my uncle, Walter Browne, he continued to run it from 605 Foxhall Road, which was formerly Mill Farm. Both these rounds were later sold to Seaman's Dairies. Other dairies operating were Jospeh Hunt's, Spring Road, Alnesbourne, Felixstowe Road, Akenham Hall Dairies, Orford Street, W Mann and Sons, Dover Road and the Co-op Dairies. Bakeries I recall include Joseph Hunt's. Their vehicles were also based at Spring Road, and my friend Roy Ledgerwood was at one time responsible for the maintenance of their fleet of vehicles.

“I remember, as a child, going for my mother to the Co-op on Foxhall Road and buying tokens, which were stamped out aluminium discs, which cost the equivalent of either a small or large loaf of bread and the customers passed these to the rounds man instead of loading him with a lot of cash”.

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“Kenny's was on the corner of Spring Road and Cowper Street. Brown's Bakeries was on Foxhall Road near Camden Road. They used small Trojan vans, which I think might have been powered by two stroke engines - they certainly sounded quite different to any other vehicle of that time”.

“Len Rowe farmed in the area where Bixley Road and Penshurst Road now stand. His son Dick later became the baker at Brown's. There was a bakery on the corner of Upper Cavendish Street and York Road, I cannot remember who owned it. In later years the premises became the property of C E Matthews and Company.

“Madden's bakery was on Felixstowe Road near Derby Road. The property was later owned by the Concord Film Council, but has been demolished to make way for the Co-op and Aldi superstores. They used to sell excellent potted meat in oval glass dishes. It cost I believe 6d per dish, but only 4d if you returned an empty glass dish! Gradually firms such as Took's, Newstead's and Matthes squeezed some of the smaller people out of business.”


What memories do you of home deliveries? Write to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star.

I recently published a photograph of Harold Spall on his Rex Acme motor cycle asking if anybody could recall Hammond's motor cycle shop in St Nicholas Street, Ipswich, where the bike was purchased for £8 over eighty years ago.

Neville Heath of Bromeswell Road, Ipswich, sent me a couple of advertisements from the early years of local motor cycling. Neville said “The advertisement for Hammonds's shop is unfortunately undated, but depicting a motor cycle that by the design must be about 1910 or thereabouts. Presumably it is one of their own makes, a Gainsborough. Another advertisement is for Francis Barnett's sold by the Central Motor-Cycle Depot, 18a Norwich Road, Ipswich. This can be dated by the design of the frame, which is made up of various bolted together sections. This design was referred to as being “built like a bridge” and was introduced in 1924. The advertisement claims that you could go five miles for one old penny.”

Childhood for most of us was spent surrounded by a happy family with a nice comfortable home with a room of our own or one shared with brothers and sisters. For some children life was spent in children's homes. Life for some there was very harsh with children who had become orphaned or in some cases placed their by single parents who could not cope with them. A reader of Kindred Spirits, a former inmate at the home from 1936 until 1950, who does not wish to be named, sent me a photograph of an outing from the St John's Children's home in Britannia Road, Ipswich to Frinton in 1948. He said “The photograph shows that not every day at the home was grim and harsh. At the back of the group are Mr Scoles, Mr Andrews, Mr Gowling and Mr Churchyard. All of the boys featured would have been pupils at Copleston Road School between 1946 and 1950.

The records of the home are now at the Suffolk Record Office, they date from 1883 to 1950 when the home closed. There are few photographs of life there. They would bring the records to life.”

Were you at the home or do you have any photographs of life there? Write with your memories to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star.


A book about the history of St John's home has been produced by Linda Sexton of 24 Crofton Road, Ipswich. The book is available from Linda at £5 plus £1 for postage.

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