When the Number 8 tram went down St Peter’s Street

Postcard of tramcar in st peter's street, Ipswich c 1920

Postcard of tramcar in st peter's street, Ipswich c 1920 - Credit: Archant

Looking back to early years of the 20th century, Lynne would like to point out this was before she was born

Star readers will, of course, be aware of this newspaper’s campaign to have Ipswich dubbed Oldest English Town.

Now, I am not claiming that my postcard is Ipswich’s oldest but it is pretty old, depicting as it does, a tram in St Peter’s Street, passing by the junction with Silent Street.

On the other side of the road stood the Ipswich Hippodrome. Opened in 1905, it was a variety theatre that hosted the country’s best music hall acts. The building was demolished in 1985.

This is one view of the town which is little changed since the photographer stood across the road to take his modern-day shot of the Ipswich Corporations Tramways omnibus carrying one brave soul on the open upper deck.

Another man appears to be walking into a lamppost (electric, I imagine).

I’m guessing the sign on the left that reads “all cars stop here” is a bus stop.

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The shop front behind the tram that reads H E Kersey could well be the optician we still have in Tacket Street... that is to say the name has been in continuous use though the owners may have changed.

The Wolsey pharmacy on the corner advertises cash prices and a dark room.

The postcard itself is one of the Valentine’s series from Valentine & Sons, established in 1851 by James Valentine, in Dundee. The firm was a pioneer in the postcard industry.

As for that wonderful tram, it is number 8, making it one of the earlier additions to the Ipswich fleet which first entered service in 1903 and the tramcar network finished in 1926.

At a guess, this picture dates to the late 1910s, early 1920s. The same card (available on eBay, inevitably) is ascribed various dates from pre 1915 to 1923.

The Ipswich Transport Museum has tram no 33, which, it says, was delivered to Ipswich in 1904. Looking splendid in its dark green and cream livery it has been lovingly restored.

If you can tell me more about the destiny of tramcar no 8, I would be delighted to hear from you.

By the way, I bought the card in the Lake District for £4.


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