When you could buy a pig in town

TUESDAY used to be market day in Ipswich. Not like the produce stalls we now see several days a week on the Cornhill, but a livestock market on sites around Princes Street.

David Kindred

TUESDAY used to be market day in Ipswich. Not like the produce stalls we now see several days a week on the Cornhill, but a livestock market on sites around Princes Street.

Cattle, sheep and pigs were brought into the town centre until the 1970s for sale by auction.

The many public houses around the area were kept busy as farmers and their staff enjoyed a pint or two, while they waited for their stock to be sold.

The list of public houses and inns in Princes Street included The Rising Sun, Three Swans Inn, The Market Hotel, The Marsh Tavern, The Ipswich and Suffolk, The Princes Arms, The Sickle, The Anchor Hotel and The British Lion.

All of the public houses have gone. The nearby streets also included many public houses.

Most Read

The market was on sites both sides of Princes Street. The largest site was between Portman Road and Princes Street. Trading had taken place on this site since 1856. The marsh land there was raised to drain the site and the part of town where the market moved from is still known as The Old Cattle Market.

With so many animals moving about the town there were often those which escaped. Residents of the houses off Princes Street, like James Street, Edgar Street and Priory Street, often found a stray animal walking their streets.

This was the area where auctioneers Spurling and Hempson traded until the site and the streets were cleared for redevelopment in the mid-1960s. Robert Bond and Sons traded from the site between Princes Street and Portman Road, now used as a car park.

Russell Beard, of Ipswich, recalls an incident, from his childhood in the early 1940s, when a bull being transported to market escaped in Henley Road.

Russell said: “We were going through the arboretum at Christchurch Park on our way to my grandmother's home in Cecil Road. I was on my tricycle and my brother Peter was in a pram.

“What my poor mother did not know was an angry bull was running loose in the arboretum! It had escaped from a cattle truck involved in an accident in Henley Road.

“The park keeper's wife quickly

ushered us out of the gate opposite Ipswich School. My mother fainted when she saw the bull as we went down Henley Road.

“Women came from the big house opposite and took us in. I think they were nurses as I can remember us being in a long corridor so I would imagine those houses were joined to Anglesea Road Hospital.

“The bull by then had got stuck on the garage roof that still merges into the bank at the end of the arboretum opposite the Greyhound public house.

“I have a vivid memory of several men goading him. The bull pawed the ground with hot breath coming from his nostrils. Who knows what might have happened to mother, baby brother Peter and myself if he had have stayed in the arboretum.”

What memories do you have of market day in Ipswich? Write to Kindred Spirits at The Evening Star or e-mail me at info@kindred-spirit.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter