Bolton Lane and environs

The road leading northwards from St Margaret's Green along the present-day Bolton Lane route was called Thingstead Way and was recorded on Ogilby's map of 1674.
By Pennington's map of 1778 it was called Bolton Lane; some sources suggest that this may have been a misunderstanding as the meadowland of Bolton was situated on the other side of Christchurch Park (possibly near the Upper Arboretum). However, White's map of 1867 clearly shows the names of the farms north of the parkland: to the west (Henley Road side) 'Sand Hill Farm'; while above and to the east (Westerfield Road side) is 'Bolton Farm'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Christchurch map 1735 detail1735 map detail
The above detail from John Kirby's 1735 map of Christchurch Park (fully shown on our Christchurch Park page under 'The story of...') shows the V-shape of lanes converging on the site of The Woolpack with the legend – a bit illegible here – 'Little Bolton' beside it – at the top of what we today call Bolton Lane. 'Little Bolton Field' stretches right down to this point. Hence, today's Bolton Lane is appropriately named. However, in the way of these things, matters are somewhat confused by the legend 'Bolton Lane' to the left alongside the lane going north through a field named 'Great Bolton' (close to today's Fonnereau Road, but inside the boundary of today's park). Rather a surfeit of Boltons; no wonder later map-makers chose one of them in the naming.

As Carol Twinch points out in Ipswich street by street (see Reading List): "To walk along Bolton Lane is to travel in the footsteps of the Augustinian canons of the Holy Trinity, whose presence in the town between the 13th and 16th century helped to shape both its character and appearance." See our Monasteries page for more on Holy Trinity Priory. Our page on Blue Plaques has an image of the board giving information about the Thingstead (St Margarets Green).

Garratt Memorial Hall (St Margaret's Church Hall) / Gainsborough House (see below)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 12013 images
The signboard over the door reads: 'St Margaret's Church Centre, Garratt Memorial Hall'. It stands opposite the side entrance to St Margaret's Church. The spelling of the name 'Garratt' suggests that this may not be connected to the famous foundry and engineering company based in Leiston. See our Mileposts page for mention of Jacob Garrett's foundry which once stood nearby at the junction of St Margaret's Green and Cobbold Street. [UPDATE 30.5.2013. Mary Johnston writes: 'In fact the spelling of the name Garratt is correct on the Church Centre signboard. The man referred to is Rev Samuel Garratt, a past vicar of St Margaret's Church. There is a stone plaque inside the church centre (near the toilets) that gives more information.']

The frontage has a carved date on the bressumer beam below the central gable:

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 2
The enhanced close-up (above) shows colour differentiation and surrounding decoration.
The English Heritage Listing text reads: "A C17 timber-framed and plastered house with 3 gables jettied above the first storey. A carved bressummer supported on brackets carved in the shape of human heads bears the date 1682*. The front has been altered in the C18 and later. 2 storeys and attics. 5 window range, double-hung sashes with glazing bars, in flushed cased frames. The first storey windows under the end gable at the south end extend for the full height of the storey. The ground storey is built out in brick, now painted. The front is protected by C19 cast iron railings. Roofs tiled, with 2 C19 red brick shafted chimney stacks with moulded brick caps and bases."   [*So even English Heritage can get things wrong: the bressummer is certainly fifty years older than this.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 7   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 82018 images
Close-ups of the carved woodwork suggest recent restoration and removal of any paint to reveal the wood.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 9
The brackets reveal moustachio'd gentlemen's heads, nearly obscured by the  carvings descending from above.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 9a

Gainsborough House
Ipswich Historic Lettering: GainsboroughHouse 1
Ipswich Historic Lettering: GainsboroughHouse 22018 images
[UPDATE 18.1.2016: Another feature of this building is lettered at the far right of the frontage: 'Gainsborough House'. Linda, in pursuit of her family history, sent these morsels of information:
"The lady in case [I am researching] was Alice Sarah Oxborrow, my 3x Great Aunt.
"By 1901 Alice had returned to Suffolk and was a boarder at Gainsborough House, Bolton Lane in St Margaret, Ipswich. It was a YWCA Boarding House, run by a Superintendant called Eugenie C. Sweeting. Most of the boarders seemed to be Dressmakers, Milliners and similar. Alice was 37, one of the oldest boarders in the house, still single, shown as a Dressmaker, own account, working at home. Gainsborough House was opposite St Margarets Church and overlooking the graveyard.
The 1911 census showed Alice had moved to 23 Tower Street, Ipswich, which had six rooms. She was 52, a Boarding House Keeper but with just two boarders, 23 yr old Elsie Hilda Haiste, an Art Teacher for the Borough Education Committee and Ada Constance Sargant, 22, an Art Student. Alice died in Q4 1932, aged 74, her death registered in the district of Ipswich, Suffolk." Many thanks to Linda for drawing this to our attention.]

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wrestlers iconA little further up Bolton Lane is another early, dated building: The Wrestlers.

Bolton Lane Social Club & Institute Ltd (Bishop & Son Organ Builders)
Glimpsed to the left of the hall in the top photograph is a real Ipswich oddity. Lost between The Garratt Memorial Hall and Bolton Lane School (now a gated, residential development, see 'Devereaux Court' below) is a building behind double gates in some need of attention.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 5   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 6
The ridged asbestos roof is rapidly being colonised by ivy, corrugated tin sheets hide peeling weather-board walls. Above the double doors at the front is a single light bulb in a socket and two vertical strip lights, presumably placed to illuminate the faded, rectangular sign behind cracked glass:
REG. NO. 103??'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 2
This would all be of merely passing interest were it not for the stout double gates in front of and to the left of the building which bear the sign:
EST. 1795
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 4   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 3
The state of this sign and the letter-box below it suggest that this is still be a viable business address. Sure enough the company's website ( tells us of the company history under the founder, James Chapman Bishop, who started his business in Marylebone, London. Sons and then a grandson continued with the work until Edward Hadlow Suggate graduated from organ-builder in the firm to take over the running. "During Edward Hadlow Suggate’s time as Principal of the firm, Bishop & Son saw some of the most dramatic changes in organ-building. Indeed he was to oversee its progress through the end of the nineteenth century and its journey through the beginning of the twentieth, this is by many considered to be one of the most important periods of the trade’s history. In his time Mr Suggate was responsible for the purchasing of a new large works as the firm expanded to Ipswich, and he completely re-tooled twice...
... Today the firm is administrated by our Principal, Dr Maurice Merrell, who has over 60 years of experience with Bishop and Son, from our head office at Queen’s Park in London, with works located both there and at Ipswich. Our enthusiastic team of skilled craftsmen trained in all aspects of the trade are employed in projects all over the country and abroad. We work on organs both old and new, our work ranges from general tuning and maintenance to restoration, re-builds, new instruments and everything in between."
The website's contact details for the firm quote the 38 Bolton Lane works as their Ipswich address.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Works 7   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Works 82018 images
Looking at a satellite image of the area reveals that the drive leads from the gates to a long, narrow plot with about four interlinked buildings, backing onto the car park (accessed from Cobbold Mews, off Cobbold Street, see below) and playing field of St Margaret's C.E.V.A.P. School. It is interesting that The Wrestlers up the lane is numbered 40, so Bolton Lane Municipal Secondary School for Girls (visible in the background, above left), later a music education centre and temporary home to the County Library during its rebuilding in the 1990s, never had an official number, perhaps. This would account for the nearby
St Margaret's Primary School being listed as just 'Bolton Lane'. The  next address down the hill from the school is No. 4. See Devereaux Court below for a photograph of the old school.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Works aerialAerial view
The Church of St Margaret is at the left with the primary school across Bolton Lane from it. Soane Street is a botton left.  The Bishop Organ Works entrance is at the top of the image where a car passes the gates and a white car is parked in the driveway.

The east end of St Clement Congregational Church in Back Hamlet is filled by a towering church organ, reputedly one of the best in Ipswich. In 1908 an appeal was made for funds to purchase a new organ. The existing organ had been second-hand when it was donated in 1836 and the Organ Builder (we understand that this was Bishop & Son) said that “at any day it might collapse”. An appeal to the congregation said that “the procuring of a New Organ is not in the nature of a Luxury, but an absolute Necessity. The original organ was in the gallery but the replacement was installed in the main church at a cost of 450, and dedicated at a special service on 5th August.
[Information based on the entry in Simon's Suffolk Churches website, see Links.]

72 Bolton Lane
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bolton Lane 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bolton Lane 2
72 Bolton Lane stands opposite the entrance to Christchurch Park. High above street level, it features in the middle of the large, central gable a tiny dated shield surrounded by decorative terra cotta:
5-7 Bolton Lane
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A much clearer date with its own swag of fruit and flowers in terra cotta is found here, the date '1895' nicely picked out in white. It features the 'flattened head' numeral '8' found on E. Brand & Sons.

Where does Bolton Lane start?
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bolton Lane St Margarets Green signs2019 images
Above and below: The chance placing of a lamp standard provides the divider between  number 2 Bolton Lane and  next door's 30 St Margarets Green (all are Listed Grade II). This spot is directly opposite the jaws of Soane Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bolton Lane St Margarets Green signs
Given the unusual use of a possessive apostrophe in the street nameplate for "St Margaret's Green" on the Manor House further down the road, it's perhaps telling that the maker of this plate leaves a gap between the 'T' and the 'S' , but omits the apostrophe. Other examples of the inclusion of punctuation are seen on St Edmund's Road (shown on our Plaques page) and Arthur's Terrace. The fullstop filling the gap between 'ST and 'MARGARET S' is unnecessary.

Surrounding roads
Cobbold Street/Cobbold Mews
Cobbold Mews runs parallel to Bolton Lane:, running from Cobbold Street right up to Withipoll Street (both being named after past owners of Christchurch Mansion). This steadily sloping lane is today surfaced with paviours.; it is really the service track to the rears of surrounding Victorian houses fronting Christchurch Street and contains no dwellings itself.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cobbold Mews 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cobbold Mews 2
Below: the view of Cobbold Mews from Withipoll Street:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cobbold Mews 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Withipoll StreetCorner with Bolton Lane
Below: at the other end of Withipoll Street on the south corner of the junction with Christchurch Street, an olderstyle of street nameplate with condensed sans-serif capitals and an odd superior 'T' with no gap between the character and the lower bar. This distinguishes this street nameplate from others which are in superficially the same style: St Clements Church Lane, Gt Whip St, Felaw St, Croft St, Museum St, Lloyds Ave etc.
See our Street nameplates page for links to all these and further examples.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Withipoll Street nameplate
Devereaux Court
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Devereaux Court 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Devereaux Court 2
See our Street name derivations for the way in which this fits into the surrounding streets, reflecting ownerships of Christchurch Mansion. The building is the former Bolton Lane Municipal Secondary School for Girls (later Bolton Lane Music Education Centre) which has been converted for accomodation and had new housing built in its grounds to the rear.

Bolton Lane Municipal Secondary School for Girls
This information is drawn from David Kindred's Days gone by columns in the Ipswich Evening Star [see Links for 'Kindred Spirit']:-
The Ipswich Local Education Authority succeeded the Victorian school board in 1903. In 1906 the Ipswich Municipal School opened at Tower Ramparts by the Ipswich Education Committee. They were in control of the Municipal School of Art in High Street, which had opened in the 1850s. The Municipal Technical School, the Municipal Secondary Schools at Tower Ramparts for boys and Bolton Lane for girls and nineteen council schools, eleven of which were mixed. There were also ten voluntary schools and nine church schools. In the early 1930s Northgate Schools opened. After the Second World War the school at Tower Ramparts became a Secondary Modern.

From September 1961 Tower Ramparts Secondary Modern School for Boys and Christchurch Secondary Modern School for Girls in Bolton Lane were combined under the title of Tower Ramparts Secondary Mixed School, the resulting combination, plus large influx of new pupils for that new school year, necessitated using Argyle Street school as an annex: the Ipswich School of Commerce and Social Studies.
“Towards the end of the Summer 1962 term, headmaster Mr Webber departed [Argyle Street] to prepare for his new role to oversee the opening of the new Chantry Secondary School in September and he was succeeded by Mr H.E. Cadwallader and with the opening of the Chantry School some staff and pupils transferred there, the Argyle Street annex was no longer needed, closing in July 1962. Of the three sites that in 1961/2 formed Tower Ramparts Secondary Mixed School only the Argyle Street annex building survives in near original condition; Tower Ramparts School being demolished to make way for the Tower Ramparts shopping centre (now Sailmakers) and the Bolton Lane department has been converted to living accommodation.” [Stuart McNae]

See our Dated buildings page for a chronological list of dated buildings and structures on this website.

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