Lower Brook Street Tacket Street / Rose Lane / Rosemary Lane / Dykes Street

Price The Bootmaker
The shop at the corner of Tacket Street and Lower Brook Street is quite a distinguished landmark run by J.F. Price.
'PRICE', the boot and shoe seller occupied this attractive building for many years and the lettering integrated into an upper balustrade on both faces commemorates this (below left, Tacket Street; below right, Lower Brook Street). The building has been a restaurant or bar – or empty – for a number of years.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price 12001 images
For a century the shop was known as Price's Boot Shop with the boots hanging on the outside of the shopfront like hands of bananas. It is Listed Grade II. The listing suggests a date at the end of the nineteenth century and this is confirmed by the Suffolk Directories. In Kelly's of 1892 (Part 3) p 1321, Price's address is given as 2 Tacket and 1 Lower Brook Street, while in the Post Office Directory of 1869 (Part 3) p. 987, only Tacket Street is listed.

The Listing (Grade II)  text reads:
"1260 LOWER BROOK STREET (East Side) Nos 1 and 3 TM 1644 SW 3/309 II 2. Including No 2 Tacket Street. A timber-framed building with a pleasant mid-late C19 plastered front with a quadrant corner, a continuous balustraded parapet with name panels and a stucco modillion cornice. The building has fronts on Lower Brook Street and Tacket Street and projects into the line of Upper Brook Street making an effective visual stop to the south end of the street. 2 storeys, attics and cellars. 5 window range overall, 2 3-light double-hung sash windows with margin glazing bars on Tacket Street and one double-hung sash window with glazing bars, in flush cased frame on Lower Brook Street. The premises include a 2 storeyed timber-framed and plastered building (No 3) with 2 3-light oriel bay windows under a wide overhanging eaves. The ground storeys have C19 shop fronts. Roofs tiled, (C20 on Tacket Street)."

Incidentally, the decorative moulding, replete with scantily clad nymph close to the Lower Brook Street metal street sign is the figure of Fame or 'Winged Victory'. The figure is set on a capital beside the curved window on the ground floor. Fame seems an oddly triumphant choice of decoration for a successful Victorian boot shop. The images below are 'without flash' and 'with flash' to pick up the detailing, despite layers of paint.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price 102013 images
This is certainly an Ipswich curiosity and is not repeated elsewhere on the Price premises. It does not look as if it has been cleaned or repainted during the 2013 renovation of the upper parts of the shop. There is an image on the Ipswich Society's Flickr collection of this detail and it is painted black, which doesn't seem right at all...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price 11
[UPDATE 23.4.12: The sad state of the Price lettering in 2012 has to be recorded here. The Roman numerals on the clock face look pretty good but the owners of this property are letting the balustrade and its lettering go to rack and ruin. Shame.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price 1  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price 22012 images
By 2013 the 'PRICE' panel on the Tacket Street elevation had, along with some of the balustrade, rotted and fallen onto the roof. The word is that this building will be refurbished back to its original state. The photograph below shows the process starting.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price refurb. 2013
2013 images Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price refurb. 2013
And finally (below right) the scaffold is removed, the beautiful clock – it seems to be working – is returned to its place and the wall made good by early 2014. The whole building has not been refurbished and work is still needed on roof and dormers at the front and the Lower Brook Street elevation, by the look of things. But we must be grateful for small mercies.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price refurb. 2014   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price refurb. 20142014 images 
See our page on Public clocks in Ipswich for a 2018 view of the building and its clock.
It's just down the road from Christ Church Congregational Church, The Unicorn in Orwell Place, and not far from the CTC roundel on the old Coach & Horses, also the Symonds sign in Upper Brook Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Price 1970sPhotographs courtesy The Ipswich SocietyIpswich Historic Lettering: Price Boots
The detail above from  a 1970s view of Price's found in The Ipswich Society's Flickr image archive (see Links) shows the shop in all its pomp with a huge board fixed between the two chimney stacks, beautifully painted with:
in metallic-effect, drop-shadow, sans serif capitals similar to those relating to the store along Tacket Street: E. Brand & Sons, the sign for which can be seen in Ipswich Museum. Another photograph showing this sign can be found on our Old Cattle Market page in the section tracing the site of Sir Thomas Rush's house.
Note the premises to the left: the blank window above E.P. Butcher's shop features the lettering:

Past the Price shop is Dog's Head Street and Falcon Street.

4 Tacket Street
UPDATE 20.6.2021: ’At no. 4 Tacket Street the former ‘Grabs’ discount kitchenware shop is being renovated and they have currently exposed the late 70s/early 80s  ‘Laughing Onion’ café signage. A bit of research shows someone traded there as the ‘Blinking Owl’ afterwards. James Meek.’ Our thanks to James for noticing this reappearing shop sign, soon to be covered up, no doubt.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Laughing Onion, Tacket Street   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Laughing Onion, Tacket Street2021 images
Above: the shop front next door to Price's. This has certainly been painted by a signwriter; the weathering is making the cream paint run.
Ed Broom reminds us that there is a 1978 photograph of these premises on the Ipswich Society's Image Archive (see Links):
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Laughing Onion 1978Courtesy The Ipswich Society
Ed reckons that the sign says: 'HOT SOUP TO TAKE AWAY - 10P'. Newsteads Bakery is next door – from a time where many streets boasted an outlet for the local baker; it was later home to Victoria's Bakery, until that branch closed. In the shop windows are reflections of Avis Cook Televison & Audio across Tacket Street. At this time Price's were still in business, as proved by the shoe display to the right.
[UPDATE 10.8.2021: 'Wasn’t it the Porthole Coffee Bar in the 1960s? Maybe was it the Keyhole before or after that? Jean Cater'. Thanks, Jean.]

1-5 Tacket Street
Across Tacket Street (see Street name derivations) from the Price shop is a deco-style block which bears,  above the central bay, a tablet  bearing the  characters:

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tacket Street 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tacket Street 12013 images
 These photographs (perhaps from the 1980s) show the shops as many will recall them. Avis Cook electrical and hi-fi dealers once had a shop on Major's Corner; the buildings in the narrow wedge of land between St Helens Street and Old Foundry Road have long gone. John Bulow-Osborne points out: "You are probably aware that the lettered insert seen elsewhere on your site, denotes that the building was constructed for the chemist G. W. Hales." We are grateful to John for the additional information. 'Hales Chemist' still exists as a doorstep mosaic in St Helens Street. They also had a shop in Wherstead Road.
See our S. Wilson, cutler page for some photographic prints produced by 'G.W. Hales, Photographic Chemist'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Avis CookPhotographs courtesy John Bulow-Osborne
John writes: 'The Avis Cook ones are self-explanatory. I worked as a service technician for them a number of times, from 1960 onwards, before they moved from High Street to Tacket Street. We had a large service department in Dyke(s) Street, with a staff of around thirty.'

Dyke(s) Street
While we're looking at the Avis Cook shop, let's recall their workshops in Dykes Street, off St Georges Street, now replaced by the three storey High View House. Dykes Street is also the site of a possible St Margaret's parish boundary...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Avis Cook workshopsPhotograph courtesy The Ipswich Society's image archive
... also, two curious lettered tablets, one on each side of the old wall beside High View House:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Dykes St 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Dykes St 22014 images

If anyone knows what these initials stand for, do email us.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Dykes St sign2018 image
Sometimes the smallest roads have more street signs (compare, for example, Lion Street off Cornhill ans Parkside Avenue) than the wider, longer thoroughfares. Dykes Street has two prominent street nameplates, on on each side, but is only a few yards long, before it narrows to a back lane accessing parking and gardens of houses in Berners Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Dykes St map 19021902 map
Above is the map detail from 1902 of the area. At this time (and in the 1930s), maps show the road as 'Dyke Street' (singular). The northern part of the street extends much further and the east-west part is named Salem Street, after the nearby Salem Chapel. South of this are Bacon's Buildings and Queen Street. The last two disappeared with all the terraced houses around them with the building of housing here, probably in the 1960s. Below the original Queen Street junction
, on the west side of St Georges Street, are handsome three-storey houses with stone steps up to the front doors. Just below and to the west of them on the map is labelled in Gothic characters: 'St George's Chapel (Site of)' which gave the street its name. Today Dykes Street largely serves as a back lane serving the rears of properties on the east side of Berners Street. The change from singular to plural is intriguing enough to include in our Street name derivations page.
Local resident, Francis Beaumont: "Queen Street ends at the bottom of my garden. When I bought my house in 1971 there was the remains of a wall which went right across Nos. 48, 50 & 52. There was one exit into Queen Street, my garden was a few feet shorter than the other 2, and we all had a gate into the tiny rectangle which was then enclosed. This was presumably used for 'night soil' etc. In the modern curved end of Dyke Street at our rear there was always a dip in the lane – no matter how often it was filled in. We presumed that there had been a well there."

Dogs Head Street
On the opposite corner to the Price lettering:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: IBS crest2012 imageIpswich Historic Lettering: IBS Brook Street branch2016 image
This is on the corner of Upper Brook Street and Dogs Head Street on the turreted building once occupied by the Ipswich Building Society, later rather ignominiously a '99p Shop'; even worse, the 99p Shop went out of business. The carved stone panel is on the 45 degree-angled wall on the corner at street level (to the right of the No Entry sign in the above photograph).
See our Princes Street page for 'Mutual House' on the corner of King Street: the town centre branch of IBS from 2018.
See our Dogs Head Street page for illustrations of this building and its predecessor, the Dogs Head in a Pot Inn.

7 Lower Brook Street
: Suffolk Victoria Nursing Institute
Then a little further down Lower Brook Street on the same side there's the little-noticed, but quite impressive, entrance to:
The awning leading from the front pillaster to the door bears the incised name and, very prominently, the date 'A.1903.D.' in a terra cotta tablet above it.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Nursing Institute 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Nursing Institute 2
As far as we can tell, this is now a private residence. The Ipswich and East Suffolk Hospital in Anglesea Road was the town's main hospital from 1836 to 1988 with maternity cover on other sites including The Ipswich Maternity Home in Lower Brook Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Nursing Institute 3
From the 'Kindred Spirits' website (see Links) we read the following fascinating historical note.
"An incident in Ipswich in July 1851 resulted in the town being banned from seeing members of the royal family visit the borough for seventy-five years.
The problem arose during a visit of Prince Albert to Ipswich in July 1851 to attend the annual meeting of the British Association [at Ipswich Museum] and to lay the foundation stone at Ipswich School the following day. Somewhere along the route, six words shouted out in broad Suffolk by someone in the crowd, were to have a disastrous consequence. “Goo hoom, yer rotten ole Jarman.” Albert probably did not understand but courtiers reported this to the Queen on return to Buckingham Palace and Victoria banned visits to the town. No member of the royal family came to Ipswich for the next three-quarters of a century.

In 1902 the directors of the Mid Suffolk Light Railway planned a branch line that would link Debenham with Ipswich. The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk was on the board and the Duke of Cambridge, first cousin of Queen Victoria, came by train to cut the first sod at Westerfield Junction. Because of the necessity of keeping Ipswich out of the ceremony a marquee had to be put up on the railway land for 600 guests. The Duke’s first sod was also the last. Not a yard of track from Westerfield towards Debenham was ever laid and shortly thereafter the promoter of the whole scheme went bankrupt.
Almost exactly a year later the Suffolk Victoria Nursing Institute was inaugurated as a memorial to Queen Victoria. It was opened in Lower Brook Street by Victoria’s third daughter Helena. She came not as British Royalty but as German: as Princess Christian, wife of HRH Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein.

After the death of King Edward VII in 1910, county memorials to him were planned throughout the land. The first to be completed was Suffolk’s, the Ipswich Sanatorium at Foxhall. People looked forward to a Royal opening but those in the know realised this would not be possible and invited Lord Balfour of Burleigh to perform the ceremony in June 1912.
King George V in the earlier years of his reign was often a guest at shooting parties at Orwell Park but the Royal Train from London always passed through Ipswich and Derby Road stations without stopping.
In 1926 Prince Henry came to Ipswich to open an exhibition celebrating the bi-centenary of the artist’s birth ending a long royal displeasure."
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Nursing Institute 42014 image
This building was commonly known as 'Ipswich Maternity Home' in later years.

Rosemary Lane

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosemary Lane
   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosemary Lane 52016 images
South of the modern Peninsular House, the side wall of the Georgian house at 15 Lower Brook Street bears a fine cast iron street nameplate: 'ROSEMARY LANE', but is a very different place today from previous centuries. The 1902 map shows that it ran from Lower Brook Street through to Foundation Street, close to Richard Felaw's House (demolished in the 1960s, shown at the bottom of our Almshouses page). About half-way down this lane, Wingfield Street once cut in at a right angle. It is, more or less, represented by the pedestriain walkway along the angled western side of the multi-storey car park fronting Foundation Street (which was eventually built on the site of Richard Felaw's house).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Map Rosemary Lane1902 map of the southern route of the 1958 Ring-Road
The Ring-Road that never was (see our Ipswich tomorrow page for a full article and images)
There is, of course, an untold story here. The twentieth century Peninsular House and Foundation Street multi-storey car park which today define the north side of Rosemary Lane were built in the spirit of a radical 1958 scheme by the Borough Council to build a dual carraigeway Ring-Road through the town. Part of the central Government's scheme to resettle from London's East End huge numbers of new residents in the south-west of the town, the ill-fated Greyfriars complex, Civic Drive and St Matthew's roundabout replaced housing in and around the area called The Mount. Unfortunately for Ipswich (but fortunately in the long run), the plug was pulled on this initiative, probably due to the decision to build Milton Keynes (other re-settlements of east Londoners at Great Cornard, Haverhill, Thetford and other places went ahead).

Rosemary Lane lay on the proposed path of the new Ring-Road and, after demolition of the period buildings at
17 Lower Brook Street, Peninsular*** House was built and still bears the shamfered corner which would have fitted round a large roundabout as the road cut a swathe through 17th century buildings in St Nicholas Street, Silent Street, Turret Lane, Lower Brook Street and  Foundation Street, carrying away the only surviving  remains of a monastic house in Ipswich: Blackfriars. This also caused the demolition of Richard Felaw's 15th century house in 1964 (as discussed on our Tooley's Almshouses page). The huge, red Turret Green Baptist Church (shown on our Sailors Rest page) can be seen between Silent Street and Turret Lane. It would undoubtedly have stood in the way of the proposed Ring-Road, but was actually demolished in 1977, apparently due to a declining congregation. Thus the proposed Ring-Road cast a very long shadow.  [***'peninsular' with an extra 'r' is the adjective relating to the noun 'peninsula' meaning a piece of land bordered on three sides by water, but connecting on the fourth to the mainland, e.g. the Shotley peninsula.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosemary Lane 4   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosemary Lane 6
Above left: the modern Peninsular* House at no. 15, the gap near the street lamp of Rosemary Lane and, south of that, the Georgian frontage of no. 15, then the modern Haven House (see photograph of the frontage below), built to accomodate Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs regional staff.
Above right: the 45 degree chamfer on the corner of Peninsular House indicating the site of the proposed Ring-Road roundabout here.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosemary Lane 8   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosemary Lane 10
Above left:  between the rear sections of Peninsular House and Haven House, Rosemary Lane squeezes through the gap as it did on the 1902 map and, of course, well before that. The alleyway here would have been closely lined with buildings on both sides.
Above right: after a sharp right and left turn to navigate round the multi-storey car park site one reaches another of the very historical sites in Ipswich belied by its modern appearance. In the foreground the higgledy-piggledy, patched together old walling. Behind that, the huge rear section of Haven House. This is the site of St Edmund de Pounteney (or
St Edmund Pountney) chapel, one of the town's earliest (now lost) churches. Prior to the building of Tooley's Almshouses  ('The Foundation') in 1552, Foundaton Street had been known as St Edmund Pountney Lane, then 'Christ's Hospital Lane'. The Foundation Street name was firmly in place by 1745. Ogilby's map of 1674 labels it as St Edmund Poontny Lane'.

St Edmund de Pountenay chapel (Haven House)
St Edmund of Abingdon (the village in Oxfordshire in which he was born c.1175) is also known as St Edmund of Pontigny (the place of his burial) or Edmund Rich, saintly Archbishop of Canterbury (from 1234). Eight years after his death he was canonized. The linguistic corruptions of 'Pontigny' into 'Pountney' extends to a mention of the chapel as dedicated to 'St Edmund of Ipswich' (1302) And 'St Edmund de Pontiaco'. The chapel was probably established around 1290. The rectory (later known as 'le Stonehouse' or 'the Stonehouses') stood at the junction of Rosemary Lane and Lower Brook Street and the churchyard extended towards Foundation Street. The variants on the saint's name are manifold; satisfyingly, 'St Edmund de Punkeney' in 1730, by which time the building was described as 'a former chapel of ease to the Church of St Helen' – the latter still standing today in St Helens Street. In fact it had ceased to be an active religious establishment by 1588.
Partial archeological excavation in 1975 revealed the information shown in the map below. It is likely that the original churchyard extended further to the east.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosemary Lane map 1975
Information on the
chapel taken from a The Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History research paper by Muriel Clegg: 'The Chapel of St Edmund Pountenay in Ipswich'.
See also the
map detail from Pennington's map of Ipswich 1778 on our Wolsey College page which shows Rosemary Lane at that date and surrounding streets and gardens.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosemary Lane 12
Above: the frontage of Haven House, facing the end of Turret Lane; the relatively modestly-sized frontage on Lower Brook Street belies the extent of the building behind it.

Rose Lane
It is only a short walk from here down Lower Brook Street, right into Turret Lane and then into Rose Lane. Here is a piece of industrial architecture (photographed in 2001) which had a facelift in 2003 as a companion building to the rebuilt Brights furniture shop on St Nicholas Street (close to a very pristine-looking Victorian, multi-sided pillar box). The building bears a striking resemblance to those on the Wet Dock, for example Christy's warehouse, part of which is now The Bistro on the Quay.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: DB 1862a2001   Ipswich Historic Lettering: DB 1862b2003
The recessed circular plaque set so very high up in this very narrow lane reads:

(no second full stop after the 'B'). The photograph of the cleaned up version above shows the extended new building behind. The convex traffic mirrors have been reaffixed at right of the fascia, however they appear to be cross-eyed ...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: DB 1862c
This building is more or less on the site of Curson House, see Curson Lodge for more information.

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