Paul's and Burton's, The Bull Inn

R&W Paul silo, Common Quay

Moving up the quayside past the excellent remodelling of the Paul's Home Warehouse (formerly occupied by
Contship, now solicitors' offices), we used to see looming above the columned 1845 Custom House: 'R. & W. PAUL Ltd' on the 1960s Wunderhaufen malting plant. Now demolished as part of the Waterfront Regeneration Scheme, this lettering appears on the silo on St Peter's Wharf, too (see below, next to the old Burtons building).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: RW Paul 2003a2003 image Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wet Dock period close-up1970s?    
Above right: the close-up from a 1970s(?) view of the dock from our The changing dock page shows the view at the time of the warehouse which became Contship offices and later Ashton Graham. The jettied part over the quay which enabled unloading from ships is encased in corrugated iron and also bears the name (just readable):
See our Paul's malting page for the story of the company and its importance to Ipswich.

The Bull Inn, Key Street ans Slade Street
A survivor of many attempts at demolition over the years (not least by the German air force) which stands opposite and behind these buildings on Key Street (originally Quay Street) is The Bull Inn. The upper cream band and painted blank central window once carried the brewery name 'COBBOLD' (also on the strip over the coach entrance to the right) and pub's name 'THE BULL'  (see black and white view from 1963 below). This 19th century frontage features a coaching entrance which gives a glimpse onto 16th century buildings of old Ipswich. The Bull stood only a few metres from other dock hostelries: The Gun, The Maltster's Arms and The Ram. Its importance in the town is shown by a rating assessment in 1681 of 40 a year (5 a year more than that of the White Horse). A great stableyard replete with blacksmith and wheelwright lay behind it. A First World War Zeppelin delivered a bomb which destroyed the roof and killed a man in a house next door. After its rebuild, the centre of commercial activity in the town moved northwards to Carr, Tavern and Westgate Streets and it finally closed in September, 1961.
The 'inn',  as distinct from hundreds of
ale-houses, parlour pubs (for the lower orders), taverns (more substantial, tended to specialise in wines and could provide a good meal) which dotted the town,  was second only in size to the churches. The inns catered for wealthier local people and travellers. The bigger ones could cater for 200 to 300 people and, as with the Bull Inn, provided stabling for visitors' horses.  They hosted such events as feasts, concerts, trade association meetings and electioneering. During the 15th and early 16th centuries Ipswich was the fifth wealthiest town in England with many important visitors (via coach and horse or ship into the town's docks) and pilgrims to the Shrine Of Our Lady Of Grace in Lady Lane off Black Horse Lane, so several inns must have provided overnight accomodation.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Bull 20032003 image  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bull InnThe Bull Inn (1960s?)
The photograph below takes us to more recent memory: the 1970s. From Duke Street roundabout westwards the zig-zagging Fore Street, Salthouse Street, Key Street and College Street was then the only street through the docks (long before the demolitions which led to the building of the eastern gyratory's Star Lane) and was two-way as shown in the contemporary photograph below. The surviving buildings in the image below are the Bull Inn and the coaching entrance beyond it.  At the site of Brown's timber yard, the present day Slade Street cuts through and the rather grand offices at the corner beyond are still standing.
Bull Inn 70s
Above: the Bull Inn (centre) in the 1970s; beyond that are: Brown's timber yard (see more about William Brown), Paul's offices and, across Salthouse Street, Isaac Lord's.
Below: the Bull Inn during refurbishment as accomodation, images from the Ipswich Society Flickr collection (see Links) with the roof timbers shown.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Bull period 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Bull period 1Photos courtesy The Ipswich Society
Below – from JohnBulow-Osborne: 'From an old Cobbold publication, in 1923, The Bull pub in Key Street, by the waterfront'. John also sent an image of The Saracen's Head on St Margarets Green from the same source.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Bull 4Image courtesy John Bulow-Osborne
The 1923 photograph of The Bull reveals the timber-framed building to which it was joined with a shop below and entrance gate and passage to the back yard. The lettering on the upper strip of white below the eaves is revealed:
The words on either side are on rolling curves with painted curving lines; the pub name has a smaller definite article and the characters appear to have a drop shadow. The blind window in centre features a projecting (gas?) lamp.
Below: a photograph from the Ipswich Maritime Trust (see Links) collection showing a pie-man making a delivery in the late 19th century. This close-up photograph of the entrance shows the lettering on the lamp: 'Bull Inn' followed, presumably, by the landlord's name (unreadable here). Then there are the capitals 'THE BULL INN.' curving round the painting of a bull in a landscape – the silhouette of the horned animal is still visible at the centre. A licencing statement, white lettering on black, is to the right. The poster to the right of the door shows a paddle steamer, presumably advertising the service from the Steamboat Tavern on New Cut West.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Bull 5
Late 19th century courtesy Ipswich Maritime Trust

IMT plaque
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Bull 12018 images
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Bull 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Bull 32017 images
See our plaques page for the full set of ten Ipswich Society Maritime Ipswich 1982 plaques.

Mystery plaque in Slade StreetIpswich Historic Lettering: Slade Street tablet small
The Bull Inn perimeter wall runs up the tiny Slade Street, named after the naval  architect, Sir Thomas Slade (memorial outside St Clement Church). Slade Street doesn't appear on the 1902 map of Ipswich. The east side of The Bull Inn was a Malthouse with a narrow lane. Presumably it was this lane which was widened after certain demolitions in the area to form Slade Street, as part of the Easter gyratory system in the 1980s; it now links Salthouse Street/Key Street with the extended Star Lane. A lettered stone tablet (thumbnail at right) can be found in Slade Street, just past the Maritime Ipswich 1982 metal plaque. It's easily overlooked – we missed it. It appears to read: 'PARTABLE WALL 1812' (or similar). If anyone can shed a light on this feature, please contact us (link at the foot of the page).
Below: the 1902 map detail showing The Bull Inn ('P.H') as Salthouse Street becomes Key Street. A blackmith's premises ('Sm.') can be seen to the rear of the inn – fitting for an inn which apparently had so many stables. The cart entrance to the courtyard can be seen. On the east is a long, narrow malthouse ('Maltho.'), then the alleyway which became Slade Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bull Inn 1902 map1902 map detail

Burton's factory, St Peter's Wharf
The photograph below left: a view from College Street, standing opposite to the 'water gate' of Wolsey's failed seat of learning shows the lettering before the Waterfront Regeneration started (see it disappear below). A stylish blue drop-shadow letterform adorns this stark 'BURTONS' block, though the capital 'B' shows that the signwriter ran out of building. Similar lettering (similarly too close to the roof-edge) faces the upper finger of the Wet Dock to the right of another of Paul's mill (below right, photograph taken from Stoke Bridge).
See our page on the Trinity House buoy for more images of the Paul and Burtons buildings and brilliant scale models.

Ipswich Historical Lettering: Burtons 2003   Ipswich Historical Lettering: RW Paul 20032003 images

A period view (below) tells a different story. Just visible in the background is the neighbouring Cranfield Brothers Ltd. sign (Cranfields Flour Mill has only recently ceased operation, pending the Waterfront Regeneration project). The Burtons premises on St Peter's Wharf has large and small versions of the 'BURTONS' lettering. The tops of dockside sailing barges are in the foreground with the horse-drawn tramway trucks which until 1880 took coal all the way from the sidings on the other side of the approach to Stoke Bridge on a long circuit round the Wet Dock, down Cliff Quay to the power station on the promontary. Steam engines and latterly tram engines later worked these lines, for unloading vessels to load straight into rail waggons. [See here for a short history of tramways in Ipswich.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Burton's advert 1934   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Burtons 1934
Above: a 1930s view of St Peter's Wharf showing, centre, the replacement Burtons building we see today, but with a curved projection in the middle to accomodate the company name: 'BURTONS'; to the right the huge concrete silo of 'CRANFIELD BROS LTD', which is lettered at the top, just about visible on the close-up.

There has been a commonly-held belief that the Burtons factory on St Peter's Wharf/College Street produced Wagon Wheels and Jammie Dodger biscuits – indeed we've included it on this website in the past. However, it becomes clear from further research that there are two similarly-named companies, both dealing in tooth-cavity inducing products, but (as far as we can tell) completely separate.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Burton's advert
'The Sugar and Almond Specialists' advertisement
Burton  Son & Sanders

The company started by Charles Burton Senior, retail grocer, in 1824 as a shop on Tavern Street, near Cornhill, Ipswich.
From a small beginning it steadily grew until it became one of the largest of its kind in England. The wholesale business moved to College Street in 1851, making use of the St Peter’s Wharf on the Wet Dock for imports of goods. Around 1880 Mr Bunnell H. Burton and Mr (now Sir) William P Burton joined the firm. Two local wholesalers, H W Caffe Ltd and Squirrel and Cleveland Ltd, were subsidiary companies. Products were mainly sold to the bakery and confectionery trade (butter, lard, jams, peels, spices, sugars, gelatine, isinglass, arrowroot and imported ground almonds). Cube, icing and castor sugars became major products, then marzipan from the ground almonds, then fondant, macaroon paste and most recently cake decorations. The company merged with Evat Sanders & Son of Colchester in 1897, becoming Burton, Son and Sanders Ltd. While London offices were established, branches were opened in Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow, Birmingham and Portsmouth.

“On the 25th July 1923 a fire started in the main factory [on St Peter’s Wharf, Ipswich] and continued through the night, completely destroying the Sugar Mill, Almond processing plant and general manufacturing section. Immediate warehouse accommodation was obtained at Flint Wharf on the dock side [see Wet Dock map] and supplies were drawn from branches, with the result that within a very short space of time we were able to deliver all goods promptly from the new Ipswich warehouse or the nearest branch. It was indeed most fortunate that we were able to surmount this calamity without serious dislocation of business as it was three years before the factory was rebuilt and the most modern machinery installed….
… An abnormal tide, coupled with a wind of gale force, was responsible for the flooding of the College Street premises at 1 a.m. on Sunday, 1st February 1953, to a depth of 42 inches. This was the most severe in Ipswich during living memory. The basement of the factory and salesroom were flooded and were without heat, power and telephones. Lighting was not available in the office block until the following Wednesday.” (Taken from A history of Burton Son & Sanders.)

Burton’s Biscuit Company (fomerly Burton's Gold Medal Biscuits)
The company was started by George Burton who was born in 1829 in Leek, Staffordshire and began production of biscuits in Blackpool in the 1880s. Current products of the company include Jammie Dodgers, Wagon Wheels and Cadbury’s chocolate fingers produced at three main factories at Llantarnam in south-east Wales, Edinburgh and Blackpool, a chocolate refinery in Moreton, Merseyside and a distribution depot in Liverpool;  their head office is in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

The illustrations of the Burton's factory shows a single building (or chain of buildings) lying between a College Street frontage and St Peter's Wharf. After the disastrous fire of 1923 and the rebuild, by 1926, we think that there were two separate buildings back-to-back: one fronting College Street, one fronting St Peter's Wharf. The College Street building is now 'Cardinal Lofts'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Burton's 1903 plan1903 drawings from a selected history of Burton's

What happened next
In 2006 the Burton Son & Sanders factory disappeared and became 'Cardinal Lofts' (the orange building shown below), overlooking their own offices in College Street and the Wolsey Gate.  It had its own railway link from the dockside tramway: "a direct railway line into the building, the goods being packed nightly." Sir Bunnell H. Burton's name appears on a tablet behind Anglesea Heights next to the 'Pathology' doorway. In 1895, he also gave the recently opened Christchurch Park its drinking fountain on Ancient Avenue, close to today's children's play area. He was also a subscriber to the building of the oldest purpose-built library branch in the county at Rosehill (see Rosehill case study).

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Burtons rebuild 20062006 images 
[UPDATE March, 2006: During the Waterfront Regeneration project, the last vestiges of the 'Burtons' sign on College Street opposite St Peters Church, as men in yellow jackets erect ever-higher steelwork above it. Left: 'Burtons' partially obstructed by the lamp post, right: taken from St Peter's Churchyard, the back of the Wolsey Gate in the foreground, just as the sun came out. This orange-red building has been renamed 'Cardinal Lofts'.]
[UPDATE 5.10.2014: "I have read with great interest your articles on the Ipswich docks. Thank you very much for them. Can you please tell me whether this building still exists in any form and where it is/was on the water front... [We replied that the Burtons redbrick building shown in the black-and-white photograph above was replaced by the cream-coloured block which, in a damaged state, still stands today.] Thank you for your most helpful reply, which has solved a mystery for me. At the risk of wearying you with family history, I am a descendant of the Burtons of that business. I was born in Ipswich in 1947 and lived on Belstead Road. I remember (or think I do) coming down that road and seeing the dark buildings along the wet dock, including one which looked like that in your photo. I left Ipswich in 1953. Recently, I have taken to visiting Ipswich and haven’t been able to relate what can be seen on the ground to my fading memories, hence my appreciation of your explanation. Best regards, George (actually my second Christian name; my first is Bunnell, the same as my great grand-father; I think the 'Bunnell' stems from a marriage between a Burton and a Bunnell in the nineteenth century) Burton, Shaftesbury." Thanks to George Burton – a link to one of the big names in Ipswich industrial history – for getting in touch.]

Don't forget, much more on the Paul and Burton's buildings on St Peter's Wharf on our Trinity House buoy page.

For more images of these buildings and of the northern quays during the 2005/6 Waterfront demolition and clearances see our Waterfront regeneration page.
For a 2007 aerial view of the Stoke Bridge area featuring these buildings, click here.

R&W Paul maltings, Princes Street
The twentieth century concrete blocks of industrial maltings and mills (particularly R. & W. Paul's) round the Wet Dock [see paragraph above] largely replaced the somewhat less severe brick-built structures of the nineteenth century. A little further up the canalised Gipping from Stoke Bridge, we find the red brick maltings on Princes Street, across the river from the railway station. Between 1893 and 1912, R. & W. Paul built a total of five maltings in the town, the largest of these at the Wet Dock, making the raw materials (wheat and barley) and end product (malt for the brewing industry) that much easier to move by boat; coincidentally one of the Paul brothers had interests in the United Shipping Company. This building is earlier; built in about 1820 and refashioned in 1866, it is Listed Grade II. Converted into a nightclub (called at various times Hollywoods, Kartouche and Zest), the refurbishment involved the painting out of large, stylish capitals reading:
'R. & W. PAUL LD.'
(there clearly wasn't space for a 't') plus its underline using a terra cotta colour on the upper part of the attractive end wall. Oddly, because the characters have been closely followed by the camouflager, the name is still readable (see the enhanced close-up below). Closed down due to a stabbing in 2006, the building remained empty for a long time, but reopened as a music venue.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: RW Paul maltings2001 image

Ipswich Historic Lettering: RW Paul maltings 1980sPhotograph courtesy The Ipswich Society
This fine photograph of the building boarded up in the 1980s from
The Ipswich Society's Image Archive (see Links) shows at bottom right the white foundation stone at the foot of a brick pillaster:
The initials may be of the person who unveiled the foundation stone; the date in Roman numerals is '1866'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: RW Paul maltings 1980sPhotograph courtesy John Norman
John Norman writes: 'The image of the east elevation is not the original east end of the building. The maltings were originally constructed in circa 1820, with the new east elevation added later (see date on foundation stone). The maltings, as I understand things, were never owned by Paul’s but rented off the Ipswich Corporation, (the original landowner of Portman’s marshes) and then only used occasionally. I think these were Paul’s No. 7 maltings, only used when they were very busy. They were labour intensive and inefficient but a useful reserve to increase capacity in times of high demand... Incidentally, the west end [of the maltings] has been partially rebuilt (extended upwards) but I don’t have evidence as to why.'
Here's a period photograph of the same building in the 1960s. This shows that there was a line of lettering ending in the word 'HOUSE', so not an underline at all.
[See the update below for the solution.]

Ipswich Historic Lettering: R & W Paul maltings - period1960s image
The Grade II Listing text reads: 'Early C19 Maltings refashioned [by J.R. Cattermole] in 1866. Long two storey, with basement and attic building in brick with slate gamberel roof with range of gabled dormers and re-fashioned Dutch gable end of 1866 to road, with rusticated brick quoin pilasters and central doorway with four first floor round headed windows above with keyblocks and similar windows in the gable. The side windows and doorway were altered circa 1866 and have chamfered segmental niched heads. The adjoining Malt kiln is also probably of circa 1866, brick, square on plan with tall pyramidal slate roof with cap. Inside the Maltings there is machinery for the elevators.'
See our Princes Street page for a timeline on the building of that road and the way it impinged on theses maltings.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: R & W Paul maltings - periodPhotographs courtesy The Ipswich Society
[UPDATE 12.1.2014: This detail of the Princes Street Paul's maltings shows the white on red-brick lettering very clearly and beneath it to the left:
'NEAR CUSTOM HOUSE', so this lettering advertises the largest of Paul's sites, i.e. at the Wet Dock, next to the Custom House.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: R & W Paul maltings - period
[UPDATE 6.10.2019: Having stood empty and derelict for a decade, the Grade II Listed maltings has been transformed, with the complete stripping-out of the building to reveal its original structure. A new Atrium area has been formed and the spaces converted to office use. Some of the original machinery from the R&W Paul maltings has been preserved in situ. Oh dear, the building’s original brickwork has been repaired (good) and steam-cleaned (not so good for the lettering on the facade). The photographs below show the 'almost gone' state of the 'R&W' part, with (perhaps common sense prevailed) the remainder still covered in terra cotta-coloured paint.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: RW Paul maltings 2019 a   Ipswich Historic Lettering: RW Paul maltings 2019 b2019 images

See the story of Paul's malting company on it own web-page.

There is more information about the philanthropist William F. Paul on our More almshouses page regarding the Wm. Paul Tenement Trust.

Related pages:
The Question Mark
Christie's warehouse
Bridge Street

College Street
Coprolite Street
Cranfield's Flour Mill

Custom House
Trinity House buoy
Edward Fison Ltd
Ground-level dockside furniture on: 'The island', the northern quays and Ransome's Orwell Works
Ipswich Whaling Station?
Isaac Lord

Neptune Inn clock, garden and interior
Isaac Lord 2
The Island
John Good and Sons
Merchant seamen's memorial
The Mill

Nova Scotia House
New Cut East
Quay nameplates
Steam Packet Hotel

Stoke Bridge(s)
Waterfront Regeneration Scheme
Wolsey's Gate
A chance to compare
Wet Dock 1970s with 2004
Wet Dock maps

Davy's illustration of the laying of the Wet Dock lock foundation stone, 1839
Outside the Wet Dock

Maritime Ipswich '82 festival

College Street
R. & W. Paul maltings
Stoke Bridge Maltings
Trinity House Buoy
Old Bell

Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.
Search Ipswich Historic Lettering
2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express written permission