Ipswich Historic Lettering: CIS Co-op Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op built 1904 thumb

48-68 Carr Street Co-op
The Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society, later the Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society (or INstore) and now the East of England Co-operative Society, has a long history in the town. See updates on this page for the sorry tale of the town centre store in Carr Street. Here are photographs from September 2010 to record the lettering on the buildings before they deteriorate. We go backwards in history from Major's Corner (see Street name derivations; named after a timber-framed merchant's house, which stood where the disused Odeon cinema now stands, belonging to dyer, Joshua Major – considerable parts of this structure were dismantled and added to the rear of Christchurch Mansion: the 'dark wood rooms').  The most recent 'functional' extension to the Co-op store lies to the left behind the white lorry. It has no lettering on its simple polychrome brickwork, but housed Victoria's Bakery (an in-store franchise) in the food shop, with soft furnishings and divi offices upstairs. The
queue of people - mainly women -  down the stairs and out onto the street via the ground floor door at the corner on 'divi day' was a familiar sight. The Co-op these days does nt require the verbal repetition of a divi number, rather one has to present a magnetic strip membership card at the till and they send shareholders dividend 'cheques' by post (except during the long 2007/8 recession).

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op.10a

Shoe Department, 1928
Next up Carr Street is a white faience frontage bearing the Art Deco-style monogram:
for 'Ipswich Co-operative Society'. The red facing of the squared-off characters is offset by the 'depth' being coloured blue (enhanced image to the right, below).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op.10b  Ipswich Historic Lettering: CIS
"Further east along Carr Street, an adjoining 2 storey section also faced in white terracotta but more deeply modelled. The upper floor frontage is divided into 3 bays by Ionic pilasters; within each bay a pilaster strip subdivides the window openings which are paired groups of tall 2 light panes, with smaller paired panes above a projecting string course. A blank attic course above is divided by consoles and capped by a cornice. The final two storey section along Carr Street has a white faced terracotta first floor, with plain windows and a raised motif over the central bay."
(From the Ipswich Borough Council Local List, see Links)

Grocery Department, 1915/16

This connects with a pale brick extension of similar size, which doesn't bear any lettering. Soaring up from this we find the much more decorative frontage shown below. Cased in white tile with blue lettered shield - a different configuration of:
there are finials, swags, friezes and dentition above the lettering:
replete with colon in 'Co:op' and full stop at the end. The whole name smacks of the industrial revolution, the Fabian Society and social change. We have a large, cast iron mangle with the interlaced letters 'CWS' ('Co-operative Wholesale Society') in its design.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op.10c
"...dates from 1914 and continues the glazing, string course and parapet theme of the first and second floors of the adjoining no. 48, but in a simpler Edwardian style, faced with white terracotta bricks. Large rectangular bronze window panel at first floor level, the plate glass panes separated by bronze square section columns and subdivided by a thin, flat bronze transom; the narrow upper section has decorative leadwork and stained glass. Above, in raised bronze letters applied to the terracotta fascia, ‘Ipswich Industrial Cooperative Society Limited’; the fascia capped by a dentilled cornice. On the second floor, rectangular windows, the central one divided into 3 lights by mullions, set within a shallow relief frame moulded into the terracotta. At parapet level the central bay is higher , with garlands and other motifs in white terracotta." (From the Ipswich Borough Council Local List, see Links)

48 Carr Street: Central Drapery, 1908
The next building bears the most recognisable lettering in Ipswich, perhaps. Like the best of the working class movements, The Co-op has a sterling illustrated symbol: the clasped hands and stirring motto:
The architecture here boasts ball finials, dentitioned cornice, pediments and that unmistakable curving corner with curved glass in the windows below. The image below right has a touch of sunlight on the famous sign showing the depth of the relief characters of 'FOR EACH'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op.10d Ipswich Historic Lettering: Each For All 2011
It is interesting to note that the Public Sculpture in Norfolk and Suffolk database (see Links) attributes this relief date, emblem and lettering to Harvey Winkworth, built in 1907-08.
It is worth noting the window junctions at the first floor level on this building. The shaking hands are repeated beneath the main motto:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coop Carr 12013 images
A sickle emblem appears twice. The netted version below is on the Cox Lane elevation: from the ground it resembles nothing less than a question mark.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coop Carr 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coop Carr 2a
Below: two from the Cox Lane side showing a traditional bee hive – with giant bees –  and the wheat sheaf we see on the Colchester Co-op. The latter is repeated on the Carr Street elevation.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coop Carr 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coop Carr 4

Cox Lane
This takes us up to the mouth of Cox Lane (itself spanned by two covered foot bridges between the above building and (below) the original Co-op town centre store: the Central Premises. It was only in early 2012 that we realised that a date was carved in the masonry on the oldest building beneath one of the bridges: '1884'. This is of interest as the date of building given in the official history of the Co-op is 1886. At the time it was one of the largest buildings in Ipswich. It contained the Outfitting Dept. with offices and Large and Small Halls on the 1st and 2nd floors. The impressive Large Hall played host to flower shows, exhibitions and dances. It was able to seat 800 people, but during the First World War it was requisitioned as a dormitory for troops.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op date 1 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op date 2
While we're in Cox Lane, it's worth looking at the, er, functional rear-end of the 'modernist' Co-op from Cox Lane car park. In 2013 while everyone waits to see what, if anything, will happen to the complex these enormous blue letters proclaim a shop which is hardly there these days.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Cox Lane
To the left over the narrow part of Cox Lane is a mosaic mural.
The Public Sculpture in Norfolk and Suffolk database (see Links): "The large mosaic shows a woman - her yellow hair outlined against the grey background- holding a sheaf of corn in her hands. To the left are two doves and to the right a hand holding a caduceus - the emblem of Mercury who is shown with his winged helmet. There is a further large bird in brown and a long necked sea creature reminiscent of the Loch Ness monster.  Mercury was the Roman god of commerce and here he is joined by doves - the emblems of peace- and a woman harvesting to celebrate the extension of the Carr street Co-op in 1962 in a spirited rendering inspired by Picasso."

38 Carr Street: Central Premises, 1884-86
It wasn't until 2013 that we happened upon the hard-to-spot foundation stone for the original Co-op store on the corner of Cox Lane and Carr Street:
JAN. 21ST 1885


Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op foundation stone2013 image
[UPDATE 3.7.2014:Mark Sommers, to whom our thanks, sends this second version of the Co-op foundation stone to be found round the corner in Cox Lane. It reads:

JAN. 21ST 1885


Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op foundation stone 2Photograph courtesy Mark Sommers

Here are the Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society's  'Central Premises' (Outfitters  and Drapery department). The corner spire - which echoes the long-demolished East Anglian Daily Times printworks over the road - and rooftop wrought iron railings surmount a veritable white brick cathedral of retail. In 2010 the only Co-op presence in this 38 Carr Street building (apart, presumably from some offices above) was the chemist, optician, travel agency and disabled mobility shop down Cox Lane. By 2014 the last two of these had gone.

"38 Carr Street. 1884-85. Architect. JE Goodey. 3 storey Suffolk white brick commercial building, slate mansard roof with cast iron railing. 2 chimneys. Highly decorative brickwork to Carr Street and Cox Lane frontages. Stone string and dentilled eaves course. Slate roofed turret to Cox Lane corner with lead finial. Carr St - windows grouped 3, 4 and 3 with 1 window in pediment end. Right hand side 3 window range to turret, 2 light sashes. Cox Lane – windows grouped 3, 1, 2 and 3 with similar pediment over single window. 4 and 16 light sashes with keystone feature to stone arched heads. Ground floor – modern shopfronts."
(From the Ipswich Borough Council Supplementary Local List, see Links)

Above the retail floors at ground and the showroomas and offices on the first storey level is a room (the Co-operative Hall: "the handsomest hall in Ipswich") big enough to seated 800 people and 1,200 people for 19th century political rallies. It was converted into a banking hall in the 1980s. An interesting detail about the beginnings of the Co-op on this site is that the initial, rented premises were at 34 Carr Street (1867 to 1875) before a move into the old Wellington Inn two doors down which boasted a reading room and a meeting room – essential to the Co-operators. 34 Carr Street was eventually demolished to make way for Woolworths store. Initially, the ground floor of the Central Premises were divided into seven separate shops: grocery, boots & shoes, outfitting, drapery, hardware & furnishing with two separate butchers' shops (pork butchers were a separate undertaking in 1884. Another interesting feature of the Central Premises is the presence of extensive basements beneath the shops. During excavations pottery kilns were found with
evidence of Ipswich Ware which was made between AD 650 and 850, the Middle Saxon period; it was the only pottery of this period to be distributed throughout most of this country and abroad and has a characteristic structure.
[Additionl information taken from John Norman's 'Ipswich Icons' article, EADT, 19.4.14]

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op.10e
Above: Victorian splendour – the 1884-5 gothic palace of retail. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so it's little surprise to view the artist's impression (devoid of nearby buildings across Cox Lane) in this engraving of around 1886:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op period 2 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op period 1 co-opperiod3.jpg
However, the photograph taken before 1908 (above, centre) shows a glimpse of an attractive timber-framed building (probably a former merchant's house) which stood across the lane from the Co-op store. The third image shows it in full. In current heritage-sensitive times, we would give our eye teeth to preserve something of such historic significance and beauty. Ironic, then, to read that in order to make way for the 'Each For All' furniture and drapery store, this fine structure was dismantled and repotedly sent to America/destroyed by fire (this can be read in a number of sources). The building is reported to have been sold at auction to Mr Harris, a builder, for 75 (with the condition that it was pulled down and the site cleared within 21 days). We wondered if that building still exists and where it might be today. That is, until...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op periodImage courtesy Lisa Psarianos
Above: the image of this rather good watercolour of the house, signed by Howard Penton, has been contributed by Lisa Psarianos (who also told us about the Franco-British catalogue images – see below), to whom our thanks. We would guess that the date would be late 19th to early 20th century. Clearly
"The Tudor House was acquired by a London firm of antique dealers who specialised in complete interiors and indeed whole houses. It was exhibited by them at the Franco-British Exhibition, White City, London in 1908 where it was bought and then added to a house at Ashby St Ledgers, Northants.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tudor House Co-op 2Ashby St Ledgers
I'm writing an article about the Wool Hall in Lavenham that was partially dismantled with a view to re-erection elsewhere, and am including references to some other buildings (such as the Ipswich one) that were actually moved. I found your website via Google -- 'Carr Street Cox Lane 1908' or something like that -- and it is full of interest. Best wishes, James Bettley." When it was sold in 2015, the estate agents's description of Ashby St Ledgers included this: "The Great Hall also links to the Ipswich Wing, formed from a 17th Century timber framed building and surrounding an internal courtyard. The ground floor of the Ipswich Wing forms an inner hall or sitting room with painted frieze work and beyond this a library with painted panelling."

James continues that the stories of the building either being destroyed by fire or being sold to America are false. The publication of his research for the Suffolk Pevsner volumes occurred in 2015 (see Reading list). Better still he has given us permission to publish his postcard (below) of the building on show in
a surrealist fantasy setting at the Franco-British Exhibition at White City, London in 1908. Many thanks to James for his contribution.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tudor House Co-opImage courtesy Dr James Bettley
Below is another view of the actual exhibit which is taken from the official catalogue of the
Franco-British Exhibition in 1908. Clearly the dormer windows of the original building were dispensed with in the reconstruction. Seek out the whole Franco-British Exhibition publication on Flickr to view all of the astonishing architecture erected for the exhibition. So much of it was painted white that this area near Shepherds Bush in west London became known as White City, much later home to the BBC Television Centre. This process is similar to the naming of Crystal Palace – near Sydenham in south London – where the glass-and-iron structures which had housed The Great Exhibition of 1851 had been re-erected, the name persisiting after the 'palace' itself had been destroyed by fire.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tudor House Co-op 2
A footnote to the merchant's house which once stood on the corner of Carr Street and Cox Lane can be found in Blatchly, J.: A famous antient seed-plot... (see Reading list). Looking once again at the third of the three period images showing the top of Cox Lane, Dr Blatchly quotes a Tudor deed which refers to the large building as Parminters and to the house to the left of Parminters as 'Donachers'. However, "earlier deeds refer to the smaller house as Bonmachers, obviously belonging to the Bonmarche family prominent in fifteenth century Ipswich. As Cox Lane was often referred to in early deeds as the lane leading from Carr Street to the Grammar school house [in Foundation Street] these buildings would have been a familiar sight to boys making their way to school from the north of the town." [For more on the ancient schools see our pages on Wolsey's College and Christ's Hospital School.]

A final glance back towards Major's Corner show the curve in Carr Street as the buildings descend in grandeur, height and age.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op.10f

In 2004 partial renovation of the Carr Street Co-op gave the whole store a facelift, but sadly the original gothic palace of retailing that was the first of the main Co-op stores was sold off to Shoefayre and Poundland.
[UPDATE: 2009 - The East of England Co-op seems to have started a chain of events which has had a major effect on this series of shops in Carr Street. Midlands Co-op purchased the Somerfield food store chain, thereby losing some prime sites, e.g. in Saxmundham where it was thought not appropriate for a second Co-op owned food shop, so Somerfield went and Waitrose jumped in. Even more bizarrely, as the Co-op food shop in Carr Street had been shrunk to a third of its original size to accomodate electrical goods after the loss of the original Co-op store further up the road to Poundland, a Midland Co-op owned Somerfield food store opened up a hundred yards away across the road, opposite the now defunct Woolworths. Most of the non-food Co-op stores in the region have been sold off, including that in central Ipswich, to a company called Vergo. This makes all the lettered signifiers of the Co-operative movement
still existing on these buildings particularly piquant.]
OH DEAR! [UPDATE August 2010: This page is now of historical interest only. Having largely shifted out of their original emporium and let the site to, er... Poundland, the East Of England Co-op, in their wisdom, "let" the rest of the store to a company called Vergo which has now gone bust under a bit of a cloud. The rake of buildings shown above (with lettering, of course) remains empty and unloved. Who knows what will become of them? ... And, irony of ironies: by early 2012, Somerfield's up the road has closed and is now SpecSavers.]

DOUBLE OH DEAR!! [UPDATE 5.11. 2019: Plans for a new school to be built on the site of the Co-operative department store east of Cox Lane will involve demolition of the whole string of buildings, thus dramatically altering the street view in this part of Ipswich. The original store to the west of Cox Lane is being converted into accomodation while the bridges over upper Cox Lane will be removed. Because of this, we must document the facades one-by-one before they disappear, although they certainly look a bit sorry for themselves in 2019. The success of the original 1884 store led to the steady development of new extensions eastwards in different architectural styles as buildings became available, were demolished and replaced by further additions to the store.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op 12019 images
Above: Edwardian classic – the 1908 building across Cox Lane from the original 1884 gothic Co-operative store.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op 2  
Above: Art Deco white faience – moving eastwards is the faience-faced facade with the swags and circular 'ICS' motif and 'IPSWICH INDUSTRIAL CO:OPERATIVE SOCIETY LIMITED.' above the second storey level.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op 2a
The close-up shows the three-dimensionality of the monogram with the blue colouring slightly enhanced. It's probable that the letters stand for 'Ipswich Co-operative Society', however, some Co-op monograms include both the initials for 'Industrial' and the town name (for example, in Kettering). Many other Industrial Co-operative buildings across the country include the names of the local societies spelt out in full, often cut into the building fabric. In the Ipswich example here, there is damage to areas of the facade, noticeably on the lower left-hand scroll of the cartouche.
Historical note: 'E&S Joint CWS' was the Co-op's 'English & Scottish Tea Society'. As well as packaging tea, they also made chocolate (in Luton): sold under the 'Lutona' brand. [Thanks to John Norman for this titbit of information.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op 3
Above: decorative/functional – somewhat shorter in stature, this apparently stone-faced building features pilasters and other features. The stone mullions in the upper leaded windows are above a cornice which divides the fenestration horizontally (and penetrates the pillaster).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op 3a
the stone mullions in the upper leaded windows are above a cornice which divides the fenestration horizontally (and penetrates the pillaster); the warmer colour here contrasts with the cooler Art Deco beside it.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Carr Street 19281928 image
Above: a 1928 fold-out panorama from the book Through Sixty Years published by The Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society in March 1928 (prepared on the Diamond Jubilee of the Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society). This panorama shows the functions and dates of construction of each store as they were added at the east (although out of date sequence). It is clear that the 1915 'Central Grocery annd Tearoom' lost its pediment at a later date. All the ground floor shop frontages changed over time, as did their specialisms. The lettering above the ground floor on the store at the east side of Cox Lane has the Edwardian ring of: 'MILLINERY ... MANTLES ... DRAPERY".
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op 4    
Above: Industrial Deco – the, presumably, 1930s Art Deco faience facade with the somewhat more austere 'ICS' geometric logo.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op 4a
The material is certainly showing its age with with cracking particularly noticeable on the panel bearing the monogram. Again, the three-dimensionality of the characters becomes clear, with the 'I' projecting furthest forward, then the 'C', then the 'S' recedes the furthest.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op 5
Above: the final building, just before the 'Temptation' gates, in two-colour brick. Above the angled corner doorway is reversed-out street nameplate for the beginning of 'CARR STREET'.

53-61 Carr Street: Hardware Department
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op /Argos2013 image
A 'lost' part of the Co-op, perhaps See update below)? During the facelift of the string of linked shops in Carr Street (which consists of new doors and a big white strip above all the windows on the ground floor...), we noticed this ghost of lettering: 'CO-OPERATIVE', surely, hovering above the entrance to Argos over the road. Does anyone remember a time when the Co-op occupied this relatively new building, which presumably went up after demolition of the East Anglian Daily Times printworks and the erection of 'Carr Precinct' (boo!)? Perhaps the sign caught fire - hence the marks on the beige brickwork – or it could just be dirt.
[UPDATE April 2015: we learn from John Norman's 'Ipswich Icons' column (Ipswich Star 10.2.2015) that "The Co-op built a new store for their hardware department across Carr Street (later occupied by Argos) and purchased the former Duke of Kent public house at number 10 Upper Orwell Street which became their funeral parlour." This solves the problem of the Co-op empire jumping across the road at one point in its history. A modern extension
which fronted Upper Barclay Street – behind the main store – later acted as a hardware shop and garden centre.]
[UPDATE 7.10.2015: "Dear Borin, Thank you for your letter.  I doubt if you will recall the circumstances of our earlier correspondence; in fact you were very helpful to me in my quest to learn about my paternal grandfather's business/religious-meeting premises in Carr Street around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.  I also very much enjoyed your Lettering website and am pleased you have managed to salvage it.  I can't recall if I sent you the findings of my research into the connection between my grandfather, Harold Hulcupp Withers, and Ipswich so have attached it herewith in case of interest.  Should you find anything within it to be of use to your website, please feel free to publish. Best wishes, David Withers”. Many thanks to David for this fascinating glimpse of one man’s life in Ipswich and Suffolk at that time; click on the link to view the material.]

29-31 Carr St
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op : Maplin 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op : Maplin 32018 images
[UPDATE 30.9.2018: Two shop units, part of the modernised former Carr Precinct site, were until 2018 occupied by the Maplin electronics chain, when the business went into receivership. The link with the Co-op is quite subtle: 'Not sure this is historic enough for interest, but I noticed the attached on Friday morning at the former Maplin store. I have a vague memory that Knightingales may have been a furniture store, but I could be wrong. The other photo shows the turquoise sign which was from when it was Somerfield (before it closed, after the merger with Co-op). Regards, Jeff Allum.' Many thanks to Jeff for spotting this example of 'churn' in the businesses occupying this (and other) parts of the town centre – not least because it encapsulates the swallowing-up of the Somerfield supermarkets in 2008/9 by the Co-op, closure of the store at this address and the sale of the main Co-op store to the short-lived Vergo, then eventual total closure.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op : Maplin 1The shops as the Maplin store

See also, further up Carr Street, a 1905 postcard of the East Anglian Daily Times building on our Symonds for Kodaks page.

Upper Orwell Street: Funeral Parlour
Just round the corner from the Carr Street premises at 10 Upper Orwell Street are the premises formerly occupied by the Co-op Funeral Service (now located at 47 St Helens Street, a large house originally built as a residence for a doctor). The attractive fascade bears the clear date:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Funeral Service2012 images
[UPDATE 13.12.12: It was only in 2012 that we heard that this was the former Duke of Kent public house, closed on November 7 1965. The last owner was Tolly Cobbold but licencees are listed from 1855 to 1956 (see Links for Suffolk CAMRA site). The photograph below shows the public house from early 20th century(?) replete with hanging pub sign, projecting sign over the central door, with the usual 'Cobbold's fine ales ... Wines & spirits' standing proud of a white-painted band on the wall above the ground-floor windows.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Duke of Kent period
See our Pubs & off-licences page for further examples.

36 Foxhall Road: local Co-op store
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Fohall Rd Coop 1906Foxhall Rd Co-op, opened 1906
Meanwhile, the very heart of the Co-op beats in its smaller local shops and neighbourhood premises.  The early 20th century postcard (above) shows four male srtaff in their ankle-legth aprons; also two female staff, in their black dresses, confined to the shadow of the lefyt entrance – presumably the young man in dark suit and cap is a passer-by. The typically Edwardian shop-front shows 'IPSWICH INDUSTRIAL CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD.' above the shop windows displaying clothing, food and other goods; the windows are illuminated by verhead gas lamps.
Here we see an interesting repeat of the Carr Street store symbol and motto high above the Foxhall Road branch (close to the junction with Back Hamlet) where the triangular upper section suggests a much bigger building than that which actually lay behind it:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Foxhall Rd 1
Here the suitably cuffed, obviously male, clasped hands appear from beneath a furling banner in a slightly surreal conjunction. The banner bears the motto:
The whole is set in a semicircular moulding and flanked by smaller versions containing sculptural scallop shells. The scroll is particularly flamboyant, its pointed pennant ends terminated with bobbles.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Fohall Rd 2a
[UPDATE November, 2004: the whole of the above shop on Foxhall Road disappeared. No chance of reistatement of the above lettering. Here's the void prior to rebuilding during 2005 and the brand new shop, now set back from the pavement in September. The only lettering built into the frontage is the dated roundel which commemorates the buiding of the original shop in 1906. More roundels.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Fohall Rd Co-op gone   Ipswich Historic Lettering: New Co-op Foxhall Road  
From here it is only a short walk to Ruskin House and the Blooming Fuchsia on Foxhall Road.
[UPDATE April 2012: It was several years – not to mention several visits to the store – before we realised that the crest and its motto had indeed been saved by those demolishing the old shop and it now takes pride of place within the entrance to the left - it's even visible on our original 2006 photograph of the new store! We can now take it off the 'These we have lost' page...]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Foxhall Rd Co-op
The caption on the polished plate below reads: 'This stone was removed from the original food store on this site which opened in 1906. The design and motto was adopted as the official seal of the Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd on its foundation in 1868. A similar stone can be found on the society's store in Carr Street, Ipswich, which was built in 1908 [shown above].'

113 Cauldwell Hall Road: local Co-op store and stables

And just to prove that the Co-op consistently adorned the most modest of its buildings:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cauldwell Hall Rd Co-op 1
2012 images
'BUILT   ...   1896'
These beautifully designed art-nouveau influenced monograms stand high on light coloured brick pillars at either side of a goods entrance between the two gables beside the Co-op shop in Cauldwell Hall Road. The importance of this branch and depot (the central bakery was close by on the site of the present Springlands Close, off Upland Road – see the period image below) may account for such splendid lettering. To the left we surely have the word 'BUILT'; to the right the date '1896', both are intertwined and include a vine/leaf motif. A metal roller door now occupies the entrance between. It's interesting to compare this with the rather more florid '1900' date further down Cauldwell Hall Road on the corner of Freehold Road.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cauldwell Hall Rd Co-op 2
"Stables and Bakery, Ipswich Co-op Society, Cauldwell Hall Road. 1896. Architect: Eade and Johns. Mixed use site built at the back of the pavement, facing the main road. Red brick, Suffolk white brick, blue engineering brick and stone dressings. Slate roofs. The street frontage is split between a 2 storey retail outlet and a double gabled stables block. The retail frontage has a modern shopfront; on the first floor, sash windows with margin lights and a small round headed window. The stable frontage has a large central door (now fitted with a modern roller shutter) between white brick pilasters; the large plain gabled bays are to either side of this. The left hand gable has an original entrance between segmental headed windows with metal glazing bars. Right hand entrance is blocked. White brick quoins. Above, in both gables, original loading doors at first floor level set between windows and a louvered panel, the whole grouped under under depressed white brick arches with keystones. On the roof, a louvered vent under a pyramidal lead roof." (From the Ipswich Borough Council Local List, see Links)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Bakery period
Above: the Co-op's Ipswich Central Bakery on the west side of Cauldwell Hall Road (1920s?): reported at the time to one of the finest bakeries in the district, consisting of six draw-plate ovens heated by gas. The buildings were demolished in the 1960s to make way for Springland Close, off Upland Road.
The monogrammed capitals on the above building find echoes on
Morpeth House (1893), a terra cotta house fascade on Aldeburgh's seafront (1898) and Sudbury's Masonic Hall (1886); also the Surbiton Road Co-op (1904) – next example.
Colchester also boasts a large Co-op store with an intriguing motto, now run by another retailer; also Harwich has a similar Co-op motto.

203 Bramford Lane
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Bramford Lane 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Bramford Lane 12016 images  
Paul S. Smith spotted this fine example (thanks Paul). The Co-op store in Bramford Lane is a typical neighbourhood branch. As the building turns the corner of Surbiton Road (just to the upper right of the street nameplate in the photograph above left), a breast of brickwork descends from the eves which bears the double monogram:
'BUILT ... 1904'
This is very similar to the features which appear next to the Cauldwell Hall Road branch (shown above). The side wall on Surbiton Road displays some interesting architectural features with an attractive gable.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Bramford Lane 4   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Co-op Bramford Lane 2
Similar 'BUILT...DATE' monograms can also be found at Morpeth House, and on buildings in Aldeburgh and Sudbury.

Vernon Street: the first Ipswich Co-op store
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Vernon Street Co-op 12012 images
This photograph taken from Austin Street with the public house Uncle Tom's Cabin (centre) shows the rear of Vernon Street Co-operative store, the earliest co-op to be opened in Ipswich.  The tablet included in this recently rebuilt elevation indicates this:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Vernon Street Co-op 1
On the Vernon Street side we find the refurbished frontage with a 'seventies to nineties'-style logo in the  keystone over the central window:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Vernon Street Co-op 2

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Vernon Street Co-op period
Vernon Street Co-op in 1928

19 Ulster Avenue
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ulster Avenue Co-op 12021 images courtesy Ed Broom
[UPDATE 11 .3.2021: 'On a tour of Ipswich Co-ops I ventured round the back of the Ulster Avenue branch and found some great lettering. Those white-rimmed doorways are topped with the names of various departments -- working up, these read 'BUTCHER, GROCERY, PHARMACY', with entrances to 'FLAT 1 / 2 / 3' interspersed. By the way, that access road is now known as McClure Way in memory of Aaron McClure, a Westbourne lad who became a Private in the Royal Anglians and died aged 19 in Afghanistan.  I'm somewhat more familiar with it having gone to Whitehouse Infants, Whitehouse Juniors, then Westbourne, all of which are within spitting distance of that branch (where my Mum used to work). If you've never been to that part of town, Ulster Avenue is worth a look with its peculiar up-one-side and down-the-other road system. From there it's a suburban stroll up Waterford Road then across Meredith Road park to Norwich Road and Whitton. Be seeing you – Ed Broom.' Many thanks to Ed for enabling us to include a branch – and indeed road – with which we were unfamiliar.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ulster Avenue Co-op 2
The rectilinear 1930s architecture of this store continues down to the dressings of the doorways which embody centralised panels carrying sans serif capitals – perhaps in Gill Sans or, even more seductively, Johnston letterforms. The original building has suffered the usual 'modernisations' to damage the overall appearence: air conditioning units, brackets carrying barbed wire, dangling cable, a 'shed' over the external electricity meterand probably the safety rails at first floor level.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ulster Avenue Co-op 32018 image
The refurbished frontage of the store gives little hint of the design at the rear.

The published history of the Co-op in the area provides many interesting facts and photographs from its inception in 1869 to the end of the twentieth century:
'People & Places: A pictorial history'. Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society Limited, 2000 (ISBN 0953966305). This was, suitably, offered to those distinguished Ipswich residents who maintain the fine tradition of daily milk delivery and copies of the book were delivered to their doors by their roundsmen and roundswomen, so they got their divi, too.  [Update 2009 - sadly, going hand-in-hand (no pun intended) with the selling off of the main store in Carr Street, the Co-op sold their milk business to Dairy Crest and their roundsmen are becoming franchisees, no longer employed by D.C.]

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