'Let Electricity Work For You',
Coprolite Street, Grimwade Hall
Possibly the ugliest building in Ipswich up until
recently, this Electricity
sub-station with its iron-plated frontage and just-readable lettering:
Work For You' (perhaps it had a 'Let' in front of it?) lies on Duke
facing the end of Coprolite Street. The whole area is being transformed
by development and building work (whether it's an improvement on
wharves, only time will tell) and this building is no exception. The
nearby, long-disused Grimwade Memorial Hall (see below) on the corner
of Back Hamlet and Fore
Hamlet has undergone a wonderful refurbishment with decorative
stonework and restored brick details; needless to say it's now flats.
The above is now a glittering fish restaurant in glass
and chrome, Mortimers Seafood
(later Loch Fynne) having moved from a site near to the Customs House,
to be replaced by a
bistro. The shape of things to come... Now a vague memory: here's that
'LET ELECTRICITY WORK FOR YOU'
Coprolite Street gained its name from the fertiliser
plant owned by the pioneering Edward Packard built at the dock end of
this street in 1850,
which produced artificial fertilser was used to improve agricultural
Coprolites are fossil dung nodules, which are
contained in the red crag beneath large areas of eastern Suffolk. The nodules contain high levels of calcium phosphate which,
it was discovered, can be ground up and, by the application of
acid, converted into superphosphate,
better known as chemical (or artificial) fertiliser. It was first dug
in 1817 by Edmund Edwards, a farmer at Levington. The idea was
eventually taken up by Darwin's mentor, the Revd John Stevens Henslow,
one time Professor of Botany and Mineralogy at Cambridge University who
retired to become the rector of Hitcham, Suffolk. Coprolite was dug in
particular from the banks of Suffolk rivers the Orwell and the Deben.
Apparently, The inhabitants of Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin
were called treacle miners because of the coprolite that was dug there.
Apparently, the inhabitants of Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin
were called 'treacle miners' because of the coprolite that was dug
Packard's original coprolite works are now the site of the Neptune Quay
flats on one side and
Suffolk University building on the other. Below is a photograph
from the sixties(?) of the factory, the fascade with teagle door and
overhanging gantry facing the waterfront. Coprolite Street (with cars
parked) runs away from the water towards the Electricity sub-station.
Above the car nearest to the corner is affixed to the filthy 'Suffolk
whites' wall the street nameplate with superior 'T' in 'Street'.
Below: here is the 21st century street nameplate (with coloured Borough coat of arms) in more or less the same
position: today, beside the entrance to 'Neptune Marina' (tower block)
car park entrance and the corner of Coffee Link.
At the junction of Back Hamlet and Fore Hamlet sits the former 19th
century Grimwade Memorial Hall, now 35 flats. The restored building
carries lettering tablets old and new, plus an attractive stonework
doorway, both on the Fore Hamlet pavement.
OFFICIALLY OPENED BY
COLIN AND PETER GRIMWADE
30th NOVEMBER 2006
BUILT BY THE BRACEFORCE GROUP'
'THIS FOUNDATION STONE
The Grimwade name has been closely associated with
Ipswich for more than a century, with the family providing four mayors
and running a department store on the Cornhill,
which closed in1995. The Grimwade name can be also found on Hope House.
WAS LAID SEPTEMBER 9.1869, BY
F.J. SARGOOD ESQ.
EDWARD GRIMWADE. JOHN MAY.
OLIVER PRENTICE. JOSEPH F. ALEXANDER.
ARCHITECTS MESSRS. CATTERMOLE & EADE.
CONTRACTOR W.G. CUNNOLD.'
See also our Fore Street 1620 page
for an 1881 map of the area and The Steampacket Inn.
See our Street name derivations for the
nearby Grimwade Street.
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throughout the Ipswich
Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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