Ipswich Historic Lettering: Lettering logo small

Links / Reading List (scroll down) / Some comments about the site towards the bottom of the page

General History of Ipswich
History of Medieval Ipswich
at http://www.trytel.com/~tristan/towns/ipswich1.html Stephen Alsford's excellent and extensive website on early Ipswich (one of several capsule histories of East Anglian towns): includes good links section.
Forebears website. Some nice, lengthy accounts of the town's history (dated 1802-29); we think that this is the result of Optical Character Recognition scanning of original text, but it's still worth reading. There are also links from this site to all sorts of genealogical resources.
A brief history of Ipswich by Tim Lambert.
UK Genealogy Archives.  The Ipswich page is very informative (Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5: spelling and turn of phrase idiosyncratic!); with links to further sources.
Local History Online: for news, resources, information, courses and nearly 1,000 local history links. Also a calendar of events and local history books for sale online.

Painted wall signs
('Ghost signs') & mosaic shop steps
[Note: this is a growing area of interest to enthusiasts; try putting 'Ghost signs' into  a search engine for additional collections.]
W.J. Leggett paintings  (Art UK site). Dennis Bugg recommended this website in March 2012 for which our thanks. "This website records paintings in Ipswich Museum. W.J. Leggett was a sign writer based in Dogs Head Street. He appears to have recorded many examples sign writing in Ipswich in the nineteenth century." 53 fascinating, slightly naive architectural studies (with, ironically, even more naive foreshortening on the building lettering); he includes his own premises and trade sign. Probably early-mid 19th century.
Ann Williams' enviable collection of tradesmen's lettering, mosaic doorways, brewery insignia, mileposts and much more. Includes the Lymington Rand & Sons sign.
Painted signs and mosaics.  Sebastien Ardouin's fine blog of 'Ghost signs' and mosaics; includes the Spitalfields Gillette sign and many more.
Ghost signs Sam Roberts' excellent site linked to his book (see Reading list, below).
History of Advertising Trust (HAT). Set up to photograph, research and archive the last survivors of this fading advertising medium: advertisements painted by hand directly onto the brickwork of buildings in the U.K.
Home of the Ghostsigns Project. A collaborative national effort to photograph, research and archive the remaining examples of hand painted wall advertising in the UK and Ireland. Links to the archive galleries in the HAT site (above).

Enthusiast sites
Collage of Ipswich lettering (on Flickr) by Alan Brignull. Just up our street, as they say.
Freston.net. Ed Broom's site of Ipswich arcana, including TFG: things 'Taken For Granted' in the town. Also...
The Seven Wonders Of Ipswich. Intriguing, huh? At least one of these Wonders is no longer there.
Planet Ipswich. Stephen Pestle's intriguing website dedicated to detailing the history, geography, people & interesting facts about the suprising number of places around the globe
named after our town.
Cheltonia - a site after our own collective heart - gives all sorts of insight into the history of Cheltenham.
Ray Whitehand's Suffolk Historical Reserch Service website has a biography of Scarborrow architect J.S. Corder.

Special subject areas
Archaeology in Ipswich: full archived reports of 36 excavations on 34 sites (1974-1990) carried out by the Suffolk Archaeological Unit (subsequently under SCC) under the direction of Keith Wade; finally made avilable in 2015.
   also A history of archaeology in Ipswich and of its Anglo-Saxon origins by Keith Wade on the Ipswich Archaeological Trust website. See also Suffolk Heritage Explorer, listed below.
   also Ipswich Urban Archaeological Database a map-linked, publicly accessible Urban Archaeological Database (UAD) for Ipswich.
Bramford Local History Group with its commentary on the Bramford School plaques.
Breakdown Crane Association has many pictures of Railway Breakdown Cranes manufactured by Ransomes & Rapier Ltd. [Thanks to David Withers for drawing this site to our attention.]
Brewery History Society: Defunct Brewery Liveries with interesting descriptions and pictures of Tolly Cobbold, Lacons and other lettering.

Bricks: Old Bricks - history at your feet for David Sallery's fascinating resource on the brick-making industry and the lettering in brick frogs (e.g. Wherstead and Mobberley examples). Now run by David Kitching.
Britain from above: a remarkable, ever-growing resource of aerial photographs from the Aerofilms archive (1919 - 1953) with a good selection (six pages)  for Ipswich, especially the river, docks and Crane's site on Nacton Road. Set up an account for free, log in and you can view, zoom in on images and download them at will – as long as you're not using them in a way which is income-generating.
British Relay TV on Facebook: relating to the green junction boxes in Ipswich: Jefferies Road, Warwick Road and
Fuschia Lane, Gippeswyk Avenue.
Carl Giles Archive at the University of Kent of the Ipswich cartoon maestro as seen in Giles Circus.
CAMRA's Suffolk Real Ale Guide. See our Pubs & Off Licences page for lettering on licensed premised, often owing a debt to CAMRA. Particularly useful for Hope House in Foxhall Road.
Children's homes: the institutions that became home for Britain's children and young people, website by Peter Higginbotham, expert on Workhouses (see his website below in this section).
Cobbold Family History Trust: a remarkable web resource, maintained by Anthony Cobbold, dealing with that famous Ipswich brewing family and many other aspects.
Cyclists' Touring Club who use our Upper Brook Street image (on the Roundels page) of the CTC emblem in their Winged Wheels collection.
Electric Palace vintage cinema, Old Harwich, Essex.
Fore Street Facelift 1961 see under Ipswich Society.
Garton & King ironfounders, Exeter, makers of street furniture. as featured on our Street furniture page.
Grace's Guide to British Industrial History: Robert Boby, Engineer; as seen in Tavern Street and Museum Street Methodist Church. Grace's Guide is the leading source of information about industry and manufacturing in Britain from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the present.
Great War Home Hospitals site run by Heather Johnson covers 1914-1918: Home Hospitals, within 20 mile radius of Colchester, Essex, England. Included here is a page on The East Suffolk & Ipswich Hospital (as shown on our Old hospitals page).

KindredSpiritUK on the Flickr site for a David Kindred's huge collection of vintage photographs.
Leiston Works Railway website which has a gallery of photographs of the Aldeburgh branch line's spur to Garrett's.
Lost Pubs Project, for Ipswich. Includes the former  Eagle Tavern which has the 'Palmer's Door Mats' sign and the Mermaid ('Meremayd') on the same page.
Old maps
Archi UK Maps features a late Victorian/Edwardian map with a slider to gradually reveal the modern street layout – invaluable. Also covers historical/archaeological sites.
NLS map project (a project run by the National Library of Scotland) which includes all of the mainland UK, including Ipswich, of course. See our NLS page for links to individual Ipswich maps. One of the most useful features is the 'Side-by-side' option where you can see a historical map on the left and a current map on the right. As you move/zoom around one, the adjacent map moves/zooms too. Now includes
a slider to gradually reveal the modern street layout (satellite image).
'Suffolk Heritage Explorer' interactive map (brilliant), see the entry below.
A vision of Britain through time is a useful resource (run by the University of Portsmouth) for both maps and places in the town.
Charles Goad insurance plans of Ipswich, 1909: Charles Goad produced large scale maps of town centres, initially for insurance purposes and later for retail analysis of floor area etc. They still do this under the name of Experian Goad. They are beautiful maps and if, as a business, you bought a set – to keep an eye on competitors for example – every so often a Goad representative would come and update your map by pasting 'Corrections' on it.

Manhole covers: The ultimate manhole covers site
. Says it all really – the nichest of the niche. Just up our street, so to speak.
Museum of Knots & Sailors Ropework, Ipswich, Des and Liz Pawson's project reflecting a lost craft from Ipswich maritime history. A remarkable, unique collection – now held at Chatham Royal Dockyard Museum.
Playford Village website is full of interest about this small, but historical vicinity.

Public sculpture in Ipswich
Artathon a website version of an Ipswich Borough Council publication from 2012. Unfortunately, while the entries (photograph, attribution, description) are excellent the art trails referred to are missing. You will have to design your own art trails. An updated edition would be appreciated.

Public Sculpture in Norfolk and Suffolk database (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association with University of East Anglia). A selection of these works forms the basis of the book Cocke, Richard & Sarah: Public sculpture of Norfolk and Suffolk (see Reading list below). Very wide-ranging and absorbing, but a numer of errors.
Public art in Ipswich: PDF of a booklet published by The Ipswich Society in January 2021. Accessed via the Society's website (see under 'Organisations', below).

Simon's Suffolk Churches Simon Knott's excellent site covering over 600 Suffolk churches including the large number in Ipswich.

Sir John Soane's Museum, Lincoln's Inn, London; see Soane Street for his (tentative?) links with Ipswich.
Stopped Clocks. A niche website (like ours!) which encourages the restoration of public clocks which are stranded in time. Pictures of the Leeds Time Ball Building clocks.
Suffolk Heritage Explorer – the web-based version of the Suffolk Historic Environment Record, the definitive record of the known archaeological sites and historic buildings in the county. Run by Suffolk County Council. The map section (click on 'Explore the interactive map') is excellent and worth its weight in gold. You can tick-box features to be dispayed in different colours: Monuments, Events, Listed buildings, Registered parks & gardens. You can then zoom in to individual buildings, the house number is shown with a link to the Listing entry, if you wish to view that.
Suffolk Marquees. The company occupies the old stables in Stoke Hall Road and invited us down to photograph the tunnels beneath.
Suffolk Mills Group preserves the heritage of Suffolk's wind and water mills. See the Ipswich windmills document.
Suffolk Milestones site which details over 100 milestones and includes an interactive map of all seven Ipswich milestones. See also the Milestone Society  website: of great interest to roadside lettering-spotters.
Theatres and Halls in Ipswich a website with information about the Tankard/Theatre Royal in Tacket Street and much more.
Tolly Cobbold Brewery History. The story of the brewery buildings at Cliff Quay.

urban75 website featuring Brixton photographs, including the Bovril sign featured here.
Village pumps is Dick William's  delightful site surveying this central feature of bygone village and town life throughout the U.K. with a good section on Suffolk pumps.
War memorials (Ipswich) website. A remarkable project emanating from the Sergeant-at-Arms' office of Ipswich Borough Council due to the efforts of by a small group of dedicated people, self-funded, wishing to digitally preserve images and information in recognition of so many Ipswich residents lives. This takes at its starting point the names of lost soldiers listed on the cenotaph in Christchurch Park, then attempts with great success to trace the last address, occupation, family etc. of the deceased. It intersects with the Ipswich Historic Lettering website in its reliance on public lettering and its opening-up of local social history, often from untapped sources of information and images from private family archives. It has grown like Topsy to encompass war memorials all over Ipswich including the Field of Remembrance in Ipswich Old Cemetery. Well worth dipping into, particularly if you have a relative who died in war.
War memorials: '
Hidden Commemoration (Waveney valley) 2014-2018' includes a delightful gallery of Bungay street nameplates.
Wenhaston.net for information about the 16th century Doom painting.
Women in history (Ipswich) is a fine testament to those people 'hidden from history': the women who excelled and had influence in many areas of activity within Ipswich and much further afield. The site was based on the celebration of the centenary of a suffragette boycott of the census in 2011 at the original Museum building in Museum Street.
Women's Land Army. Cherish Watton's excellent collection of information and images about the Land Girls. See our Hope House page for their connection to our website.
Workhouse - The Story of the Workhouse in Britain Peter Higginbotham's wonderful odyssey through the lost world of the Union Workhouse in Britain; contains a section on Ipswich, but no mention of BelleVue Retreat, sadly.

Ipswich Borough Council
    Listed buildings/structures (as Listed Grade I, Grade II*, Grade II by English Heritage, giving address only: there are over 700 such buildings in Ipswich. See also the British Listed Buildings website, below, for specific details of Listed structures). See also the Suffolk Heritage Explorer (shown in the section above) whose interactive map pins down Listed buildings with a link to the relevant Listing text.
    IBC's Local List: buildings and structures of historical/architectural interest, but not on the English Heritage national List. These would formerly have been Listed Grade III. This supplementary list on the Borough website is in addition to the original printed Local List printed in 1984.; see Reading List below.
    Colchester and Ipswich Museums. Official site for Ipswich Museum and Christchurch Mansion.
British Listed Buildings website is full of useful information – but beware of typos (Grimwade Street in Ipswich became 'Grinwade'). Listings are also available from the Historic England site. Historic England Online Map Search: just zoom into Ipswich, click the blue triangle and then click 'view list entry'.
Friends of Christchurch Park, on Facebook. See our Christchurch Park & Mansion page.
Brickmakers Wood: a venture to reclaim an abused and neglected piece of woodland between Alexandra Park and the rear of Suffolk New College and use it for positive purposes; part of the Eden Rose Coppice Trust. Coprolites are frequently found in the surface soil – Coprolite Street is nearby.
GeoSuffolk promotes the understanding and appreciation of the landscape and geology of Suffolk. Several areas of study relating to Ipswich sites and geology are included (London Clay, Red crag, chalk etc) , notably Coprolites and Coprolite Street (see also Brickmakers Wood, above).
Historic England. Historic England (officially the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England) is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It is tasked with protecting the historic environment of England by preserving and listing historic buildings, scheduling ancient monuments, registering historic Parks and Gardens and by advising central and local government.
Ipswich Arts Association represents local arts groups and individuals in and around the town.
The Ipswich Society:
    Ipswich Heritage Icons is a mini-site within the Society's website providing a growing resource which draws together information, images and video encompassing historical, architectural and cultural features of the Ipswich landscape.
    The Ipswich Society's own website. Keeps a watching brief on the past and the future of our town with an extensive archive of its Newsletter articles and more. See also...
    The Ipswich Society Flickr Photostream, for an ever-expanding collection of Ipswich images since the 1960s. Browsers on Flickr can contribute information and memories to each image; and...
    The Ipswich Society Comparison Photos, a collection showing old and new photographs of Ipswich locations taken from the same/similar vantage point by Tim Leggett.
Fore Street Facelift 1961: web-pages to accompany the Society's 2015 exhibition about the major renovation/decoration of Fore Street prior to the visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1961; now within the Ipswich Society main site (click the tab 'Fore St Facelift' at the top).
    The Society also has a popular presence on Instagram and Facebook.
Ipswich Transport Museum. A feast of signs and lettering in one of the town's historical gems.
Ipswich Building Preservation Trust refurbishes notable buildings in Ipswich including The Globe public house in St Georges Street,  The Half Moon & Stars pub on Barrack Corner, The Wrestlers in Bolton Lane,  Curson Lodge, Trinity Lodge.
Ipswich Archaeological Trust with an archive of previous Newsletters (quoted on our Ragged Schools page).
Ipswich Historic Churches Trust which cares for St Nicholas, St Clement, St Lawrence, St Peter and St Stephen churches in the town.
Ipswich Maritime Trust for information about the Wet Dock and Ipswich as a port and much more including a fine image archive.
Ipswich Women's Festival Group celebrating local women, many of which are 'hidden from history.
The Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, founded in 1848, is Suffolk’s largest and oldest archaeological and historical society. It has played an important role in encouraging and publishing research on Suffolk’s past. Papers are cited and linked on our Rosemary Lane , Water in Ipswich, the Christchurch Park Withypolls memorial slab and Wolsey's College pages.
Suffolk Local History Council exists to encourage, promote and assist the study and research of local history in the county of Suffolk.
Dedham Vale Society which published an article on Sherman's Hall, as shown on our Dedham page.
Saxmundham Town Council for local historical information e.g. the Long family mentioned on the Saxmundham town pump,
Suffolk Heraldry Society publishes a 54-page booklet (No. 9 in the Society's series) on Ipswich. See also our page on the Ipswich coat of arms.
Tewkesbury Museum (see our Tewkesbury page) will appeal to those snappers-up of unconsidered trifles who like this website.
Colchester Historic Buildings Forum is an excellent resource giving detailed information, good photographs and period postcards of older buildings in Colchester. Lots of lettering, too. Would that Ipswich had such a website!
Victorian Society: the champion for Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales.
The Waveney Clarion website: the East Anglian community paper which ran from 1973 to 1984; copies were once for sale in the Deben Bookshop in Lower Orwell Street and elsewhere.

Borin Van Loon: professional illustrator/artist/writer/publisher/head cook & bottlewasher.

Reading List

Ipswich in 1912: King Edward Memorial Sanatorium EADT Souvenir 48 page book published for the opening of 'Foxhall Hospital', 1912 (dowloads as a PDF file).
Adderson, Richard and Graham Kenworthy: 'Ipswich to Saxmundham, including the branch line to Framlingham' (Eastern main lines). Middleton Press, 2000. Dealing with the East Suffolk Line, useful for photographs and maps about, e.g., the Dales brickyards light railway.
Adderson, Richard and Graham Kenworthy: 'Branch lines to Felixstowe and Aldeburgh: including the Snape branch'. Middleton Press, 2003 (ISBN 978-1904474203). The three branches (Aldeburgh, Felixstowe and Snape) had great charm and are shown in detail in the unhurried days of steam.
Anderson,  R.C.: 'Tramways of East Anglia'. Light Railway Transport League, 1969. See Tramway Place.
Barbrook, John:
'St Mary at Stoke Church Ipswich: a visitor's guide to the church on Stoke Hill' published in 2006 and revised since; available from the church.
Bettley, James: 'The Buildings of England, Suffolk: East (Pevsner Architectural Guides)'. Yale University Press, 2015. Packed with information about Ipswich buildings; N.B. 'Suffolk: West' by the same author was published at the same time.
Bishop, Peter: 'The history of Ipswich – 1500 years of triumph and disaster'. Unicorn Books, 1995. A racy account of the town's history.
Blatchly, John: 'A Famous Antient Seed-plot of Learning: A History of Ipswich School'.
Ipswich School, 2003. As-definitive-as-you-can-get history of Ipswich School; see notes on Richard Felaw and Foundation Street. The threads of the Grammar School, Christ's Hospital and the Town Library intertwine through the story.
Blatchly, John: 'Ipswich Tourist Information Centre in the medieval Church of St Stephen's, Ipswich'. Ipswich Tourist Information Centre, 2013. A 14-page, full colour booklet with architectural drawings by Birkin Haward and photographs by Philip Hancock; available for 1 from the TIC. Excellent introduction.
Blatchly, John: Isaac Johnson of Woodbridge, Georgian surveyor and artist. Self-published in association with Suffolk Record Office, 2014 (ISBN 978-0-9564584-4-4-5).
Blatchly, John & Diarmaid MacCulloch: ‘Miracles in Lady Lane; The Ipswich Shrine at the Westgate’. J.M. Blatchly, 2013. This scholarly but readable book fills a gap in the history of Ipswich: when the town claimed a miraculous cure and played host to royal pilgrims (until the fall of Cardinal Wolsey). Excellent. See our Lady Lane page for a full review.
Briggs, Keith M. & Kelly Kilpatrick:
'A dictionary of Suffolk place-names'. English Place-Name Society, 2016 (ISBN  978-0904889918).
Brown, Cynthia, Birkin Haward & Robert Kindred: '
Dictionary of Architects of Suffolk Buildings 1800-1914'. Published by the authors, Ipswich, 1991. Available from Suffolk Libraries and Suffolk Record Office.
Burnett, David: 'Sudbury, Suffolk - the unlisted heritage'. Sudbury Society, 2002. See Sudbury.
Church Congress Committee: 'Official programme of the sixty second Annual Church Congress, Ipswich, October 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th 1927'. Published 1927 by The
Church Congress Committee, Maltravers House, Arundel Street, Strand London W.C.2. 108 page booklet (22cm x 14cm) with 1927 fold-out map of Ipswich. That page shows the map, cover and one or two sample pages of the publication.
Clarke, G.R: 'The History & Description of the Town and Borough of Ipswich including the Villages and Country Seats in its Vicinity more particularly those situated on the Banks of the Orwell’, 1830. The copy from The Bodleian Library has been scanned, hyperlinked from Contents and Index and published on the interweb. It is tough going but contains some nuggets and is replete with marbled endpapers.
Clegg, Muriel: 'Streets and street names in Ipswich: their origin and development'. Salient Press, 1984 (ISBN 0 86055 0990). Probably an early version of the following title. Her commentaries quoted on Dial Lane, St Lawrence Street, Butter Market.
Clegg, Muriel: 'The Way We Went: Streets in 19th Century Ipswich'. Salient Press, Ipswich, 1989 (ISBN 0 86055 197 0). The story of the making and naming of streets in Ipswich. See Street names.
Cocke, Richard (photography by Sarah Cocke): 'Public sculpture of Norfolk and Suffolk'. Liverpool University Press, 2013. Closely related to the web resource:
Public Sculpture in Norfolk and Suffolk database (see Links above).
Cobb, Stephen: 'Ipswich to Felixstowe: 125 years on the line'. Ipswich Transport Musem, 2002. Information on the history of this circuitous railway line. See Railway bridges.
Co-operative Society: 'People & Places: A pictorial history'. Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society Limited, 2000 (ISBN 0953966305). The Ipswich Co-op history.
Feldman, Hilary A.: 'The Ancient House'. Ipswich Borough Council, 1986. 36 pages packed with information and excellent illustrations about the Ancient House. Long out of print, sadly.
Freestone, Jill and Richard W. Smith: 'Ipswich engines and Ipswich men': the story of Ipswich men, their engines and work taking them all over East Anglia and beyond, from early Victorian times to the present day. The Over Stoke History Group, 1998. 270 pages of excellent research with many photographs. Available from Suffolk Libraries.
Glyde, John: 'Illustrations of Ipswich
, with architectural description of each subject and such historical notices as illustrate the manners and customs of previous ages in the old Borough, helping to form unpublished chapters in its history'. John Glyde, 35 St Matthew's Street Ipswich, 1889. A lavish, large format book with engravings.
Gooding, Andy: 'The history of Cowper Street, Ipswich'. Self-published as part of a local history project and exhibition in 2008.
Also a CD-ROM edition. A labour-of-love book providing extensive research results about the story of the area and of every house in the street. This work really deserves commercial publication (or Print On Demand publication) as it includes a brilliant, detailed story of the Freehold Land Society and the California Estate. In 2017, a copy is held at Suffolk Libraries with a reference copy in Suffolk Record Office.
Gordon, Dr Ian & Simon Inglis: 'Great lengths - the historic indoor swimming pools of Britain'. English Heritage, March 2009 (ISBN: 978 190562 4522). See Fore Street Baths.
Grace, Frank: 'The late Victorian town'. Phillimore, 1992. 72pp (ISBN 0 85033 712 7). The local historian shows here how he pieced together evidence and statistics relating mainly to the history of Ipswich to reconstruct people's stories  and social history. These techniques came to full fruition in his Rags and bones book.
Grace, Frank: 'Rags and bones'. Unicorn Press, 2005 (ISBN: 0 906290 85 6). An excellent history of the 19th century community which dwelt in the potteries district of Ipswich (between Rope Walk to the Wet Dock). See our Courts & yards page for a fuller description of the book.
Hall, Alistair: 'London street signs: a visual history of London's street nameplates'. Batsford, 2020. See our page on the Ghost signs: a London story book for a brief review.
Headley, Gwynn: 'Follies - National Trust guide'. National Trust, 1987. See Freston Tower.
Ipswich Society: List of buildings of local architectural or historic interest in the Borough of Ipswich, Suffolk ['Local List'] edited by Margaret Michael. Ipswich Society & Salient Press, 1984, rev. 1985 (ISBN 0860551369). Large, ground-breaking survey of the former 'Listed Grade III' (now unlisted) buildings of the town. See Link, above, to Ipswich Borough Council's supplement to this Local List.
James, Trevor: 'Ipswich inns, taverns and pubs'. Fuller-Davies, 1991.
Jones, David:
'Ipswich in the Second World War'. Phillimore, 2005. A fine book of research and photographs about "the day before yesterday" and the turmoil of war in a provincial town. See Stoke Hall tunnels.
Kindred, David: 'Ipswich – the changing face of the town'. Old Pond, 2011. Of the many available books of old photographs of Ipswich, this one is probably the best.
Kindred, David: 'Ipswich – the war years'. First Edition, 2005.
Laverton, Sylvia: 'Shotley Peninsula: The early settlement of a unique Suffolk region'. The History Press, 2001 (ISBN 978-0752419374).
Kindred, David: 'Lost inns, taverns and public houses'. Old Pond, 2012. Packed with period photographs and fascinating captions. See Pubs & off licences.
Malster, Robert: 'A history of Ipswich'. Phillimore, 2000. The bible of Ipswich history: full of stories and information – and very readable, too. It is a little like reading a novel where the protagonist is the first Anglo-Saxon town.
Malster, Robert: 'The Wharncliffe companion to Ipswich: an A to Z of local history'. Wharncliffe Books, 2005. The doyen of Ipswich local history has produced a wonderful treasure trove of arcana about the historic town (even though most people who live there and run the town don't know or acknowledge it, as he points out).
Malster, Robert & Bob Jones: 'A Victorian Vision: The building of Ipswich Wet Dock'. Ipswich Port Authority, 1992. See Wet Dock.
Markham, R.A.D.: 'A Rhino in the High Street'.  Ipswich Borough Council, 1990. The history of Ipswich Museum.
Markham, R.A.D.: '100 years of public transport in Ipswich, a pictorial survey'.
Ipswich Borough Council, 1980.
Matusiak, John: 'Wolsey : the life of King Henry VIII's cardinal'. The History Press, 2014. Reads more like a novel than a biography; lots to learn about this strange Ipswich prodigy and his meteoric rise to power.
Moffat, Hugh: 'East Anglia's first railways'. Terence Dalton, 1987. See EUR.
Moffat, Hugh: 'Ships and shipyards of Ipswich 1700-1970'. Malthouse Press, 2002. See Nova Scotia.
Pearce, Simon: 'The Astonishing Story of Mary Alice Berners', 2021. Book about the Berners family of Woolverstone Park; details on Simon's website. Swee our Freston page for more.
Petchy, Ian: 'Ipswich to Stowmarket Navigation: John Rennie's first canal project'. The River Gipping Trust, 2022 (ISBN-10: 1739671708).
Redstone, Lilian J.: 'Ipswich through the ages'. East Anglian Magazine Ltd, 1948, repub. 1969 (SBN 900227028). A brief and remarkably comprehensive survey.
Roberts, William: 'Lost country houses of Suffolk'. Boydell Press, 2010. An excellent illustrated survey including, in the Ipswich area: Stoke Park, The Red House and Bramford Hall.
Roberts, Sam & Roy Reed: 'Ghost signs – a London story'. Isola Press, 2021 (ISBN: 978-09954886-9-4). A fine book and website which is something of a bible of London signs with full research on businesses and some excellent reconstructions of faded advertisements.
Sexton, Linda: 'Fifty four miles to Yarmouth'. Dunnock Books, 2008. The story of the Ipswich to South Town and Bungay Turnpike Trust 1782-1872; emphasis on milestones. See also "Barclays toll-house".
Twinch, Carol: 'Ipswich: street by street'.
Breedon Books, 2006. Similar in its approach to R. Malster's 'A to Z'; full of interesting facts.
Taylor, Patrick:
'The toll-houses of Suffolk'. Polystar Press, 2009. Commentary and photographs of the rich variety of toll-houses in the county with historical context.
Twinch, Carol: 'History of Ipswich'. Breedon Books, 2008. A concise, absorbing story of the town.
Webb, John: 'Great Tooley of Ipswich'. Boydell Press, first published 1970 (Suffolk Records Society). See Almshouses.
Weaver, Carol and Michael: 'Ransomes 1789-1989: 200 years of excellence (a bicentennial celebration)'.
Ransomes Sims & Jefferies plc, 1989. See Ransomes and Ransomes Orwell Works.

Some comments received. Comments are welcome via our Contact page. More specific comments and contributions from browsers can be found within our web pages.
[Most recent first]
"I must just say how much my partner and I enjoy your website – it truly is a remarkable source of information and wonderful history supporting our home town and our own interests in local heritage; many thanks for maintaining such an incredible website." -Daniel Agate

"Hallo Borin. I lived in Ipswich for 35 years, then retired and moved to Diss. I come to Ipswich every couple of weeks to meet friends for coffee or lunch and, interestingly, I now see Ipswich with a visitor's eyes and I walk around a lot exploring the architecture etc. Recently I started coming on the train (a great pleasure!) and was walking back to the station from Westgate Street. I meandered past Portman Road and past the incredible Constantine House, which I had never seen before. Searching for it on the internet I came across your website and got all I wanted – and much more. It's incredible and wonderful! So, many thanks for a cornucopia of leads to be following up in my visits. Yippee . . . All the best, Trevor Ault."

"Great website. REALLY great. Useful and enjoyable... I am particularly enjoying the stuff on your website about the Dales Brickfield as I live near there and had heard about the little railway but had never worked out much about it. And I had had no idea of the extent of brickworks in Ipswich – they seem to have been all over town! Anna Cordon

"It looks fab.  Very well researched... I had a cruise around your other pages – it’s nice to see some rigorous academic research on the internet – about an interesting subject matter. Jeremy Foster [Jeremy contributed to our Warwick Road page.]

This is Absolutely Fantastic !!!!!
Thank you so much for the wonderful research and information  -- it is so well presented!
The maps are super and it's interesting to see the changes over the years.
It is Very Much Appreciated! Colleen McDonald [Colleen contributed to the Stoke Hall page.]

Thank you soooo much for the websites. It seems that very few people who I know, ever look up. There is so much to see in Ipswich if only one looks up, as girl guides were always told to do. The information given is wonderful, not too much but just the sort of snippets that interest me. Thanks again. Rhea Williams

Just a "thank you" for the superb content on the Ipswich lettering website. I have been researching my family history for almost 50 years... they lived in St Clement/St Helen's parishes for over 200 years, clearly in dire poverty. Your maps and insights add so much colour and flesh to my image of their lives. Thanks. John Welham

Cracking website. Discovered by accident and still working my way through it.  Lived in Ipswich all my life & still learning stuff about it. Morvyn Finch

I have gained much learning from your site over the years and also much enjoyment too. I am sending you various shots of a Road Name... You will obviously recognise the building on New Cut East... I hope you will keep up the excellent work you are doing for Ipswich. Peter Turtill

Dear Mr Van Loon, I have just discovered your sites on Ransomes and local street names, I feel I must make contact to congratulate you on some superb visual history.
I was born and bred in Ipswich, served my apprenticeship at Ransomes (later, travelling the world for them) and even have a street with my name on it!
As well as working beside the Dock, I kept various boats there for many years and am still having "an affair" with it through the Ipswich Maritime Trust of which you know - and possibly also my brother Stuart who maintains our photographic archive. (15 years ago I organised "Sail Ipswich '97"). A specific detail regarding Ransomes old garage and canteen . I remember (and used) it well. As well as keeping the electric lorries there (I can still hear the drive chains "clicking"!), there was a sideways tilting platform there on which trolley bus stability was tested - there were retaining ropes to catch the bus if it went too far.  I was at RS&J from '53 to '66 and was deeply involved in the move from Orwell to Nacton Works. There's a great deal more in my head which someone, somewhere, sometime might value! Mark Grimwade

... all the Ipswich tourist guides are great fans of your website. In fact it was partially the inspiration for one of our special walks called "The Writing's on the Wall". I'll certainly bear in mind anything I come across that may be of interest to you and will ask the other guides to do the same. Margaret Hancock

Borin. I found your site whilst Googling for people who used to live in my house, in Nelson Road, and the information you have is fascinating. I realise that Humber Doucy Lane is outside Ipswich but do you know how it got its name? Btw my row of terraced cottages is called Henslow Cottages, which I hope is after John Stevens Henslow, Darwin’s mentor.  Thanks to your site I will research Ernest Lee, who may well have built the Victorian houses in my street.
The author Sir V S Ptitchett spent time, reluctantly, in Ipswich and went to school in Caudwell Hall Rd or around there before WW1. It's worth reading for a look at Ipswich then. Also there were Ipswich printers (W.S. Cowell in the Buttermarket) who initiated a lithography process used by the author of Orlando the Marmalade cat [19 illustrated children's books written by Kathleen Hale between 1938 and 1972].
Funnily enough I, too, try to imagine Ipswich before the great Victorian burgeoning. Ipswich is a lovely working town and long may that continue... My row of houses in Nelson Road has very long – 100’ – gardens though of course they are very narrow.  And they back on to similar gardens facing the other way from Boston Road so there is a lovely large square of open land which is so restful. I don’t like what’s happening around the churches down by Dance East.
Talking about Ernlee [Ernleigh Road see Street name derivations], I recalled that in Bexleyheath, Kent, there is a road I used to walk by called Ethronvi Road, which surely must commemorate Ethel, Ron and Vi!  Having said that, there is an Ernle family who have a peerage or baronetcy or something and according to Google are named after a Sussex village called Earnley.  There is an Ernle road in Wimbledon. Norma Laming
[This enquiry prompted us to put a derivation for Nelson Road/Roundwood Road on the 'Street name derivations' page. Humber Doucy has always been a puzzle; we have failed to find any source for it – anyone know? We have since added the Humber Doucy derivation.]

Hello Borin, Thank you for getting in touch about the quote from my Cheltonia site [see link above]. Yes, you're very welcome to use it and I'll add a reciprocal link to Cheltonia next time I do an update. Your site is fascinating and you're doing great work. It's interesting to see that you're an illustrator as well as historian. My day job is graphic designer (working in book publishing) and I am especially fascinated with typography - easily distracted for hours by the pleasure of gazing at historic lettering. I think this love of typography is a big factor in my collecting photographs of street signs such as the Centre Stone (and hundreds of others which I haven't got round to adding to the site). I have ancestral connections to the southern part of Suffolk, particularly Dedham, and so I've very much enjoyed the pictures on your Dedham page, especially the scratch-graffiti on the bricks. This kind of lettering is so personal, being a direct connection with the people who lived in our towns before us. Thanks for the link to Louisa's music ... I will go and have a listen. Best wishes, Rebsie
[Rebsie Fairholm runs an excellent and extensive website on Cheltenham's past, present and future.]

Dear Borin, I am shortly to purchase a house in Gibbons Street and wonder if this Street was named after AA Gibbons? Thank you for your great website.   I am very keen to find out all I can about the house I am buying. With best wishes, Sandy Phillips
[The aswer can be found on our slavery abolitionists page.]

I find your photos of the various signs around Ipswich of very great interest. I love local history and many of of your pictures were fascinating. I attach two which I took recently in Carr Street which you may find of interest. The first one shows two decorations and under them is a metal sign which I have enlarged in the second one. Hope you find them of interest. Best regards, Mike O'Donovan [Mike has since contributed a number of images to this website.]

Amazed to see the pictures of 184 Bramford Road. I lived there when it was a shop from the 60s to the 80s. On the other wall facing towards Ipswich my father put the letters ROOKES vertically. This was what the locals called the shop which was founded by my grandparents, the Rookes. After setting up a greengorocery handbarrow after the First World War, my Grandfather opened a shop  near the bottom of what was then Sallows Lane at 176 Bramford Road.  The shop passed on to my parents after his death in the Sixties.  My parents were forced to move out in the early 60's when the Council made a compulsory purchase.  They moved the few yards up the road to 184 buying the business from Mr. Bowman where they stayed till the 80's.  The shop was well known for its friut and veg display on the forecourt.  Though my parents were called Hudson, the shop was always  Rooke's Stores to the local customers, or Rookies. After my parents retired from what was a successful business, the shop went downhill under the new owners.  Shortly afterwards it was converted into a residential property only. That sign on the wall, obscured by the new building always fascinated me and I was amazed to see it on your site.  I had completely forgotten about it till then. Thanks! Rob Hudson


Comment :   As an ex-Ipswichian exiled in Norfolk ( left in 1957 )what a fascinating insight to the history of old trades I missed whilst a resident. N.B. possibly the building opposite to the Walk was Woottons the hairdresser - keep up the good work.

Comment :   Absolutely fascinating! Bits of Ipswich I didnt know were there, and bits that I shall make a point of looking out for too. Thank you :o)


Comment :   Found your website when I Googled my families old company name, J Pooley and Co (Ipswich) Limited in Ranelagh Road, Ipswich. Sadly the business closed in 1999 and the land sold to Western Homes who built those awful flats on the site! Still it was nice to see a picture of the old site, if you want any information to add to the page, the company started in 1869 and was originally based in Tanners Lane (where Civic Drive and the AXA building now stands). The old newsagents was built in the early 1960s and originally called “Rogers”, the shop used to stand on the entrance of Pooleys before the company moved there in 1963. There were also a row of terrace houses from there the offices stood up to the newsagents, but these were lost when the council widen Ranelagh Road. The lettering on the company office was originally white wooden letters nailed to the front, but these used to keep getting stolen, so my dad removed the rest of the letters and painted the name on by hand! Didn’t do a bad job I reckon!!


Comment :   Just come across your site from the Ipswich Society site. Fascinating!!


Comment :   Its great to see a minority interest in action. Your record will be invaluable to future historians. I'm engaged on another minority interest myself, viz church monuments. I take photos around Suffolk and add notes from various sources Best Wishes Mike


Comment :   there are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.... actually its just nice to see someone taking an interest in things like this. capital.

Andrew S

Comment :   Great work; just shows what treasures there are just above the modern shop fronts; interesting to speculate about the people whose job it was to paint these signs.


Comment :   Could it be Edward Fison Ltd on the end of that building? [Refers to the lettered building beside New Cut listed on our Wet Dock page.]

Comment :   Stumbled across this site from Google - mightily impressed, Borin. Minor gripe: background images don't help readability one jot. Chock full of interesting info. Keep it up!


Comment :   Thanks for giving me a different perspective on my home town. I seen a majority of those of these signs & never even gave a second thought before.  Many thanks

Comment :   This site is right up my street, so to speak. It looks excellent already, and yet its still under construction. Keep up the good work Borin.

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