Named (& sometimes dated) buildings
California Estate
The whole area to the east of Belle Vue Road was nicknamed California (our Rosehill case study covers more of its history). The development there started in the early days of the Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society (F.L.S.) (which became Ipswich Building Society) formed in 1849: the year of the Californa gold rush. There seems to have been a real 'frontier' feel to the area in the early days: tenants raised livestock, dug stone, gravel and brickearth, made bricks, market gardened and made a small living in many ways from the sizeable plots around their modest cottages. One or two of those early semi-detached houses, standing well back from the highway still exist, often built around by later dwellings.

Felixstowe Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Deans Villas
The widespread evidence of the involvement of the Ipswich and Suffolk Freehold Land Society is provided by these rather grand scrolled name plaques. This is:
 'DEANS ... VILLAS
A.D. ... 1869'
 above the shop fronts at 113 Felixstowe Road. The designs of the scrolls are quite varied.

Nelson Road
Below: three examples from the Spring Road end of Nelson Road:
'CLYDE COTTAGE'S
1870'
WHITEHTHORN COTTAGES
1869'
NELSON'S COTTAGES
1870'
The first is notable for the stray 'greengrocer's apostrophe' in 'Cottages'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Clyde Cottages
Clarence House on St Margaret's Green (Thingstead) has an unusual asymetric scrolled name plaque. See our Roundwood Road page for more on Nelson and his connection to Ipswich.
Nearby 'Hill House, 1863' stands opposite the jaws of Tovells Road and is possibly the earlier house in this street. Long shrouded by vegetation, in January 2016 the frontage of this house and its lettering are revealed.
Further up Nelson Road towards the Woodbridge Road is a terrace bearing the plaque:
'HENSLOW
COTTAGES
1899'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Henslow Cottages 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Henslow Cottages 22016 images
This is an interesting attribution, and compares with 'Henslow Terrace, 1868' at the beginning of Henley Road – scroll down for the images and detail. The Henslow Terrace name is in a more logical geographical position, being sited close to the Ipswich Museum, of which institution Darwin's mentor, John Stevens Henslow, was the second president. So why does the name crop up thirty-one years later – and a mile-and-a-half away – in Nelson Road? There is another Henslow Terrace in – guess where? – Henslow Road on the California Estate.

Crabbe Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Percy Cottages
14 Crabbe Street.
Another even more florid example of a Freehold Land Society property, carefully tended by the owners:
'PERCY
COTTAGES'
(sadly no date, but 1860s/1870s is most likely).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Percy Cottages 22013 image
The 2013 image above shows that the lettering on Percy Cottages has been whitewashed over. Compare with other scrolled house names at York Terrace and Clarence House.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Kenmore 1a2013 images
29 Crabbe Street.
This is a rather stylish way to name one's house, a colourful stained glass door panel. Wonder what it looks like from inside. High up on the gable appears a date: probably hand-done by a builder?
'KENMORE
1902'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Kenmore 3

41 Crabbe Street: the name that never was.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crabbe Street 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Crabbe Street 2
This flint and brick-built detached house stands back from the road and bears an unusual scrolled shield name-plaque in the gable which is blank. It is quite common to find name tablets and cartouches with no lettering on houses, but this one is particularly decorative and, ultimately, pointless. Some house-owners have gone to the expense of having the house name plaque removed from the fabric of the building, to be replaced by bricks; see our Rosehill house names page for an example. They must have really hated that name.

And just to show that current builders and developers will, on occasion, build names into structures, here is the entrance to Aldeburgh Gardens in Crabbe Street. Nice ball finials, chaps.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Aldeburgh Gdns   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Aldeburgh Gdns 2Photo courtesy John Norman (2014)

Coronation Cottages, 69-71 Levington Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coronation Cottages 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coronation Cottages 22013 images
'CORONATION
1902
COTTAGES'
Edward VII (Albert Edward, 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Edward was related to royalty throughout Europe. Before his accession to the throne, he served as heir apparent and held the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. During the long reign of his mother, he was largely excluded from political power and came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite. He travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial public duties and represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 were popular successes, but his reputation as a playboy prince soured his relationship with his mother. On January 22, 1901 Queen Victoria died and Edward VII began his reign. However the actual coronation as celebrated in this plaque took a while to occur.
A royal tour by Edward and Alexandra and the long-drawn-out war in South Africa further delayed plans for his coronation. By the 24 June King Edward VII, who was suffering from perityphlitis, required urgent surgery. Consequently, the coronation, for which unprecedented preparations had been made, was postponed. The King recovered his strength quickly after the operation and it was decided that the coronation service would be held on August 9 1902. With minimal fanfare, the coronation finally took place at Westminster Abbey. However, the King still recovering from his illness, waited several months before participating in a royal procession through the main streets of South London. When his procession did take place on October 25 1902 the King was received with great enthusiasm by the people lining the streets. For more extensive notes on the royal couple, see Alexandra Park.

Beaufort Buildings, 133 Norwich Road
Now a departure. There are many examples of house names on pillars and plaques in the town, but
'BEAUFORT BUILDINGS'
at 133 Norwich Road takes pride of place, if only for its scale and unreadability. Easily mistaken for 'Branfort Buildings', the spidery, gothic lettering painted in this specially recessed white rectangle above the two front porches doesn't quite do the job for which it is intended.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Beaufort Buildings2001 image

Thornley Place, Waterloo Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Thornley Place
'THORNLEY
PLACE.'
on the corner of Chevallier Street and Waterloo Road has a name plaque you can't miss. We assumed that it is named after Felix Thornley Cobbold (great benefactor to Ipswich – see our Blue plaques page), as he was the son of John Chevallier, after whom this stretch of the main road was named. However, it's more likely that the road was named after Dr Barrington Chevallier (see Street name derivations); the 'Thornley' may be just a coincidence, but Dr Chevallier certainly appears on the Cobbold Family History Trust family trees.
[UPDATE 19.4.13: Anthony Cobbold of the Cobbold Family History Trust (see Links) writes: "I don’t feel able to add anything specific on Thornley Place, but I can suggest how the Thornley name arrived in Suffolk.  If you go to John Chevallier Cobbold #114 on the tree you find him married to Lucy Patteson #115.  Lucy’s maternal grandmother was Hannah Thornley #1315, daughter of Robert #1319.  The Thornleys were a well-to-do family from Cheshire and one source tells me that Hannah inherited Eaton Hall in Cheshire which I think is now the centre of the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Estates.  In naming Felix, it is quite likely that Lucy wanted her grandmother’s family to be recalled.  But this is only a suggestion." Thanks to Anthony for the additional information on this.]

32 Queen Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Queen Street2013 image
'THIRTY
TWO'
A deco-style entrance door to number 32 Queen Street, with the building number spelt outin relief in Gill Sans (or similar) font between two discs.

Commerce Chambers, 12 High Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Commerce Chambers 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Commerce Chambers 2
2014 images
The art deco buildings at the corner of Tower Ramparts and Museum Street with a name panel above a very modest door which has seen much better days:
'COMMERCE
CHAMBERS'

Henslow Terrace, 1 Henley Road

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Henslow Terrace2013 image
'HENSLOW
TERRACE
1868'
Named, seven year's after his death, after John Stevens Henslow: mentor of Charles Darwin, geologist and second President of the nearby Ipswich Museum. Not only did this good-natured academic and clergyman teach Darwin much of his scientific technique, but he also arranged a place for his favourite pupil aboard HMS Beagle during whose voyages, Darwin's observations and collecting laid the foundation for the eventual publication of his revolutionary On the origin of species. During the Beagle voyage, Darwin and Henslow corresponded as often as the primitive postal system would allow. Henslow became the main recipient of Darwin's massive collection of scientific samples, despatched home at irregular intervals during the voyage. He saw to it that these samples were passed on to the appropriate experts for analysis, and took it upon himself to publish extracts of Darwin's letters in respectable scientific journals. By the time Darwin returned home in 1836, his scientific credentials and future scientific career were assured - largely thanks to Henslow. The year following Darwin's return to England, Henslow secured the rectorship of the neglected parish of Hitcham in Suffolk, where he was to remain for the rest of his life.

Surprisingly perhaps, the great university lecturer made only a mediocre preacher. His first congregation in Hitcham Church was not big enough to fill a single pew. He decided to concentrate, therefore, on improving the well-being of his parisioners through scientific, rather than spiritual, enlightenment. He encouraged local farmers to take part in experiments into crop diseases and fertilisers (derived from coprolites: the industry founded by Edward Packard at the 'Manure Manufactory' which stood at the Wet Dock on Coprolite Street – clearly shown on the 1881 map on our Steam Packet Inn page). Indeed, two farmers he met while on holiday in Felixstowe were so impressed with his advice that they set up their own fertiliser company: Fisons. He founded a village school (giving some of the lessons himself) and was one of the founders of the Ipswich Museum; he administered local charities, introduced garden allotments for parishioners, and organised educational excursions to various venues, including the 1851 Great Exhibition.

Henslow's activities did not, however, become entirely parochial: he still found time to carry out archaeological excavations, tutor Queen Victoria's children, and keep in touch with the wider scientific community, including his celebrated former pupil, Mr Charles Darwin, Fellow of the Royal Society. Indeed, in 1860, the year before his death, Henslow chaired the legendary Oxford meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in which Thomas Henry Huxley and Henslow's son-in-law, Joseph Dalton Hooker, crossed swords with Bishop 'Soapy Sam' Wilberforce over the subject of Darwin's On the origin of species.
"I fully believe a better man never walked this earth." — Charles Darwin to J.D. Hooker, 18th May, 1861, the day of Henslow's death.

Ipswich is twelve miles from Hitcham. As a result of his Cambridge experiences, Henslow believed in the value of museums as vehicles for education. The museum at Ipswich, which was established in Museum Street in 1847, owed much to Henslow, who was elected President in 1850. The museum was based on natural history, construed in the broadest sense. A conflict between the Curator, a Dr Clarke, and the "vile and disorderly mob that contaminates our room on public nights" with their "obscene conversations [and] indelicate and blasphemous retorts" reminds us that delivering education to the people can be a challenging undertaking.

Another named building in Ipswich is the plaque on 'Henslow Cottages' (47/9 Nelson Road) on the east of the town. See photographs towards the top of this page.
There is another Henslow Terrace in – guess where? – Henslow Road on the California Estate.

Telolmakouta House, 2 Surbiton Road

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Telolmakouta 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Telolmakouta 2
'TELOLMAKOUTA HOUSE
1897'
What a mysterious name... So far we haven't found any source for this African-sounding word, perhaps related to the Boer War? Just out of curiosity:-
The Tălmăcuța River is a tributary of the Lungşoara River in Romania.

Makuta is a village in central Malawi on Lake Malawi, Africa. It is located in Salima District in the Central Region approximately 1 mile north of Nkhotakota.
Makuta is a village in Central District of Botswana, Africa. It is located 70 km north-west of Francistown, along the road connecting Francistown to Tutume.
See our Bramford Road page for interesting house name plaques on neighbouring buildings.

Le-Treport, 1 Palmerston Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Le-Treport 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Le-Treport 2
'LE-TREPORT
1923'
1 Palmerston Road is a distance up the slope from the St Helens Street junction; in fact, it stands opposite the jaws of Lancaster Road. Palmerston Road was once on the outskirts of the town, however these buildings must have been a late addition given the huge expansion of Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society housing from Albion Hill eastwards in the 1890s. Until a few years ago, this end-of terrace house suggested that it was a place of trade as well as a dwelling. The arch to the left was a carriage entrance to a rear yard; it has been converted into part of the house now. The house name is one of several intriguing name plaques in the town and the source of the name seems to be: Le Tréport (no hyphen and an acute accent), a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France. A small fishing port and light industrial town situated in the Pays de Caux. The mouth of the Bresle river meets the English Channel here, in between the high chalk cliffs and the pebbly beach. Le Tréport is also a sea-side resort and home to a casino. Perhaps the builder went there for his holiday.

12-14 Spring Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Congress Terrace 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Congress Terrace 22014 images
This long, six-house terrace close to the junction with Grove Lane bears the incribed plaque:
'CONGRESS
TERRACE
1878 . W.G'
Presumably the 'W.G' relates to the initials of the house-builder?
"Another venture of the Society (F.L.S.) was the purchase of houses which could be let at an annual rent. An interesting example of this is the purchase of Congress Terrace, Spring Road, 1880. Numbers 3 and 4 cost £280 each, the other four £275 each. Numbers 3 and 4 would be let at an annual rent of £17 10 shillings, the others at £16 10 shillings. They were to be ballotted for." (Clegg, M: The way we went, see Reading list).

Nottidge Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbine Cottages 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbine Cottages 22014 images
8-10 Nottidge Road:
'WOODBINE
COTTAGES
1868'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Newton Cottages 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Newton Cottages 2
14-16 Nottidge Road:
'NEWTON COTTAGE
1868'
The top line of these cartouche-shaped name plaques is a pleasing arc over the remainder. The unusual terra cotta-coloured paint on the lower example is starting to degrade with cream-white flecks showing through.

Christchurch Street
31-33 Christchurch Street bears the plaque:
'SANTIAGO
VILLAS
1870'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Santiago Villas 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Santiago Villas 22014 images
Santiago (population 5 million) is best known as the capital city of Chile in South America. Santiago is named after the biblical figure James, son of Zebedee (Sant Iago: Saint Iacob: Saint Jacob: Saint James). It is uncertain whether this house name was applied in 1870 because of some particular event in Santiago but it is interesting that, as part of  the work of European landscapers, in 1873 O'Higgins Park came to existence in the centre of the city. Another well-known place of the same name is Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia in northwestern Spain; the shrine of Saint James the Great, now the city's cathedral, as destination of the Way of St. James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route. Etymologically, Santiago has the same meaning as San Diego. This plaque is directly opposite Prospect House, the former off licence.

28 Christchurch Street has an impressive porch with pillars, strictly-speaking, half-columns
:
'DORIC HOUSE'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Doric House 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Doric House 2
The Doric order: in their original Greek version, Doric columns stood directly on the flat pavement, the stylobate, of a temple without a base; their vertical shafts were fluted with 20 parallel concave grooves; and they were topped by a smooth capital that flared from the column to meet a square abacus at the intersection with the horizontal beam, the architrave, that they carried. The Parthenon in Athens has Doric columns. (See also Doric Place in Woodbridge; derivation not known.)
The house next door bears a street nameplate, shown in the image above left (above the parked vehicle) which in 2014 is in urgent need of repainting.


Jubilee Bakery, 55 Station Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Jubilee Bakery 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Jubilee Bakery 2
'JUBILEE BAKERY
G.D.G.
1887'
Simon Knott (Simon's Suffolk Churches see Links) spotted this one. This is the corner shop some way up the Station Street slope and on the corner of Webb Street. It bears comparison with 'Grove Bakery' in St Helens Street. In 1887 the United Kingdom and the British Empire celebrated Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Victoria marked 20 June 1887—the fiftieth anniversary of her accession—with a banquet, to which fifty European kings and princes were invited. Although she could not have been aware of it, there was a plan by Irish Republicans to blow up Westminster Abbey while the Queen attended a service of thanksgiving. This assassination attempt, when it was discovered, became known as the Jubilee Plot. At the time, Victoria was an extremely popular monarch who went on to reign for 63 years, seven months and two days (Victoria was the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant in world history) until her death in 1901. However, since 5 February 2015, those titles were assumed by Queen Elizabeth II.
We have yet to find out what 'G.D.G.' stands for; probably the builder's initials?. See also Nethaniah Almshouses further up this thoroughfare.

Industrial Villa, 33-35 Dillwyn Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Industrial Villa
'INDUSTRIAL
VILLA
1870'
Perhaps the ultimate, bald, bleak name for a home (or group of homes) in Dillwyn Street (see streets named after Slavery abolitionists). As we see elsewhere, house and building names sometimes resonate with significance, or are just pleasant. This one stands out in Ipswich. One wonders if 'Industrial Villa' might relate to the St Matthew's Industrial Home for Girls set up by Samuel Belcher Chapman (see the 'Chapman Lane' entry in Street name derivations), but there is no evidence of this.

Plantation House, 11-13 Burlington Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Plantation House 1
'PLANTATION
A.D.1872
HOUSE'
A grand, asymmetrical semi. There are different male heads (Dickens and Shakespeare, confirmed by Dr John Blatchly) on the keystones of the curved front door arches of the two houses. It was designed by R.T. Orr. The smaller house to the right was intended for the servants of the inhabitants next door.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Plantation House 1a
The capitals on either side of the gable, their mouldings differing in design, are worth a look, too:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Plantation House 4

Hollanden House, 9 Burlington Road

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Holland House 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Holland House 22014 images
The eroded stone block next to the postal wall box at No. 9 has misleading shadows and algae. 'Holland House'?... [UPDATE 19.8.2014: " 'HOLLANDEN HOUSE' is the full text of the plaque on No 9. Best wishes, John Blatchly. Our thanks to John; 'Holland House' never seemed quite right.]

Paget Villas, 4 Paget Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Paget Villas2014 images
A remarkably decorative letterform here, with curlicues and a blissful flourish on the downstroke of the '7'. All packaged in a
shield-shaped tablet, giving a faux-medieval feel:
'PAGET
VILLAS
1872'

Salisbury Terrace, 375-7 Woodbridge Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Salisbury Terrace 1Photographs courtesy Steve Girling
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Salisbury Terrace 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Salisbury Terrace 3
'SALISBURY
TERRACE
1899'
'Thought these photos may be of interest to you, they are of a house nameplate on a house where I used to live along Woodbridge Rd near the junction with Khartoum Rd.
Nearly 30 years ago I thought the stone with the name of the terrace on it was coming away from the wall, but on closer inspection (on a ladder !) I discovered that "SALISBURY TERRACE 1899 " was not in fact stone but wood ! And what I thought was stone coming away from the wall was paint lifting away from the wood so it was duly primed, undercoated and gloss painted and it's still there today.
In some paperwork for the house there is a Conveyance dated 25th March 1898 between Edward Fison and William Grayston. Kind regards, Steve Girling.' Thanks to Steve for this unexpected architectural feature – they must have forgotten to incorporated the 'stone' plaque.

'Tumbricane', 66 Belstead Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tumbricane 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tumbricane 22016 images
One brick pillar with grand white capstone to the south-west and no fewer than three to the nort-east mark this thought-provokingly named house. In itself, perhaps the building is not that special, but almost everyone who travels down Belstead Road knows 'Tumbricane'. The following explains the name.
[UPDATE 27.4.2017: ‘Our property is Tumbricane on Belstead Road. The house number is 66. There is no number 64 on the road.
After extensive research, we have arrived at the conclusion that the property was named after a castle ruin in the architect’s place of birth in County Tipperary in Ireland.  There is a village called Borrisokane, where outside is situated a castle ruin named Tumbricane.  As the architect and owner hailed from this village, we consider this the most likely origin for the name.
This is not the original property.  Our home was built during the 1920s, but the original Tumbricane, of which the gate, driveway and pillars are original, was built during the 1890s, and we believe a catastrophic event must have occurred for it to have disappeared by the First World War. It was a vast grand mansion, of which I have photographs, and we cannot understand why it only stood for a maximum of twenty years. This is the next step in my research.
Many thanks and kind regards, Louise Booker.’ Our grateful thanks to Louise for solving this little mystery and for the story and image of the house.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tumbricane old 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Tumbricane old 2
Above photograph courtesy Louise Booker
What a fine mansion it was.

Related pages:
House name plaque examples: Alston Road; Bramford Road; Cauldwell Hall Road; Cavendish Street; Marlborough Road; Rosehill area;
Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society (F.L.S.); California
Street index; Origins of street names in Ipswich; Streets named after slavery abolitionists.
Dated buildings list; Dated buildings examples;
Named buildings list;
Street nameplate examples;
Brickyards


Home

Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.

©2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express written permission