Case study: Rosehill Library and its vicinity
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosehill Library lettering
The material presented here comes from a study compiled by Rosehill Readers (, a campaign group which supports Rosehill's branch library and Suffolk's public library network as a whole. Rosehill Library in Tomline Road was opened 29 years before Northgate Street Library. The text and images are taken from a variety of sources; citations – wherever possible – are given at the end of the piece. The Ipswich Historic Lettering website is interested in Street name derivations in Ipswich as well as historic public lettering and both feature in this extended article. We hope that you will find it interesting.

Brief history of English public libraries[1]
When William Ewart introduced his Public Libraries Bill in 1849 he encountered considerable hostility from the Conservatives in the House of Commons. It was argued that the rate-paying middle and upper classes would be paying for a service that would be mainly used by the working classes. One argued that the "people have too much knowledge already: it was much easier to manage them twenty years ago; the more education people get the more difficult they are to manage." Ewart was therefore forced to make several changes to his proposed legislation before Parliament agreed to pass the measure. 

The Public Libraries Act became law in 1850. Whereas William Ewart wanted all boroughs to have the power to finance public libraries, the legislation only applied to those boroughs with populations of over 10,000. The Borough Councils also had to obtain the consent of two thirds of the local ratepayers who voted in a referendum. Other restrictions included that the rate of no more than a halfpenny in the pound could be levied. Furthermore, this money could not be used to purchase books.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: William EwartWilliam Ewart
William Ewart and Joseph Brotherton continued with their struggle for a more generous and comprehensive approach to public library provision. This led to two amendments to the 1850 Public Libraries Act. In 1853 the act was extended to Scotland and Ireland and in 1855 the rate which could be levied was raised to a penny. Borough Councils were also granted the power to buy reading material for their libraries. 

The penny rate still made it impossible for local authorities to provide libraries without the support of wealthy entrepreneurs. These philanthropists usually supported libraries in their own areas. For example, Henry Tate and John Passmore Edwards in London. However, the greatest supporter of public libraries was Andrew Carnegie, who helped to finance over 380 libraries in Britain.

Norwich lays claims to being the first municipality to adopt the Public Libraries Act 1850, but theirs was actually the eleventh library
in the country to open, in 1857, after Winchester, Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton, Kidderminster, Cambridge, Birkenhead and Sheffield. Ipswich Victoria Free Library was established in 1887.

“Ipswich was one of the first towns in the country to adopt the 1852[sic] Public Libraries Act and to open branch libraries to serve outlying parts of the town. The earliest of these were at the junction of Clapgate Lane and Mildmay Road [site of the present Gainsborough Library], Norwich Road [actually Richmond Road, later moved up to Westbourne Library, Sherrington Road], Tomline Road [Rosehill Library] and Stoke Street [later incorporated into the new Stoke High School, Maidenhall Approach]. There were several private and institutional libraries in the town, including that housed in the old Carnegie Building['The Town Library'], which was handed to the borough but moved to Ipswich School in the 1980s. The Northgate Street library was built in 1924.
In the pioneering days of public libraries it was thought innovative that tickets were interchangeable and books could be returned to any of these ‘service’ points. Anyone living in Ipswich, paying rates or being educated in the town could borrow books without charge. Visitors were allowed to take out a prescription for six months and had access to the Reading Room; the Reference Library could be used ‘without formality of any kind’.”[2]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: John GlydeJohn Glyde
John Glyde (1823-1905) who lived at 9 Eagle Street was a radical thinker involved in many organisations working for the social and cultural improvements of Ipswich, including the founding of a Free Library for the town. His bequest of books and manuscripts to the Ipswich Corporation in 1905 is now in the Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich. During his working life he was a bookseller, an agent for domestic servants and a registrar of marriages. He is celebrated by a Blue plaque.

County libraries are a later development which were made possible by the establishment of County Councils in 1888. They normally have a large central library in a major town with smaller branch libraries in other towns and a mobile library service covering rural areas.

By 1900 there were 295 public libraries in Britain. However, it was not until 1919, when the rate limit was abolished and the formal adoption abandoned, that a truly comprehensive and free library service was possible.

The service was threatened in the 1970s, when many writers threatened to withdraw their works from library collections, in protest at the lack of a satisfactory compensation scheme. The Government responded by passing the Public Lending Right Act 1979, which provided for a centrally-funded scheme to pay writers and artists. This was provided in 2003-2004 by 7.4 million from the Government.

In October 2010 it was announced that the total funding for the Public Lending Right (PLR) would be reduced over the Spending Review period, and that in light of the need to find savings in the difficult economic climate, the extension of PLR to audiobooks and e-books would not proceed at that time. It was also announced in January 2011, following an eight week consultation, that the PLR rate would be reduced from 6.29 pence to 6.25 pence.

The library service today is governed by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. The 1964 Act puts upper tier local authorities under a duty to provide a "comprehensive and efficient library service", and puts that work under the superintendence of central government. Today, this is the role of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The DCMS published its 'Framework for the Future' in 2003 which set out an 11 point vision for public libraries to aspire to by 2013.

In 1995 the DCMS's predecessor, the Department of National Heritage, set up the Library and Information Commission (LIC) as a national resource of expertise - advising government on all issues relating to the library and information sector. This was replaced in 2000, by Resource: The Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives, which in turn changed its name to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in February 2004.

However, in July 2010, as part of the Coalition government's plans to merge, abolish or streamline public bodies in a bid to drive down costs, it was announced that the MLA would be abolished. The statutory Advisory Council for Libraries would also be wound down via the Public Bodies Bill. In Suffolk the County Council voted at the end of 2011 to 'divest' the whole library service to an external body with severely reduced funding and heavy reliance on volunteers. Who knows if Rosehill Library will survive?

Counties and Boroughs. East Suffolk, along with West Suffolk, was created in 1888 as an administrative county of England. The administrative county was based on the eastern quarter sessions division of Suffolk. East Suffolk County Council's headquarters was in Ipswich, which was a county borough in its own right. Before the introduction of county councils, Suffolk had been divided into eastern and western divisions, each with their own quarter sessions. East Suffolk was abolished in 1974 when most of the county was merged with West Suffolk and the county borough of Ipswich to form the non-metropolitan county of Suffolk. A small part of East Suffolk was included in Norfolk in 1974.

Ipswich. Victoria Free Library, High street: W. Fenton, Librarian:
F. Woolnough, Secretary. Est. 1887. Number of volumes in Lending Dept.: 7,000 ; Reference Department: 8,000 ; annual issue: 69,000. Annual income from library rate: 374, affording 100 for the purchase of books. Open on week-days from 9 a.m. to 9-30 p.m.; Sundays 3 to 5 and 7 to 9.” [
Source: Clegg, James]
Ipswich — Victoria Free Library, High street : W. Fenton. Librarian.
[Later undated edition of Clegg.] Opened 1887. Number of volumes in Central and one Branch Library [presumably Rose Hill] 12,000; annual circulation 80,000. Annual income from rate 500, affording 150 for the purchase of books. Open on week-days only from 9 a.m. to 9-30 p.m. A new Reference Library is about to be built."[3]

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Museum 1880High Street Museum date
Ipswich Library before 1924[4]
The High Street Museum opened officially on the red letter day of 27 July 1881, the day on which the new southern lock into the Wet Dock – close to the brewery – and the decorative Post Office on Cornhill.
Kelly's Directory of Ipswich 1920: 
"The Borough of Ipswich Free Library, Museum buildings, High Street, is a rate-supported institution under the direction of the Museum Committee of the Corporation. The growth of the Free Library has been very gradual, a municipal library for the free use of the inhabitants having existed for nearly three centuries. A collection of books was formed in 1612, partly from a bequest of books made in 1598 by William Smart, Portman of the Borough, for the use of the town preacher, and partly from a legacy of 50 from Mrs Walters in 1594, probably left for the Corporation to apply at their discretion. Many gifts were made from time to time, and about 600 volumes still remain as part of the reference department, including some ancient manuscripts written on vellum, incunabula, and other works of bibliographical and historical interest [these constituted the 'Ipswich Town Library' which were eventually housed at Ipswich public school].
In 1887 the Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria was celebrated by a public subscription, which was applied to the building of the Lending Library, and there are altogether about 48,000 volumes, the lending department containing about 24,000. The Reference department includes a complete set of the Specifications of Patents, and has also been stocked with books to meet the requirements of all classes of students and book-lovers - science, art, and technical works, history topography and local history &c. The hours of opening are as follows:- Library, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed on Wednesdays at 1p.m.; reading room, 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. Secretary, Frank Woolnough F. R. Met. Soc.; chief librarian and clerk, Henry Ogle F.L.A."[5]
(N.B.: The term "Free Library" distinguished it from a public subscription library which often existed at the same time in a town as the publicly-funded library. In Ipswich there was a subscription library that operated from The Ancient House in Butter Market.)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Public Library Ad
The Ipswich Museum page shows the wing and entrance to the original public library. From the press coverage of the period it becomes clear that Rosehill Library was the first branch (albeit in a private house) of the Ipswich Victoria Free Library to be opened (1895), so it predates the present Ipswich County Library by twenty-nine years. More of this below.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: County Library date 2Ipswich County Library date
Ipswich Library in Northgate Street
The Minutes of The Museum, Art Gallery, and Free Library Committee of Ipswich Corporation document the building of the Central Library in Northgate Street and the growth of branch libraries.

In June 1914 the Committee applied to the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust
for a grant for the purpose of building a new Central Library.  In due course the Trust sent its Secretary and a Library Expert to examine and report upon the Library system in Ipswich. By 1916 The Trust indicated their general approval of the plans with some modifications and Alderman W. F. Paul (see Eminent personages, below) had conveyed the site in Northgate Street to the Corporation for the new building. Despite the ill heath due to over-work and nervous exhaustion of the Librarian, Mr Ogle, in 1921 (the Committe granted him three month's leave and 60), slow progress was made until  the Carnegie Trust a confirmed their grant to the Council of 22,500. Work started in February 1921, despite delays caused by a building strike., the building being completed for the opening in 1924. By May that year the library had its own committe, distinct from the museum's, as required by the Carnegie Trust. A new Chief Librarian had been recruited and there were busy preparations for the move from the museum and formal opening.

The Central Library was formally opened on September 3rd 1924 by Sir Charles Sherrington, G.B.E., O.M (see Sherrington Road in the Street name derivations page). The Rt. Hon. Viscount Ullswater, P.C., G.C.B., and Col. J.M. Mitchell, O.B.E., were amongst those present. His Worship the Mayor (J. R. Staddon, Esq.) presided. The premises were open for inspection on that evening when they were visited by over 5,000 people and the full day-to-day work of the libraries was resumed on September 4th.

From the outset great and increasing interest was shown by the public; during the first month the number of borrowers from the Central Library increased from 2,698 to 4,651. The greater facilities offered in the new premises, particularly open access (being able to choose your books from the shelves: something we all take for granted), have been much appreciated by readers, and the publicity attached to their inauguration served to bring the work of the Libraries to the notice of many who had not previously made use of them. The children's library was a new development for the service, issuing an average of 452 books a day. It was only
open in the evenings on weekdays, excepting during the school holidays and on Saturdays when it was open all day,

By the 1929-1930 report, all the libraries in Ipswich are listed, that is Lending, Children's, and Reference at the central library plus the branch libraries at Stoke, Rose Hill, Springfield, Westerfield, New Estate, and Whitton.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bookmark small
Click here to see a scan of the original bookmark.
A contemporary (possibly 1930s or 1940s) 'Ipswich Public Library' book-mark (found inside an old copy of the semi-fictionalised biography of Margaret Catchpole by Richard Cobbold) is instructive. Amongst the busy display advertisements – using sponsorship to subsidise public services isn't new – the book-mark folds just above the word 'Ipswich' to the left. Lift the flap and we find an interesting list of Ipswich libraries:-

"Ipswich Public Libraries,
Hours of Opening

Central Library
Lending: 10-8; Reference 9.30-9
Children's 4.30-8; Wed. 2-8
Sat. 10-1 and 2-7
Reading Room 9-9 daily
Stoke Branch
Lending 5-8 Sat. 10-1 and 2.30-8
Reading Room: open until 9
Rose Hill
5.30-8.30 Mon., Wed., Sat
Springfield: Wed. 6.30-8.30
Westerfield: Thurs 6.30-8
New Estate: Thurs. 6.30-8.30
Whitton: Tues. 6.30-8"

We assume that 'New Estate' refers to the
branch on the Gainsborough council house development to the southeast of the town which occurred in the 1930s. The Chantry estate was not built until later (the 1950s: the roads around Gippeswyk Park named after flowering plants and 1960s: the roads further to the southwest named after birds). 'Springfield' refers to the original branch in Norwich Road which was replaced by Westbourne Library in Sherrington Road. The references to 'Westerfield' branch remains a mystery but 'Whitton' branch must be the one which started in Richmond Road (off Norwich Road, later relocated to Sherrington Road and known as Westbourne Library) . The opening hours are limited and very 'evening-heavy', presumably to accomodate visits by people at work all day.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church and its only visible lettering (on the church hall); both buildings are Listed Grade II. Holy Trinity Church now has its own page.

A brief history of the Rosehill area of Ipswich
It seems a long way from Holy Trinity Church in Back Hamlet to Rosehill Library but stay with us…

Holy Trinity Church was built in 1835 as a Chapel of Ease to St Clement’s Church, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity by the Reverend John Thomas Nottidge, M.A., [probably the origin of Nottidge Road in Ipswich!] Patron and Rector of St. Clement's and St. Helen's churches. He erected the church at his own expense, at a cost of 2,400. The land was previously used as a ropewalk. The consecration was carried out by the Bishop of Sodor [shades of Thomas The Tank Engine?] and Man acting for the Bishop of Norwich. Holy Trinity was the first church in Ipswich to be built since the Reformation and this was during the reign of King William IV who was the final Hanoverian King (and called the "sailor king").
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trinity Lodge2013 image of Trinity Lodge
There is a link to the medieval building further up Back Hamlet, Trinity Lodge. The core of Trinity Lodge dates back to the 16th century when it started life as a farmhouse, set in the open country. It was extended in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, the property went downhill in the 20th century when it was converted into three flats. More recently it was used for storage. The Ipswich Building Preservation Trust (see Links) oversaw the renovation in around 2002 (although, because the actual building work wasn't done carried out by the Trust, there isn't a plaque on it). The earliest known name for Trinity Lodge and land is Walch or Wash Fenn, in 1735. At that time the sixty acre estate extended across the valley towards Bishops Hill and up the valley, which is now Cavendish Street, to within 100 yards of Alan Road. The house was called Walch Fenn in the early nineteenth century and in later years it was called Lower Hill House, to differentiate it from a near neighbour, Hill House (now Alexandra Park). It became Trinity Lodge in the late 19th century. The land which originally formed part of the estate was nearly all sold in the early 19th century leaving the immediate surrounding garden and four acres to the south. By 1880 this field was sold off to become brick works. Research has traced the ownership of Trinity Lodge back to 1720 when it was owned by Thomas King, a London glazier. He sold it on to a local man, Walter Ray. Between 1874 and 1895 it was used as a rectory for the neighbouring Holy Trinity Church.

Rev. F.H. Maude was responsible for building the Trinity Church Day Schools in Trinity Street, costing nearly 2,000, and the new Vicarage at the top of Bishops Hill (in what is now Rosehill Road) in 1868, at a cost of 1,500. Only a few yards down Bishops Hill is a large retaining wall on the left which bears the hill’s name in brickwork. This retaining wall continues past the junctions with Rosehill Crescent and Rosehill Road until the road and house levels even out. The raised ground around Bishops Hill and Hollywells Park gives commanding views over the Orwell estuary and was a good place to build substantial houses for the wealthy. The
Rosehill House map detail 1883 shows the house and grounds along with the neighbouring Vicarage.
For information about Alan Road Methodist Church and St Bathlomew's Church click Rosehill churches.

From the history section of Holy Trinity Church website[6]:
Garden Fete
By kind permission of Miss Roberts this is to be held at Rose Hill, Felixstowe Road, on Wednesday next, from 3pm – 7pm. The St John’s Home Band, a Cycle Parade in fancy dress, Gramophone, Lawn Tennis, Croquet and other games, are the chief attractions offered. Tea will be offered at one penny a cup; eatables at an equally small charge. Admission will be sixpence each. When it is known that the proceeds are to be given to the Curate’s Fund and Church Pastoral Aid Society we expect that our congregation and their friends will help to make this the success it deserves to be”. Note: This was the first of Holy Trinity’s garden fetes, thought to be necessary owing to the death of Mr Biddle who had previously contributed very heavily towards the Church expenses.”

Robert Malster[11], local historian:
“… Miss Roberts lived at ‘Rosehill House’, which was the first dwelling in Felixstowe Road - which was separated from Bishops Hill by Rose Hill Road. So Rosehill House must be on the corner of Felixstowe Road and Rose Hill Road. Miss Roberts is still at ‘Rose Hill House’ - yes, the spelling changes! - in 1916, but at some stage the house is no longer listed in the directories ... Mr. Biddle who'd died was on Bishop's Hill. I'd reckon that fete is quite late, perhaps about 1910 from the mention of a Gramophone and other things.
Anyway, we now know that Rose Hill got the name from a house occupied by a Miss Roberts - I wonder who she was?” As it turns out, the house is bigger than expected and set back in its own grounds.

Roe’s Hill?
Doing a little more digging, we unearthed the potential source of the name ‘Rose Hill’. An 1812 map entitled ‘Liberties of Ipswich in the County of Suffolk (as ascertained by a perambulation performed by the Bailiffs and other members of the Corporation, September 7th 1812’ places the word ‘Roe’ on the Rosehill area. Only the radial roads from the town centre exist at this period: Back Hamlet, Foxhall Road, Felixstowe Road and Nacton Road.[7]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Roe's Hill map small
Click here for an enlargement of the map.

And this is where the story crosses over with the Cobbold family history, and not for the only time. Charles Cobbold (1793-1859) was of the fourth generation of the famous brewing family. It is almost certain that he met (and fell in love with?) Ann Roe (1795-1851) at his mother's Valentine party in 1811. It seems likely that Anne Roe inherited the Rose Hill Estate on the death of Owen Roe in 1825 and that having married Charles Cobbold, in the Church of St Clement, Ipswich on 17 October 1815, she became the owner with her husband, passing it on to their only surviving son, Alan Brooksby Cobbold when they both died. In 1864 he owned the 238 acre Rose Hill estate. It was sold to the Rev E. C. Alston of Dennington. On his death it was sold again and Rose Hill (Rosehill) Road, Alston Road (named after its late clergyman owner) and Alan Road were constructed, the last named after Alan Brooksby Cobbold (or possibly after Allins Field*** which existed before the road was built .

So, Owen Roe is described as ‘Farmer of Rose Hill, Ipswich’ (1770-1825). It is not too much of a stretch to look at that label of ownership on the 1812 map: ‘Roe’ and think that the origin of the local name was “Roe’s Hill”, which soon became verbally modified into “Rosehill”. Roe’s Hill would have been adjacent to the nearby “Bishop’s Hill” (which formed the border of the Bishop’s Wick which was one of the four hamlets into which the town was once divided, this including the residence of the Bishop of Norwich). The speculative similarity of naming of the two “Hills” is convincing. Incidentally, Ann Roe is buried in a large tomb with her father in the grounds of the Chapel of St Andrew, Darmsden (a church privately-owned by the local community) not far from Needham Market. The inscription is unclear but suggests her date of death was 1851. Click here to view the tomb.

***See also Margaret Hancock's research on the history of the Rosehill housing estate, written thirty years ago, but added to this website in 2015 which confirms and amplifies the information about the area. Many thanks to Margaret for this contribution.

The big houses
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trinity Vicarage 1  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trinity Vicarage 2
The first house in Rosehill Road, as it now is called, from the Bishop's Hill end is number 199. It was (until about 1992 when a new-build house in keeping with it surroundings – visible in the image above – was erected in its garden on the corner) “Trinity Vicarage”, which still bears its name painted on the gate-post. The four holes drilled in the stone indicate that a metal nameplate once covered this lettering which is shallow-chiselled serif'd capitals with a black paint infill. (See also Woodbridge Road for a partially-named former vicarage.) For more house name plaques at the other end of this road see Rosehill house names. Incidentally, the right-hand gable of this fine house was rebuilt after the house suffered bomb damage (and a consequent death in the garden, we hear) during the 2nd World War: the differences are particularly noticeable in the brickwork above the upstairs windows.)
The 2012 photograph of the vicarage (above) shows a trailing plant covering the area above the front door. By 2014 the wall has been cleared to reveal a monogrammed, dated plaque:
which would be the initials of the vicar who had the house built, Rev. F.H. Maude, the incumbent of Holy Trinity Church, in 1868. It was also noted, perhaps unusually, that the faint, carved lettering 'TRINITY VICARAGE' can be found on the stone section in the corner brick pilaster (Rosehill Road, Felixtowe Road), shown below.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trinity Vicarage 1a   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Trinity Vicarage 2a2014 images
The first few yards of what we now call Rosehill Road is labeled on an OS map of 1883/4[8] as ‘Vicarage Road’. This must have been cut first as an access to Trinity Vicarage. The short, right-angled road we now call Rosehill Crescent was the continuation of the original Rosehill Road.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: 1883 map 2
See also our Cavendish Street page for a large map detail from 1867 of the beginnings of the FLS Rosehill and Vale Estates. Here Alan Road and Newton Road are delineated with hardly any houses (and parallel with them is a long, straight 'Foot Path' linking Felixstowe Road and the end of Cauldwell Hall Road), Rosehill Crescent is 'Windmill Street' and the lower part of Rosehill Road is 'St Helens Road'.

On the 1882 map, between Vicarage Road and Alston Road, set back from Felixstowe Road is Rosehill House. It survives to this day as a large, handsome (un-signed) building. Now four flats (perhaps with others added on) at the end of the cul-de-sac Sandhurst Avenue. The present Rosehill Road curves round close to the rear of the property. If you doubt the 'hill' component of 'Rosehill' glance between the old houses on the outer curve of the road to see the land fall away behind them towards the lower part of Cavendish Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosehill House 1  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosehill House 22012 images
Above: the view from Sandhurst Avenue. Rosehill House surrounded by 1930 semis.
The 1984 'Local list' (see Reading list) prepared by The Ipswich Society (see Links) tells us:
"21-24 Sandhurst Avenue, early 19th century; 2 storey detached house, originally 'Rose Hill' house. Suffolk white brick, hipped slate roof with red terra cotta ridge. 4 window range, 4 & 6 light sashes with stone lintels. 2, 6 french windows with  rubbed brick arches to Ground Floor. Timber door surround – fluted pillasters with plain cornice, recessed doorway in glazed screen approached by 3 stone steps. Timber dentilled eaves. 2 storey rear outbuildingsimilar to main house but walls cement rendered. Some original chimneys.
4 flats and 1 private house."
Even the tiny pond/roundabout in front is mentioned: "Pond – Sandhurst Avenue. Originally part of the garden of 21-24 but now in turning circle of road.
Stone circular surround with central stone 'cup' ornament. Flanked by two yew trees."
Indeed you can identify this pond on the 1883 map (above).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosehill House 3
Above: the front elevation. Original sash windows replaced by unsympathetic plastic double-glazing. The brickwork above the porch indicates that a big, central first storey window (which would have matched those on each side) has been replaced by two smaller windows when the conversion to flats occurred. The large single front door in the porch has been replaced by three doors to flats.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosehill House 4
Above: Next to No. 56 Rosehill Road is a driveway leading to the rear of the big house with a detached house set back on each side of the plot; there is access to other properties, apparently.
The above interpretation of the origin's of the name 'Rosehill' is supported by a fascinating Letter to the Editor in the East Anglian Daily Times dated 29.2.1895 written by Mr T. Abbott-Howe, Honorary Secretary of the Ipswich Victoria Free Library, Rose Hill Branch [the story of which is detailed below].
"... I should like further to remark that the Branch has not been established exclusively for the benefit of that part of the town yclept California. The name California has long since  been merged into that of the parish of St. John; indeed with a few exceptions it may be considered as obsolete. This part of the town which is commonly spoken of as Rose Hill, was long anterior to the district of California. In a letter received in 1887 from my old friend Dr. Clarke, of Wakefield, a native of Ipswich, and for some years curator of the Museum, he expressed surprise that my letters were updated from Rose Hill, stating that that was a corruption of Rowe's Hill, so termed from the gentleman who went by the sobriquet of Ready-Money Rowe, and who built the Mansion now known as Rose Hill House, and that previous to its erection, it was called Bishop's Hill."
[That's nine commas and three sets of italics in one sentence. It's also notable that Mr Abbott-Howe spelt the name with a 'w' in 'Rowe'. It is clear from the Roe family tomb inscriptions at Darmsden that 'Roe' is the correct spelling.]

A footnote to the big houses here on the high ground overlooking what was, in the 19th century, the poorest part of Ipswich: St Clement's parish:-
"Overlooking the densely populated dockside area though hidden from view, were the houses of some important townsmen. Most notably, at the top of Bishop's Hill stood Holywells, the residence and park of the Cobbolds, the dominant ground landlord of the district below, the owner of the Cliff Brewery and a considerable employer of labour. Also at the top of the hill there were a number of new houses of men of some substance in the town's affairs including a mechanical engineer, Biddell, at Upland Gate [the big house partly visible from the present-day Rosehill Crescent], Thomas Mortimer, a merchant and Rev. Francis Maude, the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church. At the top of Back Hamlet was Hill House and its grounds, the residence of the Byles family, malsters and merchants, and just below was Trinity Lodge, where the vicar of St Lawrence lived. Such residences away from and literally above the masses in the streets below and unlike those of their fellows who still lived in Fore Street and Church Street [later Grimwade Street], were part of that process of spatial distancing that was taking place in Ipswich as in most large towns as in nineteenth-century class society became more clearly differentiated. This separation of the classes is also apparent within the area as well: behind the mainly middle and lower middle class thoroughfares of Fore Street, Church Street and Borough Road lay the warren of poor housing where the mass of the labouring poor lived." Extract from Rags and Bones by Frank Grace see Reading List.

The churches
Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Bartholomews smallClick here for more on St Bartholomew's Church / Alan Road Methodist Church
Bob Malster continues:
“The parish of St. Bartholomew's was formed out of parts of Holy Trinity and St. Clement's parishes in August, 1894 and the church was built thereafter; in 1908 it was said to be still unfinished. I get the feeling that the Rose Hill area was only developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, rather later than California, or the St. John's area as it's now more often known; the development there started in the early days of the Ipswich and Suffolk Freehold Land Society, formed in 1849, the year of the Californa gold rush - hence the nickname of the area [the California Social Club is just up the road from Rosehill Library]. When the Felixstowe railway line was opened in 1876 there were bitter complaints from Ipswich Corporation that Derby Road station was worthless as it was so far from the town and from any habitation. [It is perhaps significant that the car park behind Rosehill Library backs onto the railway cutting of the Westerfield-Felixstowe line, built by Colonel Tomline who lived at Orwell Park, Nacton and after whom Tomline Road is named.] In 1892 Derby Road station was said to be in St. John's and there's no mention in the directory of Rose Hill, except that Rose Hill Road Board School had been erected in 1884 and had an average attendance of 164. It was enlarged in 1898 and in 1904 was said to have an average attendance of 312 girls and 251 infants - it doesn’t seem to have taken boys when they got beyond the infant stage. There's no mention of Rose Hill Library, so perhaps your date of 1906 is right*. Yes, it's appeared in Tomline Road by 1912, with an honorary librarian!”
[*It actually turned out to have been opened on
24th May 1905; see document D. below.] See our Railway bridges page for more on the Felixstowe line.

Tomline Road 1882 map section shows the very limited development of the surrounding area at that date. The plots for houses are identified and marked out with the library branch plot (coloured orange) being one of the larger ones. This might suggest that the Borough had it in mind during the surveying and laying out of the area, prior to major building. However, the 1879 FLS map on the same page shows two separate initial owners of the plot twenty-six years before the building/opening of Rosehill Library in Tomline Road.

Anthony Cobbold of the Cobbold Family History Trust adds that:
"St Bartholomew's has always been a great centre of the Catholic Movement within the Church of England and its fine building was erected through the generosity of Anna Frances Spooner (1830-1906), daughter of John Chevallier Cobbold (1797-1882) and wife of Dean Edward Spooner (1821-1899) of Hadleigh whose brother-in-law was the first Scottish Archbishop of Canterbury, 1868-1882." This red brick Anglo-Catholic church in the middle of Rosehill's terraced houses and gardens (which Simon Knott on his Suffolk Churches website – see Links – has described as "a Victorian railway suburb") has an important link to the local branch library in that the first Vicar of St Bartholemew's Chuch was Rev. G.A. Cobbold and, as we see from the 'Eminent personages' section towards the end of this page, he was one of the first patrons of Rosehill Library.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosehill Library 1a2012 image
The IBC Local List tells us:
'Rosehill Library. Early 20thc. 2 storey detached library building. Domestic scale; gabled roof, the eaves extending to first floor level. A flat roofed single storey extension has been added to the rear. Red brick, painted render, clay tile roof. The entrance elevation to Tomline Road has a centrally placed doorway between three light rectangular window openings. Above, a blank fascia with the lettering ‘Rosehill Library’, capped by a simple timber cornice. Above, and disappearing behind the bargeboards of the gable eaves, a rectangular six light window with one pane subdivided into nine lights.'

Period documents

A. Transcript of an article from the East Anglian Daily Times / Evening Star, 28 February, 1895.
The necessity of establishing a branch of the Ipswich Victoria Free Lending Library in that district of the town comprising parts of the parishes of St. John’s, Holy Trinity, and St. Bartholomew has on more than one occasion been recognised. With a view of carrying this into effect, the Rev. J.H. Jennings, curate of Holy Trinity, summoned a meeting of residents in the Rose Hill district, who readily fell in with the proposal of establishing a branch library in connection with the central one in High Street. Active measures were immediately set on foot, and with the formation of a committee, consisting of the Rev. J.H. Jennings, Mr. W. Lindsay, Mr. J. Webb, Mr. R.E. Adams, together with the assistance of Mr. T. Abbott Howe, who has displayed no little enthusiasm in the project, rapid progress was made. With the co-operation of the Committee of the Victoria Free Library, and a ready response to the subscription list, a library comprising 450 books has been started at Winterbourne House, Alston Road, through the kindness of Mr R.E. Adams, who besides lending the room, has undertaken to act as honorary librarian.

The formal opening of the library took place on Wednesday afternoon, when there were present, Mr Edward Packard, jun., chairman of the Victoria Free Library Committee; Mr J.H. Grimwade, the Rev. W.H. Williamson, Mr. W. Lindsay, the Rev. T.W. Tozer, Mr. Frank Woolnough, The Rev. J. H. Jennings, Mr. T.H. Abbott Howe (hon. sec.), and Mr. R.E. Adams. – Mr. Packard expressed his gratification that they had started a branch of the Town Library, which certainly could not properly serve the requirements of that district. He hoped that the new branch was the forerunner of others in other districts of the town. Though it was on one side of the high level district, it would fulfil the requirements of those living in that wide district on the east of the town. Having made allusion to the advantages accruing from a library of that character, Mr. Packard said the public were greatly indebted to those gentlemen who had been so actively engaged in starting the movement. He assured them that the Committee of the Public Library would assist as far as possible; but remarked that their resources were extremely limited. It was to the efforts of the Rev. T.W. Tozer that they were not so limited as they otherwise would have been, for he made a personal effort some years ago in augmenting their funds. Mr. Tozer’s services, especially in that direction, had been invaluable, and but for the limited funds at their disposal, they would be able to carry on their work on a much broader scale. It was unnecessary for him to dwell on the present occasion on the advantages of a public library, for they had in their minds the speeches of eminent public men on the opening of public libraries. He was glad to find that application to the Committee for the supply of works of a technical character.

The Rev. W. H. Williamson, in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Packard for his attendance, said he remembered the opening of the Library in High Street by the same gentleman, and he felt what he said then would be suitable for the present occasion. It was only a small beginning, but he hoped that a development would be made, and that a reading-room might be started in conjunction with the Library.

Mr W. Lindsay seconded the motion, saying that the branch would be very convenient to the residents of that part of town.

The Chairman read letters from Mr. D. Ford Goddard and Lord John Hervey, who regretted their inability to attend. Mr. Goddard wrote that he had always advocated the establishment of branch libraries in populous districts, and though the present arrangement was not equal to his ideas, yet it was a step in the right direction.

The Rev. J.H. Jennings expressed a hope that the Committee of the Public Library would aid them in augmenting the stock of books. From experience he had gained in a Midland city, where his time was occupied among the artisan classes, he found there was a strong desire for technical knowledge among the workers. He felt that educational works and books on elementary science would be greatly appreciated. It was their desire in the future to erect a building which would serve as a library and an institute, where anyone might indulge in games and social intercourse.

The Rev. T.W. Tozer remarked, with regard to supplying the branch with more books, that some difficulty was experienced in parting with those already given. The central library was so extremely limited, and the readers had grown so rapidly that they were quite unable to meet the demand. It was hardly known by the public that the Committee could devote very little money to purchase of books. The library was founded by donations, and during the first three years all the books were purchased by funds derived in that way, and not a penny of the ratepayers’ money had been spent. Since that time only 100 a year had been allotted to the purchase of new books, and he left them to judge how far that would go. They would not be able to effectually supply the Central Library, as quite 500 a year was required for new books. Through the kindness of Mr. Packard, sen., they had a large number of educational works, and he was sure the Committee would be able to supply the branch with such works.

Mr. J.H. Grimwade was glad to understand they contemplated building a reading-room in conjunction with the library. –The Secretary spoke of the origins of the movement, and said it was proposed to build a room which should be nearer St. John’s, and the cost was estimated at 80, with 20 for fittings. Hearty support had been given and the subscription list now amounted to 50, 12 of which had been spent in starting the branch.

The library will be open Monday and Friday evenings, and Wednesday afternoons. The following gentlemen have contributed books to the library:– Mr. Whitfield King, 30 volumes; the Rev. J.H. Jennings, Mr. T. Abbott Howe, Mr. Frank Woolnough and the Rev. A.R. Harper Smith. Among the donors to the funds are Mr. D. Ford Goddard, 5 gns.; Mr. A.W. Soames, 3 gns,, promising a further sum when the new building has been erected; Lord Elcho M.P., 3 gns.; Sir Charles Dalrymple, M.P., 2.”
[UPDATE 18.6.2012: We are no longer able to display scans of original documents due to copyright issues with the Suffolk Record Office.]
See our Alston Road page for an exploration of the house names, in an attempt to track down Winterbourne House.

From this fascinating article we glean that the original library was a single room in a private house: Winterbourne House, Alston Road (we haven't been able to identify this house and it doesn't appear to bear a name plaque) owned by Mr R.E. Adams, who also volunteered to become the branch’s first honorary librarian. We also note the very limited opening hours (two evenings and one afternoon per week). It was stocked with only 450 donated volumes. That a book was a prized and valuable artefact is clear from the comment that: “some difficulty was experienced in parting with those already given”. Clearly the financial foundations were already laid for a purpose-built branch library, but no indication is given that a location had been chosen apart from “nearer to St John’s”. The estimated cost would be 80, plus 20 for fittings.

This flyer was published to promote usage of the new branch (click here to see an image of the document):
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Alston Road flyer
How one actually found a Burgess to sign one's application to join the library may need further research. The desperate shortage of bookstock is clear. Even in these early days of the Rose Hill branch, there was a drive to provide a more permanenent home. To raise funds for the building of an 'EASTERN DISTRICT INSTITUTE in Connection with the ROSE HILL BRANCH of the VICTORIA FREE LIBRARY' on 24 April 1895, a Grand Concert performed by amateur musicians was organised in the Lecture Hall, Tower Street [this is now the Old Rep public house, variously Pool's Picture Palace, and Allied Forces club, The Ipswich Arts Theatre, The Alexandra Theatre and a Pentecostal church; it was converted into a lecture theatre for the Mechanics Institute in 1849]. Lord Elcho MP returned from his prolonged stay in the south of France and Italy (due to 'severe illness', possibly tuberculosis) to cheering crowds at the railway station to preside at the concert. The use of the word 'institute' indicates a desire to provide a Reading Room as well as a place to store books. (Information taken from EADT cutting dated 5.4.1895)
FLS map of the Derby Road Estate, 1879 showing the initial ballot-winning owner of the library site and the person to whom she sold it, all prior to any building on the estate. (Background on California and the F.L.S.)

B. The ‘Report of the Free Library Committee with reference to the Rose Hill Branch Library 3.5.1905’ (the typescript of which follows) picks up the story. The library receives only 300 books lent by the Free Library, which are exchanged half-yearly. 20 a year is also given for building hire and the purchase and binding of books. It is open only three hours a week and the ‘gratuitous’ Librarian is now Mr Walter Blackmore. Importantly, the building in Tomline Road will be completed by the end of May 1905, paid for by donations. A ground rent of 5/- per year will be charged by the Corporation.  
The Tomline Road library was opened on 24 May 1905 (the date of 1895 in the first line of the report refers to the Alston Road library). It was built on land purchased  by the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of Ipswich in 1897 – as stated in the information from Suffolk Record Office (detailed in a following paragraph). The building was designed, free of charge, by Mr Frank Brown, architect and Diocesan Surveyor.

Click here to see a scan of the document.
The Rose Hill Branch Library opened in February 1895.
It was funded[?] privately and is under the management of a self-constituted Committee.
300 volumes are lent by the Free Library to the Branch Library and are exchanged half yearly if desired by the Branch Library.
For a number of years past a contribution of 20 a year has been made by the Committee of the Free Library to the Branch Library to cover the cost of the hire of a building and for the purchase and binding of books.
Beyond this the Committee of the Free Library do not support or hold themselves responsible for the Branch Library.
At the present time the Branch Library is open on three nights a week from 8 to 9 p.m. The services of Librarian are rendered gratuitously by Mr. Walter Blackmore.
It is understood that the new building in Tomline Road will be completed by the end of May and that the cost of its erection will be entirely defrayed by private contributions. A ground rent of 5/- a year will be charged by the Corporation for the land on which it is erected.
The Committee of the Free Library recommend that the Committee of the Branch Library be allowed the use of the new building upon the following terms:-
The Branch Committee to pay rent of 5/- a year and to keep the building both inside and outside and the fences in thorough repair and insured against fire in the sum of 300.
The Branch Committee to submit a statement of accounts with a report yearly or half yearly as may be decided by the Committee of the Free Library.
The Branch Committee shall consist of 13 members (including officials), or such other number as shall from time to time be fixed by the Free Library Committee. A bare majority of the members shall be nominated by the Free Library Committee.
The Branch Committee to submit all rules and regulations regarding the Branch Library to the Committee of the Free Library for approval.
In the event of the Branch Committee ceasing to carry on the Library all the books and fittings to forthwith become the property of the Free Library.
Subject to [this] the tenancy to be determinable by three months notice on either side expiring at any time of the year."

Response to Rosehill Readers from Suffolk Record Office to an enquiry about any deeds or covenants relating to Rosehill Library:

"There is nothing much here in the County Council Archives. ...All the branch libraries in Ipswich would have been the responsibility of the old Ipswich Borough Council up until the local government reorganisation of 1974.  They were then handed over to the new Suffolk County Council.
The deed packet / file for the Ipswich libraries is here (reference 2/3848-3950) but this has little in it apart from the registration papers from the Land Registry showing ownership by Suffolk County Council.  The original deeds for Rosehill Library are missing and have been for quite a long time.  There is a description of them here, however, and it shows quite clearly that the land was acquired by the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of Ipswich in 1897. There is no mention of land being donated. In case you want to come and look at something we have here the Annual Reports of the Borough of Ipswich Public Library Service.  The early ones might have references to Rosehill (Reference DC6/1/1 to 30) and might be interesting.  There is also another document (Reference DC6/11/6) which is a ‘Report of the Free Library Committee with reference to the Rose Hill Branch, 1905’ [transcribed above]."

“Rose Hill Branch Library Papers which came into the hands of the Trust recently reveal that of the 328 raised in 1905 for the building of the library 100 (30%) was given by Felix Thornley Cobbold. Sadly it is now threatened with closure.”[9]
– Anthony Cobbold, Cobbold Family History Trust
These papers included the following two documents, both of which have been transcribed for ease of reading. Mr Cobbold gives us the dates for Felix Thornley Cobbold (1841 – 1909), the philanthropist who saved both Christchurch Mansion (and by extension the surrounding park) as a public amenity in 1895. Also for Philip Wyndham Cobbold (1875 – 1945).

Click here to see a scan of the document.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rosehill Library table

The next documents give a little more information, plus the list of supporters of the library. Click here to see a scan of the document.

D. “The Rose Hill branch of the Free Library was opened on the 24th May 1905 by the Mayor of Ipswich, Alderman J.H. Grimwade. The building was designed, free of charge, by Mr Frank Brown, and erected by subscriptions collected by a Committee, of which Mr J. Birkett was Chairman, the Rev W.H. Williamson Hon. Secretary, and Mr. W. Blackmore Hon. Librarian. The subscriptions were announced at the opening ceremony to be as follows:–

Mr W.F. Paul 100; Mr. Felix Cobbold 100; Mr F.H. Fosdick 25; Mr. W. Pipe 25; Mr. B.H. Burton 25; Mr. E. Herbert Fison 10; Mr. J. Birkett 5; Mr. A, Brown 5; Mr. W.S. Cowell 5; Mr. P.W. Cobbold 4; Mr. Sydney Brand 2.2s; “Book Reader” 2.2s; The Mayor 10; Mr. H.J.W. Jervis 5; Mr. F. Fish 5.
Total: 328.4s.0d

This was stated to be sufficient to pay for the building, and to provide something for the provision of books.”

E. "The Suffolk Record Office copy of the ‘Minute Book of the Ipswich Victoria Free Library, Rose Hill Branch’ lists
Rev. J.H. Jenkins B.A., Curate of Holy Trinity; Mr W. Lindsay, Alan Road Wesleyan Church;
Mr J. Webb; Mr T. Abbott Howe; Mr R.E. Adams.
Sir C. Dalrymple M.P.; Lord Elcho M.P.; D. Ford Goddard Esq. J.P.; A.W. Soames Esq.;
J.H. Grimwade Esq..; E. Packard, Jun. Esq.; Captain E.G. Pretyman; H. Rider Haggard Esq.;
G.A. Biddell Esq.; Rev. W.H. Williamson; Rev. G.A. Cobbold; Rev. Wickham Tozer;
With many others."

Click here to see a scan of the document.

Eminent personages
Looking over the papers so far gathered for this project, names resonate with Ipswichians even today. (At a time when women were still fighting for universal suffrage – not achieved until 1928 – those people are almost all male.) It's worth listing a few of them here and, where indicated, they appear in our Street name derivations list:-
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrew CarnegieAndrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919): Scottish-born emigree to the US who made most of his money in the steel industry; often regarded as the second-richest man in history after John D. Rockefeller; major philanthropist, particularly towards libraries.
Frank Brown (1859-1929): architect of Rosehill Library (gratis), took over (with George Hastings Burgess) the Ipswich architecture practice of Brightwen Binyon (architect of Nethaniah almshouses) on Binyon's retirement in 1897.
J. Birkitt: possibly part of the Birkitts Solicitors family – now a large legal firm. (In 1865 Benjamin Birkett was a solicitor in 4 Providence Street, Ipswich.)
Sydney Brand: Mayor of Ipswich 1915-16[10]. Possibly related to the corsetier, E. Brand whose name features on a building in Tacket Street.
B.H. Burton (1858-1943): Sir Bunnell Henry Burton director of the Ipswich firm of Burton, Son & Sanders, the confectioners with the mill on the Wet Dock; their offices still stand in College Street. He was organist of St. Mary-le-Tower Church, Mayor of Ipswich in 1905, and for 38 years Chairman of the Governors at Ipswich School, being knighted in 1934 for political and public services in Ipswich. A member at the Ipswich Art Club 1910-1915. Commemorated by the Burton drinking fountain in Christchurch Park.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felix CobboldFelix Thornley Cobbold
Felix Thornley Cobbold (1841-1879): one of the most notable of the Cobbold family: diplomat, brewer, banker, politician, philanthropist, farmer, MP and JP. See Street name derivations and his blue plaque on the Reg Driver Centre.
Rev. G.A. Cobbold (1857-1915): member of the famous Cobbold brewing family which lived at Holywells House; the first Vicar of St Bartholomew's church in Rosehill Road from 1894 until his death.
W.S. Cowell (d. 1925): Walter Samuel Cowell, a printer and stationer with premises in Buttermarket, Market Lane and Falcon Street; incorporated as 'W.S. Cowell Ltd.' in 1900 to become one of the most successful and respected commercial printers in the country. Also had dealings in wines and spirits, rags (possibly to make rag paper for printing) and, later, furniture. The family printing business dated back to 1818.
Sir C. Dalrymple (1839-1916): Scottish Conservative politician, he was MP for Ipswich between 1886-1906.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Lord ElchoLord Elcho
Lord Elcho
(1884-1916): Hugo Francis Charteris, Lord Elcho; killed in action during the First World War. One of the MPs for Ipswich, he presided at the Grand Concert in 1895 which raised funds for the Rosehill branch.
E. Herbert Fison F.C.S. (d. 1931): author of Flocks and fleeces: a history of sheep and wool with a chapter on frozen mutton (published 1894), lived at Stoke House, Ipswich. Probably related to the famous Fison fertilizer family (see E. Packard).
D. Ford Goddard (1850-1922): Ipswich civil engineer and business man; Liberal MP for Ipswich 1895-1918. See Street name derivations.
J.H. Grimwade (d. 1929): John Henry Grimwade, took his father's drapery business to new heights and eventually the  'J.H. Grimwade & Sons' large lettering on the store on the corner of Cornhill and Westgate Street became an Ipswich landmark. He was Mayor of Ipswich in 1904-5 and was a Borough Council member until his death in 1929.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: H. Rider HaggardH. Rider Haggard
H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925): Sir Henry Rider Haggard, best known as a novellist of African adventures, notably She and King Solomon's Mines. Norfolk-born, his barrister father sent him to Ipswich Grammar School, perhaps because it was a cheap option and his father dindn't think he would amount to much. Interesting that he maintained a link to and support for the town which provided his education.
Mr Whitfield King: Charles Whitfield King (b. 1855) was one of the donors of books to the initial Rosehill branch library. King's worldwide philatelic business was run from Morpeth House in Lacey Street.
E. Packard Jun.: chairman of the Victoria Free Library Committee and son of Edward Packard (1848-1932) who donated scientific works to the fledgling Rosehill branch. Packard Senior was originally a chemist who developed and patented a method for producing a highly concentrated superphosphate. His own company merged with that of James Fison of Thetford., this became Fison, Packard & Prentice. Coprolite Street is named after the fossilised dung nodules used in the process.  Packard served as a High Steward of Ipswich, Chairman of the Harwich Harbour Board; President of the SFK Chamber of Agriculture, Chairman of the Ipswich Museum & Free Library Committee, and Chairman of the Ipswich School of Arts. He founded the Ipswich Art Society in 1874.
W.F. Paul (1850-1928): Alderman William Fraser Paul's name crops up on the Girls' Ragged School foundation stone, also on the gates of Bourne Park which he gave to the Borough. He was Mayor of Ipswich 1900-1 and he gave the site in Northgate Street to the Corporation for the building of the Central Library. He was the 'W" in R & W Paul's maltings still emblazoned on a silo beside the Wet Dock. There is more about him on our More almshouses page relating to the Wm. Paul Tenement Trust. See our Paul's malting page for the story of the company and its importance to Ipswich.
Captain E.G. Pretyman: we think this is Cpt. Ernest George Pretyman, an officer in the Royal Artillery (1860-1931): Secretary of State to the Board of Trade, Civil Lord of the Admiralty (1916-19). Also MP for Woodbridge and for Chelmsford. Inherited Orwell Park (now the public school in Nacton) from his cousin, Colonel George Tomline, (see Street name derivations) in 1889. Tomline is himself commemorated by the name of the road in which Rosehill Library now stands.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Rwv. Wickham TozerRev. Wickham Tozer
Rev. Wickham Tozer (d. 1908): Rev Thomas Wickham Tozer, pastor of the Congregational church, St Nicholas, Ipswich, chairman of the Board of Guardians, the Labour Bureau and the Ipswich Free Library. Tozer was one of the central figures in one of the major ecclesiastical scandals of the 19th Century, the Akenham Burial Case. It was a scandal that occupied the national press for a year or more; a scandal that reached the highest courts in the land, and ultimately led to a change in the law. It is the story of a conspiracy, a tale of manipulation and persecution. Even more than this, it was a watershed in the controversy surrounding the Oxford Movement, and the irresistible rise of Anglo-catholicism.
Tozer's tombstone is in Ipswich Old Cemetery. The whole story is on the Akenham Church page on Simon's Suffolk Churches (see Links). Tozer also crops up on the 'lost' inaugural stone tablet of the Heathfields, the Ipswich Workhouse.
Frank Woolnough (1845-1930): Curator of Ipswich Museum (1893-1920) in High Street, which incorporated the Victoria Free Library until 1924.
We think we're only missing a 'Ransome'!

Mayor (from the Latin māior, meaning "greater") is the highest-ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city. In modern times the mayor's role is largely ceremonial and is awarded to a long-serving councillor for one year, as in Ipswich.
Alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council member elected by voters. Although the term originated in England, it had no clear definition there until the 19th century, as each municipal corporation had its own constitution. The title is derived from the Old English title of ealdorman, literally meaning "elder man", and was used by the chief nobles presiding over shires.
Burgess is a word in English that originally meant a freeman of a borough (England) or burgh (Scotland). It later came to mean an elected or unelected official of a municipality, or the representative of a borough in the English House of Commons. It was derived in Middle English and Middle Scots from the Old French word burgeis, simply meaning "an inhabitant of a town".

A glance back and a glimpse forwards...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cavendish Road lower  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cavendish Road upper
Left: the lower section of Cavendish Street slopes steeply away, eventually to meet the bottom of Bishop's Hill. Right: Upper Cavendish Street as it crosses Newton Road and, framed at the end, Rosehill Library. But for how long?

It is clear from these early documents that the library service in Ipswich, as in so many places in the country, relied on philanthropy: 'the great and the good' attending meetings, rallying support, (sometimes donating their own books) and dipping into their pockets to found a public service which in the 21st century we take for granted and which is now under threat from central government and County Council funding cuts and 'efficiency savings'. Indeed, the building of the centre-piece of what was to become a countywide library service – nowadays significantly called 'County Library' – in Northgate Street, Ipswich relied heavily on funding from the Carnegie U.K. Trust, itself a philanthopic organisation. In 2010 this amount (of 22,500 in 1921) would have been equivalent to around 2,970,000.

From the political position summed up by the words of the Tory MP in 1849 with which we started this page:
"people have too much knowledge already: it was much easier to manage them twenty years ago; the more education people get the more difficult they are to manage"
our society appears to have come full circle. The ethos of free access to information, books, the internet and culture has driven our public library service for many decades.  The assumption that "everyone has the internet nowadays" is false. Firstly, it assumes that all information, commentary and fiction published in books are available on the World Wide Web. Secondly, the large, rural county of Suffolk has a scattered (and increasingly ageing) population whose access to public transport – always limited or non-existent – is also suffering cuts in funding. The global financial crisis of 2007/8 still reverberates around local government and public services and only in 2012 are people seeing their employment, income, housing and family stability at threat. As many in the population suffer decreasing living standards, the option of broadband internet, if it's available at all, becomes unaffordable. We face the prospect of the majority of our society becoming significantly poorer by financial, educational, cultural and other measures. A free-of-charge public library book service, as laid down in the 1964 Act, becomes a vital resource for anyone wishing to access the intellectual means to improve their position. This can include access to materials for education, training, literacy, self-improvement and new areas of employment. It also encompasses the wealth of creative texts which give us novels, poetry and non-fiction of all kinds; not to mention children's books on every conceivable subject which are so popular with families.

Reading a book can change your life. As can watching a film, listening to a piece of music...
Do we really need to wait for another Andrew Carnegie to come along if it is decided that 21st century Britain can't afford decent public services, epitomised by Rosehill Library in Ipswich?

[2]. Twinch, Carol: 'Ipswich street by street', Breedon Books, 2006
Clegg, James. ‘The international directory of second-hand booksellers and bibliophile's manual : including lists of the public libraries of the world; publishers, book collectors, learned societies and institutions’. 1899
[4]. Historical research by Jonathan Clift, ‘Suffolk Library User’ website (
[5]. Kelly's Directory 1920
[6]. History of Holy Trinity Church by Roy Tricker (
[7]. Map reproduced in the book Redstone, L.J.: Ipswich through the ages. East Anglian Magazine Ltd, 1948
[8]. Ordnance Survey map, eastern Ipswich sections 1883/4 (Scale 1/1250)
[9]. The Cobbold Family History Trust (, Anthony Cobbold's definitive history of the noted Ipswich family
[10]. List of Mayors of Ipswich (, the first Mayor having taken up office in 1836.
Also archive research by Tony James, staff member at Rosehill Library.
[11]. Robert Malster has written several excellent local history books, a couple of our favourites are shown on the Reading List.

To report any historical, typographical or linguistic inexactitudes, or to contribute any information or anecdotes about Rosehill Library, please click the email link below.
[UPDATE 16.5.2012: 'Borin, You have done a great job with that web site and I have enjoyed every minute that I have spent looking at it.  Thank you. -Anthony' (from Anthony Cobbold of the Cobbold Family History Trust see Links)]
[UPDATE 27.5.2012: 'Borin, Phew, you've been doing a heck of a lot of work! Yes, I've just scanned (with the eye!) your web page; ... I do find it fascinating, you have done a good job digging so much out. - Bob Malster']

Related pages:
Rosehill churches; Rosehill house names;
Margaret Hancock's research on the history of the Rosehill area;
House name plaque examples: Alston Road; Bramford Road; Cauldwell Hall Road; Cavendish Street; Marlborough Road; Broom Hill Road
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 listNamed (& sometimes dated) buildings examples
Street nameplate examples; Brickyards;
Windmills in the Borough of Ipswich

Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.
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