Woodbridge / Melton
Lloyds Bank, 8 Thoroughfare
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Bank 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Bank 2
2015 images
A typical bank branch with a large chunky 'BANK' above the central door. The Grade II Listing text reads: 'Late C19, 2 storey and attic, 2 windows, massive stone mullion transom, plate glazing. Rubbed red brick face. Stone cornice below parapet with moulded stone cope. 1st floor stone balustraded balcony on enriched corbels. Twin stone ornamental gables with 2-light mullion attic windows. Stone entrance case with pilasters with rounded sides. Double doors, panelled. Hanging sign.'

18-20 Thoroughfare
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Gobbitt 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Gobbitt 22015 images
Traditional (but probably recently painted) drop-shadow capitals on number 20 reading 'GOBBITT & KIRBY'. Next door is a striking relief of a phoenix in the flames, presumably as the shop/office was an agency for Phoenix Life Insurance. The Grade II Listing reads: 'C18, 2 storey, originally built as a pair, now 5 and 3 windows, respectively. Red brick to No 20. Stucco lined as ashlar to No 18. 2 bands, parapet. Stuccoed plinth. Sash windows in flush frames, one central 3-light brick mullion window, arched centre light with key, side lights having pilasters, with frieze and cornice to No 18 and early C19 shop front with modern glazing. Door with 6 flush panels, arched plain fanlight, pilasters and open pediment. No 20, 6-panel selection moulded door with case to match No 18.'

[UPDATE 4.3.2017: David Gobbitt has sent a number of details of buildings in Woodbridge, which we include on this page with grateful thanks:
'One of the main reasons why I've been looking into Woodbridge almanacs is to discover more about the history of Gobbitt & Kirby.
The Barr family bought the premises in 1980 and decided to adopt the name of Gobbitt & Kirby when they launched their estate agency in 1989 at Kirby House (20 Thoroughfare) as they felt it was part of the town's heritage, still well known even though it hadn't been used for several years. Their website legitimately associates them with "one of the oldest and well respected business names in Woodbridge" but the claim to have been established in 1817 (perpetuated by their predecessors) omits the names of the earlier firms, Gross & Thompson (up to 1846) and James Gross & Co.
Not until 1902 or 1903 did my great-grandfather's half-cousin Frederick William Gobbitt (1858-1924) take over from James Gross & Co. at Bank Buildings, having been the proprietor of another old-established grocer's shop at 31 Thoroughfare (opposite number 40, on the corner of New Street) since 1894. He may have worked as a grocer or assistant for more than 40 years before going into partnership with his brother-in-law Bill (Robert William) Kirby (c.1872-1947) to form Gobbitt & Kirby in 1915. Bill's nephew Albert Solca carried on trading in the traditional style as Gobbitt & Kirby Ltd from the 1940s until the early 1970s.
Old photographs show three adjacent buildings (20, 20a & 22 Thoroughfare) occupied by the "wholesale & family grocers" and "wine, spirit, ale & stout merchants" spanning the entrance to what is now called Gobbitt's Yard, where I understand there used to be a bottling plant for drinks sold in the shop or delivered to customers throughout the district.']

27-29 Thoroughfare

Woodbridge, Suffolk: a fine market town on the River Deben which boasts an early example of a tide mill; it also has links to the famous Sutton Hoo ship burial of the Anglo-Saxon King Redwald (probably), just accross the river. In the Thoroughfare, the main shopping street of the town, we find this ancient-looking milepost - or is it a milestone?
The town is clearly proud of its (apparently) antique slab. A shaped metal tray-like support with the angled metal flanges seen above protect the 'ecclesiastical' sign, despite the cracks in the stone. This milestone is sited close to the Co-op store.Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge milestone

2001 image




The naive masonic script is redolent of a distant era when a journey to Ipswich or even London on horseback or by cart or carriage must have been quite an adventure. The stone must predate the arrival of the rail link between Ipswich and Lowestoft by a considerable time. Compare the early script with signs in East Bergholt and Stradbroke. All these reveries come down to earth with a bump as we learn from the Suffolk Milestones website (see Links) that this is reputedly a 20th Century cement replacement of the original.

Here's a further contribution from Richard at the Suffolk Milestones website [October, 2004]:
"I don't have primary evidence of this [the 20th C. replacement milestone], but I have a letter dated Sept 1993 from PW Cotton, Clerk to Woodbridge town council to a resident about this.
The response was:
"To the best of my knowledge, the milestone is made of a cement mix inside an iron framework. I would not think that it is very old - it seems to have been a replacement for an old milestone of more traditional appearance which stood on the same spot, within the last 30-40 years as a guess."
This letter was passed to me by Carol Haines, which is why I used the reference to the report in her book rather than the infernal 'pers.comm'. I assume it is based on the same letter.

This sequence is odd around Woodbridge - the one before [http://www.milestonesweb.com/sites/tm261483.htm – link no longer works] looks authentically old in style to me, but curiously different to the others made by Garrett, say
– link no longer works].

Something is different in the 7, for instance, and the lettering of Woodbridge is not radially aligned evenly with the arc, and something about the N and the O of London isn't right.
The closest date reference I have for the Ipswich to Yoxford A12 is a secondary reference to the inaugural meeting of the trustees at the Three Tuns in 1785. Stones of a roughly triangular pattern were used but eroded very bady becoming illegible, hence the move to mileposts in the early 1800s. Regards, Richard"[Many thanks to him for adding to the debate.]

[UPDATE 5.11.2012: this milestone has been 'restored'. the cracks filled and the face of the stone whitened. Was this a good idea?]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge milestone 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge milestone 22013 images

By September 2014, this was the site of the milestone. Refurbished (recast?) with a new metal support by 2015. Somehow the antique flavour of some of the characters and numerals has been lost, for eample the '46' at the bottom.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge milestone 32014 image Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge milestone 20152015 image

32-34 Thoroughfare
Opposite the milestone is the shop long known to Woodbridgians as 'Bon Marché' (the huge sign once completely covered the upper windows, perhaps the cause of their bricking-up):

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Scarfe 41911 image
Today it is Peacocks clothes shop. However, Paul Smith has unearthed (almost literally) documentary evidence of an earlier existence: "I know you are mainly interested in lettering on buildings in Ipswich, but I have an interesting advertising poster from Woodbridge you may be interested in... This print was discovered under a floor in a house in Woodbridge. It had been screwed up to seal a draughty gap in a floor board. There was an Albert Scarfe living at St Johns Street in 1881. He was Grocer, Draper, General Shopkeeper & Berlin wool seller employing 6 assistants. Albert was born in Bildeston abt 1843. Had moved to Woodbridge by 1861. Albert bought this shop and a large area of sheds, meadow behind in 1875. Still there in 1892 Whites directory but by 1900 has moved to Colchester, where he may of had a shop on the High Street." Many thanks to Paul for sending his excellent images [Paul's website has a selection of period glass slide images, as well as this poster]. It appears from the pilasters shown below that originally there were two shop units here, one larger than the other.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Scarfe 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Scarfe 2Retouched version
Above left: the print as scanned. Above right: the result of several hours of restoration by Paul. Below: the building in 2014:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Scarfe 52015image
The Grade II Listing text reads: 'Early C18, 2 storey, brick face, painted, band below high parapet. Tiles. Mid C19 shop front, modern glass. Double span roof. 1st floor, 3 windows, sash with glazing bars and flush frames.'

[UPDATE 4.3.2017: from David Gobbitt:
'For 32-34 Thoroughfare (now Peacocks) you have a 1911 image of the former Bon Marché sign. Lambert's Family Almanack for 1903 looks back at the previous year in a "Woodbridge Retrospect":
Mr. S. T. Pulham has also carried out a very great improvement by an entirely new window frontage. The appearance is very striking, consisting of three large plate glass windows, with two entrances and return panes. The whole has been well decorated, and the new name given to the establishment, "The Bon Marché," adorns the whole length of the parapet wall.
(Findmypast image 13; there is also a full-page advertisement by S. T. Pulham in image 6)
Samuel Thomas Pulham was a grocer and draper when he bought that property (or the adjacent plot, abutting on Brook Street) in 1897. His drapery advertisements prior to 1903 call it "S.P.Q.R. Stores", possibly indicating a philosophy of "Small Profits, Quick Returns" rather than a preoccupation with Roman history.' SPQR is an initialism of a Latin phrase Senātus Populusque Rōmānus ("The Roman Senate and People", or more freely as "The Senate and People of Rome"). Fascinatingly, drain and manhole covers bearing the legend 'SPQR' can still be seen on the streets of Rome.]

40-42 Thoroughfare
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Barretts 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Barretts 22015 images
The doorstep of number 42 features a coloured mosaic (sadly no lettering) which compares favourably with 'E. Smith' at number 51.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Barretts 5

'A.D.'  ...  '1896' are incised into the gable brickwork of number 42 in Art Nouveau-style characters.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Barretts 4   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Barretts 3
The stucco'd building at number 40 also occupied by Barretts has, since 2012, featured an attractive, bracketed clock featuring an inscription.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Barretts 6   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Barretts 7

1952   E II R   2012' 

51 Thoroughfare
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge E. Smith 4
2015 image

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge E. Smith 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge E. Smith 2c. 2010 images

in resplendant polychrome mosaic is the finest doorstep in Woodbridge which is opposite Boots in The Thoroughfare. Bits of litter and dog-ends were kicked off the step before the picture was taken. We didn't know what E. Smith sold in the shop: see the update below for more information. The Grade II Listing text reads: 'Early C19, 3 storey, red brick, partly painted. Slates. Very wide eaves, with paired brackets. Stucco band at 2nd floor cill. 6 windows with glazing bars and flat arches. Modern shop fronts. 2 doors grouped in centre with stucco arches and plain fanlights. No 49, 6-panel flush door. No 51, part original door with fielded panels.'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge E Smith 3Morphed 2015 image
The above photograph suggests that parts of the mosaic have been repaired in the past, note the differently coloured tesserae at upper left.
[UPDATE 4.3.2017: David Gobbitt:
'I did some research after seeing the fascinating Woodbridge webpage where you ask about E. Smith, whose name has been preserved by the mosaic in the doorway of 51 Thoroughfare. ("We don't know what E. Smith sold in his shop: does anyone have information?")
The short answer is that women's and children's clothes, hats etc. were sold by Elizabeth Smith (1869-1925) in the early 20th century.
Assuming that she and her twin sister Bertha Jeary (1869-1956) shared the same birthday, Elizabeth was born at Framlingham on 8 Jan. 1869, a daughter of fishmonger George Smith (c.1829-1900) and Hannah Holmes (c.1827-1871). George married Elizabeth Plummer (c.1826-1911) in 1872 and brought the family to Woodbridge c.1880. His daughter Elizabeth died there on 29 Sept. 1925.
Costumier Miss Elizabeth Smith is listed at 51 Thoroughfare in Kelly's 1916 directory of Suffolk. By 1922, Bately's Ltd (tailors of Ipswich) had taken over. Clothier Henry Cecil Alexander was there from 1927. I don't know who stepped in when he moved to 10 Thoroughfare in 1945, but a local directory for 1967 locates T. T. Burrows ("Newsagents & Stationery") and H. H. Burrows at number 51.
If, as I suspect, this was formerly known as Regent House, Miss Smith had been in business there as early as 1900. Kelly's county directory for that year describes her as a costumier & ladies' outfitter ("wedding & mourning orders promptly executed; a choice selection of dress materials & silks" - page 373). Her address was still Regent House, Thoroughfare, in the 1912 edition.
A quarter-page advertisement in Lambert's Family Almanack for 1901 (accessible at Findmypast: image 69) adds "Fit and Style Guaranteed". Seven years later (1908, image 8 at Findmypast) she stretched to half a page, allowing her to emblazon "- E. SMITH, -" diagonally across the panel, rising from left to right, with space to mention her latest novelties in veilings, ribbons, laces, flowers, etc. and her "Speciality in Children's Millinery".

A synopsis of the town's "Building Operations and Improvements" during the past year was published towards the end of 1909 in Lambert's Family Almanack for 1910 (Findmypast image 15):
In the matter of improvements the business houses of the town have been making good progress. Most conspicuous are the alterations at Waterloo House and at Regent House, both of which have been greatly improved and very attractive and modern fronts put in.
Waterloo House was the site of Footman & Co's drapery establishment, apparently at 4 Thoroughfare, next to the Crown Hotel.']

For other mosaic doorsteps see 'Hales Chemist', Ipswich, 'Smith',
Harwich , 'Maypole' in Felixstowe and 'Roll', Wells-Next-The-Sea.

52 Thoroughfare
Meanwhile on the opposite side of the road is the former Loaves & Fishes shop, 52 Thoroughfare, which closed a while ago and is now a rather nasty optician's frontage. These photographs were taken at night, so don't do justice to the lettering on the marble panels (below in close-up) on either side of the door:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Loaves & Fishesc. 2010 images
[UPDATE 5.11.2012: the outlines of these letters are even less noticeable because a whiteish paint has been rubbed over them.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Loaves & Fishes 20152015 image
Noticed in raking sunlight, December 2015, the 'LOAV[ES & FI]SHES' ghost lettering glinting underneath the 'Opticians signs above the shop.

56 Thoroughfare
Next-door-but-one at 56 Thoroughfare is a remarkable carved timber bresummer with the date '1650' picked out in white.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge 1650 beam 1

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge 1650 beam 2

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge 1650 beam 3
The Grade II Listing reads: 'Mid C19, but with a fine elaborately carved entablature with date in centre 1650, over the shop front, the origin of which seems not to be known. 3 storey 1 window front, gray brick, flank pilasters. Gauged segmental arches to windows, 3-light sash at 2nd floor, and 3-light
casement at 1st floor. Tile roof, flat gable with verge band. 4-panel door with oblong fan. Shop front with removable panelled shutters. Nos 40 to 44 (even), 52 to 84 (even) and 90 to 94 (even) form a group.'

Roundhouse, 1 St Johns Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Antique showrooms2001 image Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Antiques 20152015 image
Just round the corner is a curved building at the corner of St Johns Street and St Johns Hill. The estate agents business has clearly not always occupied this place. In the curved, bricked-up window (Suffolk whites, now honey-coloured with age, unless we're very much mistaken) in the centre of the first storey there is the fading announcement:

The reddish brown serif capitals (barely decipherable lower down - not helped by the angle bracket which once supported a hanging sign) demonstrate the use of condensed and extended letterforms to occupy the measure created by the window recess. In this way the space is nicely filled, but the most eye catching word, by dint of containing the smallest number of characters, must have been 'Show' when originally painted.
The Grade II* Listing text reads: 'The Round House Nos 1 and lA. Probably circa 1843, 3 storey, yellow brick. At rounded corner with St John fill, circular portion, slightly more than half circle, with 2 sash windows with glazing bars and centre blank panels at upper floors, gauged flat arches. Slate roof, eaves soffit. Stucco ground floor with coupled pilasters, central entrance with double doors, and 4-light case-ments right and left, continuous entablature. Wing to north, No , 3 storey 3 windows, sash, small extra window, at first floor, above entrance, gauged flat arches. 3-panel door with divided rectangular fanlight. Includes also No lA with entrance at rear.'
[UPDATE 4.3.2017: from David Gobbitt:
'You focus on the faded "antique furniture show rooms" lettering at the Roundhouse, 1 St Johns Street. This dates from the days of Alfred Barnes (1840-1918?) whose various premises are finely illustrated in extensive advertisements. I've seen the "St. John's Show Rooms" in Lambert's Family Almanack for 1901 (Findmypast image 61) and 1902 (image 59). Here is St John's Show Rooms advertised by Alfred Barnes, scanned from George Booth's Illustrated Almanack for 1899.']
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Antiques 1899
Advertisement courtesy David Gobbitt
And there is the lettering, clearly shown in the engraving of the shop, on the central blind window at first floor level – how satisfying. Interesting to see the artistic licence employed to show both elevations: on Vicarage Hill to the left and St John Street to the right.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Antiques 1899a

2 Church Street

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Cross2004 image Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Cross2015 image  

EST  1652'

stands at the crossroads of Church Street, Quay Street, Cumberland Street and Thoroughfare.  The former public house has one of the  earliest dates on this site and has often stood empty in recent years. The  sign is obscured by the inevitable street furniture, but it's good that someone cares enough to look after the lettering.  The Grade II Listing text reads: '2 Church Street, The Cross Inn. There is a modern dating on the building of 1652, but it is considered older than that. 2 storeys and attic, leaded casement dormer. Timber framed, roughcast. Early C19 pilasters to door with frieze and cornice. 3 windows, sash with glazing bars and flush frames to Church Street as well as a frontage to Thoroughfare. Ground floor 1 window left of entrance and wine shop on splayed corner with wood case. Tile roof, hipped corner. Nos 2 to 30 (even) form a group.'

6 Church Street

   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Suffolk Seed StoresColour images 2004
(Photograph left courtesy Daphne Lloyd, Woodbridge Local History Recorder)
Above: not far from Kingston Terrace on Station Road once stood this building. Formerly a maltings, it was used as a warehouse for:


until demolition in 1989 to make way for housing. This photograph was taken about a year earlier.

Suffolk Seed Stores once traded from both Fred Smith & Co. in Princes Street, Ipswich and premises at 6 Church Street, Woodbridge. The 'leading edge' of this building still bears the advertisement which can be seen as you descend the hill towards The Cross (centred capitals on a cream background, the brickwork around the first word has been repointed; the rainwater downpipe is presumably a later addition) :

We think that the top of the letter 'D' of 'Ltd.' is just visible above the roof line. This suggests that the nearer building was added at a later date.

The Suffolk Horse Society had its office in the Suffolk Seed Stores building in Woodbridge for very many years but when the tenancy came to an end it managed to acquire the lease, through the generosity of Woodbridge Town Council, of the upper floors of the old courthouse building on Market Hill. High up above the shop fronts and the first storey, the company used the leading edge of the building to proclaim its trading position to those descending the steep hill from the Market Hill. Suffolk Seed Stores had a greengrocery business there, certainly as late as 1985. [Thanks to Daphne Lloyd, Woodbridge Local History Recorder for this information.]
[UPDATE 7.12.2011: "Wonderful web-site! I believe, though, that the office of the Suffolk Horse Society in Woodbridge was in the Church Street building of Suffolk Seed Stores (colour 'photo), and not the one shown in monochrome. Regards, Peter White." Thanks to Peter for information about the location which we had previously confused with the now-demolished Suffolk Seed Stores building.]
We have now found an original enamel trade sign for Suffolk Seed Stores which is displayed at the excellent Museum of East Anglian Life at Stowmarket:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Suffolk Seed Stores2012 image


21 Church Street

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge WR2004 image
Meanwhile, three quarters of the way up Church Street is a building bearing an impressive  relief monogram:

Ao Dm 1866'
This is number 21, now a place of trade. The decorative trellis brickwork and bottle-glass window above the front door only embellish this fine entrance (pity about the red burglar arm...). The Grade II Listing text reads: '1866, engraved tablet above entrance with date and initials RW. 2 and 3 storey front with 2 gables (left gable ½ hipped). Square oriels, up to Gables, with 4-light mullion transom casements. Oriels and gables plastered and with mock timbering. Red brick main wall face with black doper bands. Stack with clustered diagonally set shafts. 6-panel door, right, leaded oblong fan, and stone lintel. Nos 1 to 25 (odd) form a group.'

8-12 Market Hill (the redbrick section)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Market Hill 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Market Hill 2
2017 photographs courtesy David Gobbitt
[UPDATE 28.4.2017: 'The photographs show the plaque affixed to the premises rented by the famous "wit" and poet Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883) on the north side of the Market Hill from 1860 to 1873. His landlord was a gunmaker named Sharman West Berry (1813-1873). The shop at 10 Market Hill is now Isobel Rhodes Antiques.
Reminiscing in The Sphere newspaper in 1909 (27 March, page 290) to celebrate the centenary of FitzGerald's birth, his bookseller John Loder wrote: "The house on the Market Hill has changed owners several times since his death, and is not distinguished from its neighbours by any particular difference in appearance, so I have added a modest memorial tablet with simply his initials, E. F. G., and the date he resided there.' Thanks to David Gobbitt for the photographs and information.]

16-24 Theatre Street
Woodbridge House of Correction 1   Woodbridge House of Correction 22005 images
A few hundred yards from the top of Market Hill as Theatre Street leads towards Burkitt Road, there stands the easily-missed sign above. These Houses of Correction were minor prisons, originally intended for minor offenders - the idle (regarded as subversive) and the disorderly. In addition to its function of a gaol for the rogue, it might also include a workhouse for the poor, hospital for the old, and industrial school for the young. Some date from the early 17th century, but this seems to be an 18th or 19th century building. The central projecting section, which narrows the pavement, carries the lettering incised into a bevelled stone tablet, then coloured/infilled; the weather is taking its toll. For more on this sort of institution and workhouses in general, see the Workhouse website listed in Links. The Grade II Listing text reads: 'Nos 16 to 24 (even) Theatre Street. Former house of "Correction". Early C19, 2 storey and attic, centre block 1 dormer. Lower ground floor at rear. Now 7 windows at 1st floor including 2 casements to centre. Now converted into flats. Crude stone cornice, rendered parapet. Red brick. Slates. Nos 8 and 12 to 24 (even) form a group.'

42 Cumberland Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Sundial2004 image
The Clock House at 42 Cumberland Street provides a fascinating sundial above the front door. the unusual pierced disc gnomon provides a small spot of sunshine to highlight the hour of the day, here picked out on the rendered, painted wall in Roman numerals: X, XI, XII, I, II, III distributed evenly on either side of an internal right angle. The helpful letters below the upright 'GMT' remind us that sundials take no cogniscence of Britain's arcane Daylight Saving practices. (See Links page for Suffolk Sundials and more sundials at Aldeburgh and Guildford.)

34-36 Cumberland Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Brook House 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Brook House 2
2015 images
Brook House has an impressive frontage onto Cumberland Street and way up high can be seen a wind vane with an early date. However, we learn from the Grade II* Listing text: 'Date on wind vane 1674 at which time considerable alterations and additions were made, but the building is essentially of latter half C16 2 storey and attic. flipped wing, left, probably C17. Original plan appears to have been E type, with projecting blocks at rear now extended on left and right with later buildings. 4 mullion transom 3-light dormers with arched transoms to centre lights, and formerly leaded. Timber framed, plastered, with "V" jointed. rusticated quoins on right and to re-entrant angle of front wing. Brick plinth. Bracket cornice. Tile roof. Central stack of 4. octagonal detached shafts on moulded brick bases; original caps partly missing. Main entrance at side of front wing, with 6-panel door, architrave, overhanging frieze, consoles and pediment. Central door, 6-panel, architrave, quasi-pediment on carved brackets. 5 windows, including advanced wing, mullion transom casements, modern glazing, shallow, bow windows, ground floor, and C18 lead rainwater head. One blocked C16 window, and 1 or 2 early doors. Oak stair and panelled room C17 with some bolection moulded mantels.'

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Brook House 3'AW 1674'

End wall of 4 Kingston Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Kingston Terrace2003 image
Nearby, the short, narrow Kingston Road contains the above painted lettering 'KINGSTON TERRACE' against a pale panel on the red brick. Important enough to have been lettered in the early part of the twentieth century (?), but also re-lettered on top - the ghost of the earlier lettering is visible. The encroaching modern cabling and slight damage to the name panel - an attempt to screw in a cable-hook? - marr the photograph. This end of the town contains some interesting houses of varying period and architecture. Once the main approach into the centre of Woodbridge on into the (even narrower) Thoroughfare which eventually opens onto Melton Hill, it's a sobering thought that until a few years ago, this was a two-way street carrying heavy traffic including the Grey-Green coaches from London to Great Yarmouth. We well recall travelling down the Thoroughfare on such a coach, watching the ancient eves on each side skim past the coachwork.

The Central Maltings
At the rear of Quay Street (behind the Woodbridge Quay Church), Crown Place dog-legs round in front of a remarkable building, part of The Central Maltings, which has now been converted into residential accomodation. The view from Quay Street struck us some time ago and in 2011 we got round to photographing the lettering. Here's the view across the graveyard:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Norusta 52011 images
The wall bears the legend in large caps:
with rather more broken, smaller lettering above, which the introduction of windows and new brickwork has interrupted:
'DE ... & ... PAINTIN ...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Norusta Woodbridge 1  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Norusta Woodbridge 2
The patchwork nature of the upper sign(s) is a challenge to anybody hoping to complete the instruction/slogan. For what it's worth, 'Bitum' must surely be 'Bitumen' – we don't think there's room for 'Bitumenous Paint'. Norusta could have been a forerunner of today's Hammerite, designed for ironwork and to inhibit corrosion.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Norusta Woodbridge 3  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Norusta Woodbridge 4
[UPDATE 13.1. 2019: 'Thanks for your most interesting talk at the Felixstowe Photographic Society. I discovered the attached Woodbridge signs on one of our club walkabouts – I see that you have them already on your website, but you may like to use the panoramas that I put together. You’ve got me looking up a lot more now! Best wishes, Chris Carne.' Many thanks to Chris for 'making visible' these very long pieces of lettering.'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Norusta Woodbridge 6
Below: two of Chris's close-ups of the partial signs and heavily repointed brickwork, which does not help readability. Left: 'PAINTIN... BITUM'; right: 'BEST' (more likely than 'REST') with an odd small ampersand floating above it.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Norusta Woodbridge 7   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Norusta Woodbridge 8Courtesy Chris Carne

1 Quay Side
Meanwhile on the corner of Quay Street and Quay Side (opposite the Riverside Theatre) is a long-established yacht chandlers - which seems to do something else these days - which features the surprisingly early date of
'1568' picked out in black paint on two Viking ship roundels against a wall of simple pargetting.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Quay Side 1 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Quay Side 2
The Grade II* Listing text reads: 'Nos I to 5(odd) Quay Side. Formerly the Ship Inn, c16, 2 storey and attic, 1 gable end window and 2 dormers, timber framed, overhanging 1st floor to Nos 1 and 3. No 5 gabled. Modern roughcast, rendered plinth, good external brick chimney. Tiles. 7 windows, some early casements, mullion and transom, 1 sash (ground floor), one original window at rear. Early shaped flat balusters to stair. Fine ribbed geometrical ceiling (in No 1). A room in this house was the meeting place of the 1st Independent Chapel in the C17.'

22 Quay Side
It is not far from here to a public house ghost sign. [UPDATE 16.10.2017: 'The former Boat Inn, at 22 Quayside, Woodbridge which closed in 1957 and is now a private house and clearly shows the word "Cobbold" where the grime has settled on the paintwork and something the other end which is probably "Tolly". Tim Leggett.' Many thanks to Tim for sending images of this example which we kept forgetting to include here.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Boat InnPhotographs courtesy Tim Leggett
The Boat Inn and, yes, the door still bears the name, stands on the corner with Tide Mill Way. It probably dates from the time the Charter for the Ferry across to Sutton Hoo cliff was granted, about 1530. The face of the building alongside the road was actually the back of the pub; the front looked out onto the river.

Whisstock's boatyard, Tide Mill Way
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Whisstocks 1    Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woodbridge Whisstocks 2
2014 images
Above: the sign:
painted on the corrugated metal end-wall of the Whisstock's boatyard building from behind the brick-built flood barrier. Signwriters often had to cope with lettering uneven surfaces such as the ripples of corrugated iron.
The Woodbridge Riverside Trust has a web-page with a short history of Whisstock's boatyard from its beginnings in 1926. The site closed in 1991. The building was demolished as part of a new housing development in 2015.

Whisstock's Place
By 2022 this whole area was transformed into a leisure and heritage attraction including The Woodbridge Riverside Trust's The Longshed, Woodbridge Museum and vatious eateries.


Long established residents of the nearby village of Melton will bristle at their domicile being grouped with Woodbridge, but we did discover one piece of historic lettering there while failing to find another. A Local History Recorder mentioned that the Old Forge at Melton was lettered. However, a stroll around 6 Station Road, and Anvil Cottage suggested that their recent refurbishment as holiday accomodation has removed the lettering. This attractive – and now happily bypassed – village, past the large church and down Saddlemaker's Lane, did yield the intriguing:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Plantation Place Melton
“Melton became a late Georgian suburb north of Woodbridge when the grand, broad turnpike was built – itself now superceded by by-pass of 1930s. Playing fields, petrol pumps, a pleasant Regency Hall, old shop fronts, a modern farming implement retailer, a charming stucco-fronted cottage, 'Plantation Place' 1833, and very well laid-out estate on Hall Farm Road.” (Norman Scarfe The Suffolk Guide 1988)

N.B.: Coincidentally, there is a Plantation House at 11-13 Burlington Road, Ipswich.

St Audreys Lane
At the corner of Yarmouth Road and St Audreys Lane stands a former toll-house – now business premises. This toll-house stood on the Ipswich to South Town (Great Yarmouth) Turnpike dealt with in our Milestones page. This was the original A12 trunk road which, having navigated the narrow bottle-necks of Cumberland Street and the Thoroughfare in Woodbridge followed Melton Hill, through the village and eventually passing this location. Despite modifications and replacement of doors and windows (still in the original apertures), the characteristic projecting wing had windows which gave a clear view each way to spot vehicles, with easy access to the road via the front door to collect the turnpike charges.
An auction poster for the sale of the toll-house in 1872 reads: 'LOT 1: The substantially erected FREEHOLD BUILDING CALLED MELTON TOLL HOUSE with Shed for water carts & tools, & a large piece of excellent garden ground having a frontage upon the Main Road of about 160 feet, and another upon the Asylum Road* of about 126 feet; also the toll gate and posts.' The last confirms that the turnpike was gated here – essential for halting travellers ans extracting tolls.
[Information from The toll-houses of Suffolk by Patrick Taylor (see Reading list).]
*Note the reference to 'Asylum Road', later changed to the more politically correct '
St Audreys Lane'. The site and buildings of St Audry’s Hospital in Melton were formerly those of the House of Industry for the Loes and Wilford Hundred Incorporation formed in 1765. In 1827 the building became the Suffolk County Asylum and received patients from across the whole of the county. In 1907 it was named the Suffolk District Asylum and, from 1916, it was known as St Audry’s Hospital for Mental Diseases. The hospital was closed in 1993, and converted for use as residences – presumably the date of the change of street name. The administration block with the main entrance has been a Grade II listed building since 11 June 1985, and the South Entrance Pavilion has been Grade II listed since 14 November 1997.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Audreys Lane Melton   Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Audreys Lane Melton2023 images
Above: the nearby GPO wall-box on Yarmouth Road bears the royal crown and 'E ... VII ... R', This is therefore an Edwardian box. Edward VII (1841-1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 22 January, 1901 until his death in 6 May, 1910 meaning that the Edwardian era was only nine years long.
Edward succeded his mother, Queen Victoria, at her death. Edward married Alexandra of Denmark at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 10 March 1863. He was 21; she was 18 (see also our Alexandra Park page). Edward had mistresses throughout his married life. He socialised with actress Lillie Langtry; Lady Randolph Churchill; Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick; actress Sarah Bernhardt; noblewoman Lady Susan Vane-Tempest; singer Hortense Schneider; prostitute Giulia Beneni (known as "La Barucci"); wealthy humanitarian Agnes Keyser; and Alice Keppel. At least fifty-five liaisons are conjectured.

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