toll-house that's a bank
691 Woodbridge Road
S. Smith writes: 'Since I've come across your website I
tend to notice a bit more when driving about... Barclays Bank on corner of Woodbridge
Rd & Rushmere Rd. White building to rear has date on gable. Viewed
from Woodbridge Rd.' (Thanks for the tip-off, Paul; also for
that about the Bramford Lane Co-op monograms.)
And how right he is:
The car park to the rear is a bit of a mish-mash.
In the apex of the gable is a rather nice figuring of '1911'
in a square (turned on its point).
It is interesting to contrast this with large dated house panels
in Roundwood Road ('1926') and on
Nacton Road ('1901') shown on the same page.
The Turnpike Toll-house
And while we're hereabouts, let's recall the original use for this
building. Continue across the
car park to the wall facing the jaws of Roundwood Road, (on the other
side of Rushmere Road). Close inspection of the small section of
walling not covered with roughcast rendering reveals, near ground
level, a change from red brickwork to flint construction.
The flint section is the original toll-house, erected by The
Ipswich To South Town (Yarmouth) & Bungay Turnpike Trust, which
was inaugurated on Friday 20 May 1785, to collect
tolls from travellers at this junction of Woodbridge Road and Rushmere
Road. However, up to the late-18th century, the former did
not exist as such, the whole area would have been meadows and
countryside. On leaving the town centre in their carts and
carriages, travellers often avoided the area in St Helens Street – at
the junction with 'the old hollow Way into Ipswich' (Spring Road) –
often impassable to vehicles as it was usually waterlogged and flooded
regularly in heavy
rain, as dealt with on our Water in Ipswich
page. They travelled instead via Rushmere Lane, otherwise the 'Way to
Woodbridge', as it is shown
in early maps of the roads radiating out to the east, i.e today's
Woodbridge Road. Rushmere Lane led
up to the site of the 'Barclays toll-house" and followed the course of
today's Rushmere Road, becoming Thomas's Way and leading only to the
village of Rushmere St Andrew.
There was a rather more roundabout way to Woodbridge than
we are used to today. The horses having made the haul up the hills out
of Ipswich, the second being Albion Hill, they then reached the start
of Rushmere Road (as it remains today) and turned sharp right,
southwards down 'the Old Road', which would have run between the lines
of today's Cauldwell Hall Road and Kirby Street. At a site not far from
today's Spring Road/Cauldwell Hall crossroads, there was 'the old hollow Way into Ipswich' to the
right (no more than a footpath downhill through woods and meadows to
follow the Cauldwell Brook towards the town) and
'the Old Road' to the left. This is today's higher level stretch of
Spring Road which ran as far as The Lattice Barn (now disappeared),
which stood to the south of the road and gave its name to the public
house over the road.
The Turnpike Trust presented a plan to build
a straight road through farmers' fields from the "Barclays toll-house"
to The Lattice Barn. There was clearly another Toll Gate further
eastwards along the road which today we call Woodbridge Road East; it
was situated more-or-less where the petrol station stands today. This
would have been the main Toll Gate and the person who managed this
would probably have also managed the Side Gate at Barclays junction.
This straight, and much more direct, section of road was duly built and, in the years
to come would act as the northern border road of the California estate from which the Freehold Land Society hung the gridiron-style
roads of Kirby, Milton and Howard Streets and Britannia Road.
However, people were very ingenious in trying to avoid paying tolls to
the Trust to finance decent roads. Travellers towards the town centre
would detour off Woodbridge Road to the right up Humber Doucy Lane.
Probably travelling mainly on cart-tracks and looping over the
north-east part of the environs of Ipswich and the
parish of Rushmere St Andrew, they would eventually drop southwards to
the main road into Ipswich, avoiding the Side Gate at today's Barclays
Bank. In 1820 the Turnpike Trust built a second Side Gate at this
junction (a couple of hundred yards to the west) to collect tolls. The
cart track eventually became known as Sidegate
Lane. The Barclays Side Gate seems to have come
into the ownership of Captain W.F. Schreiber, owner of The Roundwood (as shown on our Roundwood Road page) in the 1840s. The toll-house became the
home of his gardener, presumably after the Turnpike Trust was wound
up in 1872.
[Includes information from Sexton, L.: Fifty four miles to Yarmouth (see Reading list) and Hillary Platts' research into California and the FLS.]
See our Street name derivations
page for Nelson Road,
Roundwood Road and
See also our Milestones page for more on the turnpikes.
Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.
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the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express written permission