Benezet Street, A.A. Gibbons

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Benezet St sign 22014 image

This is a view of the Bramford Road end of Benezet Street (see our slavery abolitionists page for the name derivation) with the white buildings next to The Rose and Crown in the background. (We include a similar photographic comparison on our Introduction page.)

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Benezet 22012 images
The building in the foreground (compare with the 1920s picture below) is a more recent replacement. See also the UPDATE at the bottom of the page with a 1960s/70s image.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: AA Gibbons period   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Benezet period
These period photographs show not only the attractive frontages on Benezet Street but the industrial block behind them (resembling the silos which stood around the Wet Dock) which many Ipswich residents will remember. Above left: you can see the edge of the block to the upper left of the 1920s photograph. Above right: the 1950s view up the hill of Bramford Road towards the Norwich Road junction shows the mill building with its triangular top and the tower looming above the houses and shops.
The left photograph shows the use of bolt-on and painted signs by a flourishing business, Provender Mills and West End Mills owned by A.A. Gibbons which clearly used horse, steam lorry and internal combustion engine lorry transport. Alfred Alexander Gibbons set up his corn business in Benezet Street in the 1880s. The far building with its angled Paladian frontage is adorned with three sets of painted lettering:
'A.A. GIBBONS
TO ORDER OFFICE ... BENEZET STREET'


the smaller 'To Order Office' directing customers down the road. Although a fairly narrow street, the proprietor clearly saw the need to stamp his name clearly on the far building which would have been partially visible by those passing on Bramford Road. The next building along carries the sign:
"'WEST END' FLOUR MILLS"
Nearest to the camera, the building with the cart entrance carries what looks like a cast iron sign with the name of the mills in an arc:
'PROVENDER MILLS
A.A. GIBBONS'
and to the far left above the door with the smartly suited and hatted man:
'TO ORDER OFFICE'
Standing accross the road and looking past the frontages, one gets an impression of the size of the mill complex.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Benezet 12012 images
Sadly, all the signs and letters on this large, 'hidden' mill no longer exist, but it might be instructive to include some views of the building complex, even though the brutalist block has been demolished and modern residential units extend the housing provided in the original buildings.  These three images are taken from Wilberforce Street:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Benezet 4

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Benezet 5

UPDATE: 12.2.2013: We are grateful to The Ipswich Society Flickr collection (see Links) for this excellent photograph of the mills in 1960s to 1970s(?). This view is taken from Norwich Road, looking across the triangular car park in front of the Rose & Crown (the edge of the 'Tolly Cobbold' lettering can be seen at the right).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Benezet 6Photograph courtesy The Ipswich Society
These close-ups reveal the company name: 'A.A. GIBBONS LTD' on the Bramford Road facade, opposite the Rose & Crown Brewery lettering. Also, on Benezet Street, the painted-over 'A.A. Gibbons', 'TO ORDER OFFICE' and 'Benezet Street' signs (some of the characters showing through) with the over-painted:
CO-OPERATIVE
FURNITURE
DEPOSITORY'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Benezet 7

The 'BRAMFORD ROAD' street nameplate (below) seen today on the corner shop fronting Bramford Road is probably the same one which appears in the period photograph above. There is a street nameplate in even worse condition attached to the Rose & Crown.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bramford Road sign
Further down Benezet Street is The Primitive Methodist Chapel.


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