Bolton Lane

The road leading northwards from St Margaret's Green along the present-day Bolton Lane route was called Thingstead Way and was recorded on Ogilby's map of 1674.
By Pennington's map of 1778 it was called Bolton Lane, although this may have been a misunderstanding as the hamlet of Bolton was situated on the other side of Christchurch Park (possibly near the Upper Arboretum). As Carol Twinch points out in Ipswich street by street (see Reading List): "To walk along Bolton Lane is to travel in the footsteps of the Augustinian canons of the Holy Trinity, whose presence in the town between the 13th and 16th century helped to shape both its character and appearance." See our Monasteries page for more on Holy Trinity Priory. Our page on Blue Plaques has an image of the board giving information about the Thingstead (St Margaret's Green).

Garratt Memorial Hall (St Margaret's Church Hall)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 12013 images
The signboard over the door reads: 'St Margaret's Church Centre, Garratt Memorial Hall'. It stands opposite the side entrance to St Margaret's Church. The spelling of the name 'Garratt' suggests that this may not be connected to the famous foundry and engineering company based in Leiston. See our Mileposts page for mention of Jacob Garrett's foundry which once stood nearby at the junction of St Margaret's Green and Cobbold Street. [UPDATE 30.5.2013. Mary Johnston writes: 'In fact the spelling of the name Garratt is correct on the Church Centre signboard. The man referred to is Rev Samuel Garratt, a past vicar of St Margaret's Church. There is a stone plaque inside the church centre (near the toilets) that gives more information.']

The frontage has a carved date on the bressumer beam below the central gable:

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 2
The enhanced close-up (above) shows colour differentiation and surrounding decoration.
The English Heritage Listing text reads: "A C17 timber-framed and plastered house with 3 gables jettied above the first storey. A carved bressummer supported on brackets carved in the shape of human heads bears the date 1682*. The front has been altered in the C18 and later. 2 storeys and attics. 5 window range, double-hung sashes with glazing bars, in flushed cased frames. The first storey windows under the end gable at the south end extend for the full height of the storey. The ground storey is built out in brick, now painted. The front is protected by C19 cast iron railings. Roofs tiled, with 2 C19 red brick shafted chimney stacks with moulded brick caps and bases."   [*So even English Heritage can get things wrong: the bressummer is certainly fifty years older than this.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Garratt Hall 3
[UPDATE 18.1.2016: Another feature of this building is lettered at the far right of the frontage: 'Gainsborough House'. Linda, in pursuit of her family history, sent these morsels of information:
"The lady in case [I am researching] was Alice Sarah Oxborrow, my 3x great aunt.
"By 1901 Alice had returned to Suffolk and was a boarder at Gainsborough House, Bolton Lane in St Margaret, Ipswich. It was a YWCA Boarding House, run by a Superintendant called Eugenie C Sweeting. Most of the boarders seemed to be Dressmakers, Milliners and similar. Alice was 37, one of the oldest boarders in the house, still single, shown as a Dressmaker, own account, working at home. Gainsborough House was opposite St Margarets Church and overlooking the graveyard.
The 1911 census showed Alice had moved to 23 Tower Street, Ipswich, which had six rooms. She was 52, a Boarding House Keeper but with just two boarders, 23 yr old Elsie Hilda Haiste, an Art Teacher for the Borough Education Committee and Ada Constance Sargant, 22, an Art Student
Alice died in Q4 1932, aged 74, her death registered in the district of Ipswich, Suffolk. “ Many thanks to Linda for drawing this to our attention.]

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wrestlers iconA little further up Bolton Lane is another early, dated building: The Wrestlers.

Bolton Lane Social Club & Institute Ltd (Bishop & Son Organ Builders)
Glimpsed to the left of the hall in the top photograph is a real Ipswich oddity. Lost between The Garratt Memorial Hall and Bolton Lane School (now a gated, residential development) is a building behind double gates in some need of attention.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 5   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 6
The ridged asbestos roof is rapidly being colonised by ivy, corrugated tin sheets hide peeling weather-board walls. Above the double doors at the front is a single light bulb in a socket and two vertical strip lights, presumably placed to illuminate the faded, rectangular sign behind cracked glass:
REG. NO. 103??'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 2
This would all be of merely passing interest were it not for the stout double gates in front of and to the left of the building which bear the sign:
EST. 1795
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 4   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bishop Organ Wks 3
The state of this sign and the letter-box below it suggest that this is still be a viable business address. Sure enough the company's website ( tells us of the company history under the founder, James Chapman Bishop, who started his business in Marlebone, London. Sons and then a grandson continued with the work until Edward Hadlow Suggate graduated from organ-builder in the firm to take over the running. "During Edward Hadlow Suggate’s time as Principal of the firm, Bishop and Son saw some of the most dramatic changes in organbuilding. Indeed he was to oversee its progress through the end of the nineteenth century and its journey through the beginning of the twentieth, this is by many considered to be one of the most important periods of the trade’s history. In his time Mr Suggate was responsible for the purchasing of a new large works as the firm expanded to Ipswich, and he completely re-tooled twice...
... Today the firm is administrated by our Principal, Dr Maurice Merrell, who has over 60 years of experience with Bishop and Son, from our head office at Queen’s Park in London, with works located both there and at Ipswich. Our enthusiastic team of skilled craftsmen trained in all aspects of the trade are employed in projects all over the country and abroad. We work on organs both old and new, our work ranges from general tuning and maintenance to restoration, re-builds, new instruments and everything in between."
The website's contact details for the firm quote the 38 Bolton Lane works as their Ipswich address.

Looking at a satellite image of the area reveals that a long, narrow drive leads from the green gates to a long, narrow plot with about four interlinked buildings, backing onto the car park (accessed from Cobbold Mews, off Cobbold Street) and playing field of St Margaret's C.E.V.A.P. School. It is interesting that The Wrestlers up the lane is numbered 40, so Bolton Lane School, later a music education centre and temporary home to the County Library during its rebuilding in the 1990s, never had an official number, perhaps. This would account for the nearby
St Margaret's primary school being listed as just 'Bolton Lane'. The  next address down the hill from the school is No. 4.

The east end of St Clement Congregational Church in Back Hamlet is filled by a towering church organ, reputedly one of the best in Ipswich. In 1908 an appeal was made for funds to purchase a new organ. The existing organ had been second-hand when it was donated in 1836 and the Organ Builder (we understand that this was Bishop & Son) said that “at any day it might collapse”. An appeal to the congregation said that “the procuring of a New Organ is not in the nature of a Luxury, but an absolute Necessity. The original organ was in the gallery but the replacement was installed in the main church at a cost of 450, and dedicated at a special service on 5th August. [Information based on the entry in Simon's Suffolk Churches website, see Links.]

72 Bolton Lane
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bolton Lane 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bolton Lane 2
72 Bolton Lane stands opposite the entrance to Christchurch Park. High above street level, it features in the middle of the large, central gable a tiny dated shield surrounded by decorative terra cotta:

See our Dated buildings page for a chronological list of dated buildings and structures on this website.


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2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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