The Cauldwell Hall Estate
The development of the Cauldwell Hall Estate for housing started
early days of the Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold
Land Society (F.L.S.) which was
formed in 1849: the year of the Californa gold rush – hence the
nickname of the area. The extensive farm lands belonging to Cauldwell
Hall, which in its Victorianised version still stands off Caldwell
Avenue overlooking Spring Road, came up for sale in 1848. The land was
sold off to various buyers. On of these was William Dilwyn Sims who
became Vice-President of the F.L.S. and acted as agent in the purchase
of ninety-eight and a half acres of the Estate. He made the land over
the F.L.S. some time during 1850. The price was £4,992 – at over £50
The land between Woodbridge Road and Foxhall Road was divided up into
282 plots, each of which was offered to senior members of the F.L.S. at
£21.10 shillings each. Among expenses were £26 for staking out and
£480 for making roads, which were laid out in a grid pattern. New roads
named Cauldwell Hall Road and Britannia Road formed the western and
eastern boundaries respectively, with Freehold Road bisecting the area
from west to east between the two. Howard Street, Milton Street and
Kirby Street were laid out between Woodbridge Road and Spring Road.
Crabbe Street, Cowper Street and Bloomfield Street were laid out
between Spring Road and Freehold Road, also Parliament Road between
Freehold Road and Foxhall Road.
Kemball Street and Henslow Road drop down from Freehold Road
between Cauldwell Hall Road and Parliament Road. Two parallel,
were planned between Kemball and Henslow, but were never built. See our
Street name derivations for the sources
of these last two thoroughfares.
The boundaries of the California estate marked in pink on a 1902
map. Note the lack of housing development at this time.
A brickyard existed to the east of Bloomfield Street, (see our Wherstead red brick page for more on this
and other brickyards) and the public house The Brickmakers Arms
survives near to the north of the street.
Sources of California street names
Apart from Kemball and Henslow (mentioned above), we
feel reasonably secure in allocating the great and
good, mainly poets, to the naming of these streets as follows:-
George Crabbe (1754-1832) was
born in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. He
was an English poet, surgeon, and clergyman. He is best known for his
early use of the realistic narrative form and his descriptions of
middle and working-class life and people.
John Milton (1608-1674) was an
English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the
Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of
religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic
poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse.
John Kirby (1690-1753) was an
English land surveyor and topographer. His book The Suffolk Traveller,
first published in 1735, was the first single county road-book. Kirby
lived in Wickham Market, Suffolk and spent three years between 1732 and
1734 surveying the entire county. For part of this project he was
accompanied by Nathaniel Bacon. In 1736 he published a large-scale map
of Suffolk. Subscribers to this received a copy of his book as a free
gift. A further large scale map was published the following year. He
was the father of John Joshua Kirby (born in Wickham Market 1716-1774),
landscape painter, engraver, and writer, topographical
draughtsman and architect, famed for his
pamphlet on linear perspective based on Brook Taylor's mathematics.
Robert Bloomfield (1766-1823)
was born of a poor family in the village of Honington, Suffolk. He was an English labouring class poet
whose work is appreciated in the context of other self-educated writers
such as Stephen Duck, Mary Collier and John Clare.
William Cowper (1731-1800) was
an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his
time, Cowper (, more correctly pronounced 'Cooper') changed the
direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and
scenes of the English countryside. A Hertfordshire boy, there doesn't
appear to be any link to Suffolk.
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey,
KG (1517-1547) was an English aristocrat, and one of the founders of
English Renaissance poetry. He was a first cousin of Catherine Howard,
the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. He was the eldest son of Thomas
Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.
In 1850 building started straight away. By Census day, 30 March 1851,
some 27 houses had been erected: 21 of them occupied. They were
scattered over the estate and are difficult to locate exactly on the
Census returns. Roads had not then been named and the area was simply
known as The Cauldwell Hall Estate.
Until October 1850 there was a levy on building bricks, making
them expensive. Early houses were therefore built of flint rubble,
using bricks for the corners , window and door dressings and
chimneys. A few such houses remain including short terraces at 173-177
Cauldwell Hall Road (shown below) and nos. 9-13 Cowper Street.
Set back from the building line of surrounding houses, these
use the cheapest unknapped flint construction materials with red brick
quoins and door and window detailing. Because of the 'cobble' shapes,
these flint walls require regular maintenence as without it they can
weaken and collapse.
Kossuth Cottage, Gothic House
In Freehold Road on
the corner of Kemball Street is a larger, flint-built house – now a
originally called Kossuth Cottage.
Most other flint-built houses have been replaced by modern
buildings. The size of Kossuth Cottage is an indication
of both the 'non-standard' and piecemeal nature of building which took
place on the state. Another example can be found in St Johns Road:
Gothic House, which is today number 5. The builder was Henry Righam to
the design of an architect working for Phipson. Henry Ringham was a
noted wood-carver who did much restoration work in Suffolk churches. He
was self-taught in reading, writing, drawing and carving. As a builder
in 1861, he had forty men and two boys working for him. However, having
cash-flow problems, he was forced to sell Gothic House in 1863 to
Abednigo Chaplin, whose elder brother became great-grandfather to
legendary silent film star, Charlie Chaplin. Despite falling on harder
times, Righam's wood-carving reputation earned him a place in history
when nearby Chapel Lane was renamed Ringham Road.
Although the original intentions and principles upon which the
Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society were
based: to create
‘forty shilling freeholders’ – giving the ordinary man the chance to
buy enough land to entitle him to vote, inevitably businessmen and
speculators found ways of increasing their balotted allocations of land
and plots changed hands, sometimes from the outset. The 1879 F.L.S. map related to our
Rosehill case study page, although strictly speaking just outside the
original California area, indicates that the plot on which the branch
library was eventually built was sold early. It was not alone.
Much of the information on this page has been drawn from the
unpublished research of the California development by Hilary Platts, to
whom our thanks.
Ipswich Borough's 'Character Area'
Delving into the Ipswich Borough Council website, one finds a
clutch of colourful publications about 'character areas'. The
California one (the link is below) has lots of illustrations,
particularly a collection of details of garden railings, brickwork etc.
worthy of this very website... Two period views are well worth a look:
Above: The Asylum Hotel – names were brutally frank in them days – at
389 Foxhall Road, near to the Borough Asylum (later St Clement's
Hospital). This public house on the corner of Parliament and Freehold
Roads dates to the late 19th century and was renamed The Heathlands in
the 1920s. Today it is a supermarket. The blind window above the
attractive, arched corner entrance bears the words: 'ASYLUM HOTEL -
COBBOLDS FINE ALES', with an unreadable curved iron nameplate behind
The Freehold Land Society illustration and map
above shows the 'Garden Farms' which were a feature of some FLS
developments. The houses were built within two acre plots facing
Foxhall Road and Felixstowe Road. The smallholding plots have since
been redeveloped, but a handful of the semi-detached houses survive
shown on our Felixstowe Roads FLS houses
page. Interestingly, the map of California as defined
in this Borough document is larger than the area originally established
by the FLS.
[The Borough's 'California Character Area' can be found at:
name plaque examples: Alston Road;
Cauldwell Hall Road; Cavendish Street; Marlborough Road; Rosehill area;
Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land
Society (F.L.S.); Rosehill
Street index; Origins of street names
in Ipswich; Streets named after slavery
Dated buildings list; Dated buildings examples;
Named (& sometimes dated) buildings
Street nameplate examples; Brickyards
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Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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