Confectionery Works, Bake Office, Mary's

Woodbridge Road
Still trading as Greens* builders merchants when this photograph was taken in March 2000, sadly the building no longer exists. It qualifies as an example of trade lettering, not because of the
'GREENS' (albeit painted twice on the frontage, with varying states of distress), nor yet for the curiously crooked, yet firmly screwed on 'REGD. PLUMBER' sign high up on the timber yard wall. The secret lettering was just spotted above the (barely visible here) gates to the right.
[*Pedants' Corner: it is always interesting to observe the use - or deliberate omission - of punctuation marks in signs of all sorts; the stray 'greengrocer's apostrophe' found in e.g. "POTATO'S" and the apostrophe-lacking shop name shown here suggests that the business was owned by Mr Greens.]

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Greens 1  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Greens 2
A stool was mounted to get these shots on a sunny Spring morning in 2003, balancing over the closed gates. The expected curving word 'CONFECTIONERS' turned out to have a corollary below it:
'CONFECTIONERY
WORKS'

There is a naively-painted pointing hand in white outline below, which follows the curve of 'Confectionery' lettering. 'Works' has an underline in white. The enhanced image to the right suggests the form and positioning of the obscured first 'C' and last 'Y' of 'Confectionery'.
IPswich Historic Lettering: Confectionery 1  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Confectionery enhanced
This battered old brick wall could have told some tales. The whole building was demolished and removed three weeks after these photographs were taken in April, 2003. Clearly a victim of timber and other heavy materials being moved in and out, it also bears scars as if scraped by the sides of carts in years gone by. Although run down and unimposing in the top photograph, the building ran back from the road a long way and had some interesting features. A sweet-making factory, then - or possibly a baker's making sweetmeats - but we wonder when and under whose proprietorship?
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Confectionery 2

Felaw Street (Felaw Street now has its own page.)
Painted on the end of terrace wall of the launderette at the corner of Great Whip Street and Felaw Street (close to the refurbished Felaw Maltings, for so many years a disintegrating monument of the Industrial Revolution in Ipswich):
'BAKE OFFICE'
At first we assumed that this was the place which dealt with the hiring and firing of malsters and workers at the nearby maltings, until we saw the period photograph of the premises of E.R. George, Baker and Pastry Cook. The sign 'Bake Office' is there on the wall fronting Crown Street, so a baker's office for taking orders, then? Chatting with a museum curator of our acquaintance, it is now clear that a bake office was a feature of times when fuel of all kinds was expensive. For a working-class community it became commonplace, once the early-start baking had been done, for all that power needed to heat the bread ovens in bakers' premises to be used by those in surrounding houses to warm/cook their dinners. One has visions of streets with housewives rushing back and forth with tureens, hot pots, casseroles and covered plates of food. [See UPDATE 15.11.2012 from Carolyn Saxon below.] There were other bake offices down Wherstead Road serving the surrounding households but we have been able to find no lettering like this. That excellent portrait of the life of the poorest in 19th century Ipswich Rags and bones by Frank Grace [see Reading List] mentions that in the St Clement's parish on the other side of the Wet Dock "twenty-three bake houses were registered in the area in 1885, nine of which provided 'offices' where the poor could have their meat or pudding cooked cheaply...".
Again, concerning bake offices in the Potteries area, from Rags and bones:
"[In the 1880s] The bake offices in Ernest Street, New Street and Pottery Street as well as elsewhere on Fore Street and below, continued to be popular with the many housewives who could not afford to light their own stoves.
'... if you hadn't got a big enough oven to cook your meat the baker would ... I would take mother's Christmas cake up to Dine's up in Eagle Street and they used to cook the cakes for us. We hadn't got a Regulo or anything like that ... they'd cook no end of people's stuff, that'd only be a penny or two pence ... it was cheaper than it was for mother to cook it in the oven."

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bake Office 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bake Office 22013 images
These almost fetishistic photographs of individual characters and the texture and colour of the brickwork...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bake Office 3
This is only a few yards from one of the 'Wm. Paul Tenement Trust' plaques.
Here's a composite photograph of the corner of  Great Whip Street and Felaw Street in 2011; the 'BAKE OFFICE' lettering is towards the end of the red brick wall at the right of the image.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felaw Street 20112010 image
It's only a few hundred yards from the here to The Methodist Mission Room, The Old Bell and the Trinity House buoy (towards the town) and Uncle Tom's Cabin and C.J. Hawes shop (towards Wherstead).

[UPDATE September 2010: we have unearthed this photographic detail from the 1960s (below) which is the same building, the premises at the time of Haward's Bakery - see the 3-D gold-lettered 'Hovis Golden Brown' sign. For 'Hovis' lettering which still exists, see 111 Bramford Road. Presumably the surname is pronounced 'Howard' as in the local architect, Birkin Haward. Much of the housing and shops around this building were demolished when Vernon Street/Hawes Street were remodelled, a new roundabout built between them and the upper section of Wherstead Road ceased to be the through way for traffic. In the background can be seen (see close-up) the lettered:
'R(obscured)&W PAUL LTD'
concrete silo on the upper Wet Dock and over the bakery roof one of the Felaw Street malting tower vents.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felaw Street period Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felaw Street 1a
[UPDATE 15.11.2012: "On the corner of Felaw St & Great Whip St stands a launderette.  When I was a child this used to be a bakery.  On the Felaw St side is a painted sign saying Bake Office. I used to live in Tyler St. My Nana who lived there for many years, told me this was a bake shop where people could take their food to be cooked for a few old pennies.  Thought it may be of interest on your site... So glad you had the name of the bakery, I couldn't remember it for the life of me. Love your site, Carolyn Saxon." Thanks to Carolyn for explaining the role of a 'bake office' in such a personal testimony.]
[UPDATE 28.12.2012: "... There was a wonderful smell of freshly baked bread “Over Stoke” . Mrs. Frances Osborn, of Ipswich said 'My father owned Orwell Bakery in Stoke Street from 1947 to 1956, he bought the business from a Harry Burwood, when he retired, he told my father that in the future Belstead would be joined to Ipswich, which has come true.'
'I used to deliver bread daily to all the local streets in Stoke, Great and Little Whip Streets, Bulstrode Road, Gower Street, Hawes Street, Turin Street, and Pauline Street, to name but a few, and going as far as the local villages.'
'There were three bakeries over Stoke at that time, Howard’s [sic], Whip Street. Before Howard’s the owner was Day, who earlier had a bakery in Eagle Street. Before Garrod’s owned Station Street Bakery, it was owned by Mr. Catton, the last people to run the bakery were called Jennings. The bakehouse in Station Street used to deliver bread by pony and cart and a Mr. Hazelton used to work with the cart, and his sister worked in my parents’ bakers shop, her name was Elsie. In those days you could buy anything local without going into town, there was a butchers, shoe shop, babywear, piano shop, chemist, café, newsagents, greengrocers, furniture shop owned by Allen & Son, pork shop. In Harland Street there was a lady who used to tell your fortune. I lived “Over Stoke” from 1947 until 1991, they were good old days...' " These quotations in slightly edited form are taken from the Kindred Spirit website (see Links).]

The laundrette (former bakery) shown here stands on the site of the Union Workhouse which had extensive orchards and gardens running dowe to New Cut. For maps of this and the story of Felaw Street and environs see our Felaw Street page.

Woodbridge Road/St Helens Church Lane
A few hundred metres up the Woodbridge Road hill from where the Confectionery Works once stood, is a shop frontage with no shop, on the overhang are the relief capitals:
'MARY'S'
painted over in dark green to commemorate the hairdresser's which stood at the corner. The door at a 45 degree angle to the street is now bricked up - it's at the top of St Helen's Church Lane running down to St Helen's Street, also close to the main gate to St Helen's Primary School. Through that door one was once (up until the late eighties?) able to glimpse basins and an array of those 'space helmet' style hair dryers on stands. Once again this sign doesn't quite follow the parameters set out in our Introduction, but it's worth including as an example of the sort of shop sign now becoming rare in our town [suggested by Ed Broom].
Mary's Woodbridge Road 1-Mary's Woodbridge Road close-up

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