'Let Electricity Work For You', Coprolite Street, Grimwade Hall

Possibly the ugliest building in Ipswich up until recently, this Electricity sub-station with its iron-plated frontage and just-readable lettering: 'Electricity Work For You' (perhaps it had a 'Let' in front of it?) lies on Duke Street, facing the end of Coprolite Street. The whole area is being transformed by development and building work (whether it's an improvement on deserted wharves, only time will tell) and this building is no exception. The nearby, long-disused Grimwade Memorial Hall (see below) on the corner of Back Hamlet and Fore Hamlet has undergone a wonderful refurbishment with decorative stonework and restored brick details; needless to say it's now flats.

Duke Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Duke St 1
2003 images

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Duke St 2

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Duke St 3

The above is now a glittering fish restaurant in glass and chrome, Mortimers Seafood (later Loch Fynne) having moved from a site near to the Customs House, to be replaced by a bistro. The shape of things to come... Now a vague memory: here's that slogan of yore:
'LET ELECTRICITY WORK FOR YOU'

Coprolite Street
Coprolite Street gained its name from the fertiliser plant owned by the pioneering Edward Packard built at the dock end of this street in 1850, which produced artificial fertilser was used to improve agricultural soils. Coprolites are fossil dung nodules, which are contained in the red crag beneath large areas of eastern Suffolk. The nodules contain high levels of calcium phosphate which, it was discovered, can be ground up and, by the application of sulphuric acid, converted into superphosphate, better known as chemical (or artificial) fertiliser. It was first dug in 1817 by Edmund Edwards, a farmer at Levington. The idea was eventually taken up by Darwin's mentor, the Revd John Stevens Henslow, one time Professor of Botany and Mineralogy at Cambridge University who retired to become the rector of Hitcham, Suffolk. Coprolite was dug in particular from the banks of Suffolk rivers the Orwell and the Deben. Apparently, The inhabitants of Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin were called treacle miners because of the coprolite that was dug there. Apparently, the inhabitants of Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin were called 'treacle miners' because of the coprolite that was dug there.

Packard's original coprolite works are now the site of the Neptune Quay block of flats on one side and the Suffolk University building on the other.  Below is a photograph from the sixties(?) of the factory, the fascade with teagle door and overhanging gantry facing the waterfront. Coprolite Street (with cars parked) runs away from the water towards the Electricity sub-station. Above the car nearest to the corner is affixed to the filthy 'Suffolk whites' wall the street nameplate with superior 'T' in 'Street'.
Coprolite Street - period photo1960s(?) images
Below: here is the 21st century street nameplate (with coloured Borough coat of arms) in more or less the same position: today, beside the entrance to 'Neptune Marina' (tower block) car park entrance and the corner of Coffee Link.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Coprolite St 20152015 image

Fore Hamlet
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grimwade Hall 22013 images
At the junction of Back Hamlet and Fore Hamlet sits the former 19th century Grimwade Memorial Hall, now 35 flats. The restored building carries lettering tablets old and new, plus an attractive stonework doorway, both on the Fore Hamlet pavement.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grimwade Hall 1
   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grimwade Hall 3
'GRIMWADE MEMORIAL BUILDING
OFFICIALLY OPENED BY
COLIN AND PETER GRIMWADE
30th NOVEMBER 2006
BUILT BY THE BRACEFORCE GROUP'

'THIS FOUNDATION STONE
WAS LAID SEPTEMBER 9.1869, BY
F.J. SARGOOD ESQ.
BUILDING COMMITTEE.
EDWARD GRIMWADE. JOHN MAY.
OLIVER PRENTICE. JOSEPH F. ALEXANDER.
ARCHITECTS MESSRS. CATTERMOLE & EADE.
CONTRACTOR W.G. CUNNOLD.'

The Grimwade name has been closely associated with Ipswich for more than a century, with the family providing four mayors and running a department store on the Cornhill, which closed in1995. The Grimwade name can be also found on Hope House.
See our Street name derivations for the nearby Grimwade Street.


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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