Lettering can be found on all
easily ignored dockside furniture. Much of it we walk on without
noticing. Let's start on 'The island' near to
the two blue Babcock cranes (close to the dock-gates).
The tramway lines disappear under carpets of red and grey tarmac.
Working back towards St Peter's Wharf, several crossover control
points can be found. The first is the best in that both the lever can
still be seen, its top with in the metal lined cup to enable the human
hand to grasp it. Also the foot of the lever is covered by a plate with
a fine pedigree:
The market town of Darlington in County Durham lives in history
because of its association with the railway pioneers. The world's first
passenger rail journey was between Shildon and Stockton-on-Tees via
Darlington, on the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825
SUPPLIED-BY-DARLINGTON RAILWAY PLANT & FDY CO
UNDERGROUND RUN THROUGH
Railway Plant and Foundry Company Limited was incorporated on 28 Aug
See Borin Van Loon's painting Underground Run Through based
on this casting.
There follow a few more point controls in varying states of
The following two still have the metals covering the lever
trench. One bears the casting number '026'[?], although the zero is
either damaged, or another character altogether.
tramway lines fit together in intriguing ways.
There are more photographs of the tramway and other features on
our page about 'The island'.
A tramway is a set of
rails laid in the surface of a road,
rather than being raised on sleepers and a clinker bed. Although
customarily used by tramcars in towns and cities in Victorian and
Edwardian times (trams having had something of a rebirth in the late
20th century), these tramway lines have also been used by horse-drawn,
steam and diesel vehicles particularly for the moving of freight wagons
– exactly as we see around the Wet Dock and beyond (see our Wet Dock map page for an explanation of the
growth of both rail and tramway access to the dockland area of Ipswich).
Drains / Manhole covers
Then there are drain and manhole covers. Most are lettered in
some way. The two square covers, split diagonally, are
The three-section cover has:
DUCTILE … WATERFLOW
BS[kite mark*]497 GRADE A
*See below for more on the
The familiar road gutter drain cover has non-slip diamonds on
the cross-bars, also with the founder: 'C. MILLS& CO ... IPSWICH'
'C MILLS & CO
as a manufacturer: an Ipswich
foundry we were unaware of. A small cast hydrant cover
lettered 'ICWW' (Ipswich Corporation
Water Works – see our Street
furniture page) can still be found on the corner of
Bond Street and Rope Walk. It has 'C. Mills &
Co, St Nicholas Foundry, Ipswich' in a central cartouche. Similar
examples still exist on Ipswich streets.
C. Mills & Co.
We are indebted to Brian Warner for the following information quoted
verbatim from various Kelly's.
The earliest he has found for C. Mills & Co. so far is 1900 and the
latest is 1941 (with the company in 1956 at 49 Riverside Road, probably
later taken over by S. Sacker, scrap metal dealers).
Iron founders in
Ipswich, Kelly's Directory
Cocksedge & Co. works and office, Greyfriars road, Ipswich (also at
Lowestoft and King's Lynn)
Mills C. & Co. Tanner's Lane, Ipswich
Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Limited, Orwell Works; warehouses and
show rooms, Princes street and Queen street, Ipswich
Mills C. & Co. St Nicholas Foundry, Tanner's Lane, Ipswich [see
display ad from same directory]
Directory same entry
Mills, C. & Co. iron founders & general engineers; makers of
all kinds of builders' and constructional ironwork; castings in brass
& iron, St. Nicholas foundry, Tanners Lane. T.A. "Mills, Ipswich
3525;" TN 3525.
Tanners Lane appears on White's Map of Ipswich
of 1867 continuing from the southern end of the original Lady Lane as it crossed
Mount Street in the western area of the town (the area here known as
'The Mount', a density of
housing comparable with the Potteries around Rope Walk) which became
Civic Centre in the 1960s
– now demolished – down to Birds Gardens which approximated to the line
of the present Princes Street, near the Willis Building (see our 'Before Willis' section for a 1902 map showing
Tanners Lane). It's
more-or-less parallel to the still-existing Currier's Lane and just to
the west of it; its remains now lying beneath the lower section of the
Civic Drive. Tanner's Lane is appropriately close to Currier's Lane
(see Street name derivations) which was
formerly Barker's Lane and Pudding Lane, given the common trades
Lane in 1933
Here's another 'C. Mills' casting:
Again, the diagonally split square covers prominently show the
British Standards Institution 'Kitemark' (see its history, below) along
'M7560 G1-387 BS EN124 D400'
(upper example) and below:
'BS EN124 D400
Below it is a fire hydrant cover:
'THOMAS DUDLEY LTD
Sir John Wolfe-Barry, the man who designed London's Tower Bridge,
instigated the Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers to form a
committee to consider standardizing iron and steel sections on 22
January 1901. In 1903 the need to indicate to buyers that goods were
'up to standard' led to the creation and registration of the British
Standard Mark - to become known later as the Kitemark. It was first
registered as a trade mark for tramway rails and the number of gauges
of tramway rails was reduced from 75 to 5. On 22 April 1929, the
Engineering Standards Committee, (since 1918 the British Engineering
Standards Association) was granted a Royal Charter. A supplemental
Charter was granted in 1931 changing the name, finally, to British
There are several unlettered manhole covers in varying states of
A bollard is a short vertical post. Originally it meant a post
used on a ship or a quay, principally for mooring. The maritime
requirement for the securing of a rope gives charcter to those found
around the Wet Dock. These ones on the island are almost all painted
blue-and-white and are heavy cast iron quayside furniture. The first
cylindrical one has a broader cap to capture the rope, with the added
feature of a step a quarter of the way up; sadly no lettering is found.
The second type is in three lobes at the top which project
beyond the stem on the land side. And, despite may coats of white paint
on the cap, the foundry name can be read:
See our Garden gates and railings
page for more Cocksedge castings and detail on the Cocksedge foundry.
Cocksedge started in Grey Friars
Road in 1885. They moved to Rapier Street in 1903, specialising in
structural engineering including the Ipswich Town Football Club
grandstand and Goonhilly 2 satellite dish. They went into receivership
Meanwhile, at the Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley...
'TO WEIGH 3 CWT
The sign reads: ‘SCALES. These were used for weighing sacks of
corn. The weights are in pounds (lbs) and hundredweights (cwt). By
using the sliding weight on the arm, the scales are accurate to 4oz.
[ounces] and can be used to weigh up to 3 cwt. The weights are 14lb (1
stone), 28lbs, 56lbs and 1 cwt.’. The first evidence of specialist
scale-makers in Suffolk dates from the 1850s. Before 1860 the London
scale-maker Samuel Warmisham
had set up a branch in Ipswich. The firm was bought by the
large engineering firm Cocksedge & Co. around 1890
(eventually taken over by Averys in 1936).
The third type on the island is more complex with two prongs
projecting up in a 'V' shape, each with a projecting lobe pointing
downwards to trap the rope. On the water face of this bollard are
WARMISHAM COCKSEDGE & CO
With the building of the marina facilities all around the Wet
Dock in Ipswich over the years, the lower walkway has been installed
(visible in the upper portion of the photograph below), but some of the
original timbers have been left and they provide an interesting
contrast with the chromium and fibreglass leisure-craft which fill the
Wet Dock in 2013.
The final pair of bollards on the island are simple, elongated
mushroom shapes. The last (shown below) is a little lost at the tail
end of the grass strip nearest to St Peter's Wharf and may no longer be
[symbol] LA40 [?]
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Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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