The Duke Of
York public house stands at the junction of Woodbridge Road and Warwick
Road. It was always 'The Duke Of York' until the Southwold
brewery Adnams bought it and, perhaps inappropriately, inserted the
'Grand Old' into the name. They comissioned a signwriter to paint the
new name on the rendered wall which faces down Woodbridge Road (sadly
we didn't record this, considering it to be ersatz 'historic'
lettering; now it's gone it qualifies for this website...). The other
loss was on the frontage of the pub. To the left of the public bar
– leading to a corridor with its own small section of
bar-counter for off-sales – was a street door with the
frosted lettering 'JUGS' on it. This was lost during the Adnams
facelift. However, they did install engraved windows with curlicues and
three windows (from left to right) we read:
While recording this example, we were informed by the present manager
(spring 2012) that the glass engraver came down and worked on the
situ. This seems a little
hard to believe; also, were frosted glass panes installed in the frames
and the decoration and lettering cut from the back (interior) by the
engraver's wheel? Any experts on glass engraving, please advise.
However it was done, it is a tribute to a dying art.
photographs demonstrate the fugitive nature of this form of lettering.
The characters and decoration are largely clear glass appearing through
a frosted field in the lower portion of each window. On a fairly dull
day it is a difficult job to photograph them.
enhancements placed together in the same image show the engravings
better (along with three little reflections of the photographer). This
group only proves the importance of the play of light and angle of
viewing of decorated windows. Incidentally, the building
reflected in the pub window is the former post office with its defunct
post box. Only a hundred yards
down the road is the curious 'Vicarage'
lettering; Harmony Square and Connaught Buildings also appear on that
Our customary standby for public house information, Suffolk CAMRA, (see
Links) tells us that The Duke Of York is also
listed at Albion Hill (which runs up to 'Albion Mills', the site of the
demolished pub, now a Bristo's showroom).
"Reputedly the Duke slept here and took wine whilst his men were
billetted locally. A report in the Ipswich Journal on Aug 7, 1869 when
Hannah Parsons (widow) was landlady states: 'William Hurrell, 29, a
labourer was tried for stealing two pillows and other articles from Mrs
Parsons, he was found guilty and received 6 months jail.' Laura
Crapnell married George Hawkins and were here in 1901 (this information
from David Clow). Before 1995 it was called Duke of York and comprised
of a two bar pub with a separate small off-sales area accessed via a LH
door from front of building (see older photos). A wooden screen then
separated the off-sales from the public bar.
Note: There have been many Dukes of York - the song (The Grand Old Duke of York) usually
refers to Frederick Augustus (1763-1827), second son of George III. He
commanded the English army in Flanders in 1794-95. But the song
misrepresents the facts as he was only 31, had 30,000 men and had no
hills close to where he was fighting. Some claim it could be a
reference to Woodbridge Rd in Ipswich?". Although the date of the
building is not clear, the earliest recorded laqndlord is in 1823.
For an 1883 map of the pub's location (and the site of 'Bellevue House'
on the hill behind it) see our Russell
See our Pubs
& Off-licences page for
more examples of hostelry lettering. Also Fore
Street for a frosted former
chemist's door and a frosted glass
door from The Old Bell near Stoke bridge. Stained glass pub lettering could once be found on The Golden Key until they turned it into a
Please email any comments
and contributions by clicking here.
throughout the Ipswich
Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express written permission