146 Hamilton Road
Here we are opposite 150 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe,
seafront and just past the old railway station. The enlargement above
a hint of the lettered walls ahead with the slanting word 'GARAGE'. (Scarborough has a similar very
star of the show is visible in the distance ...
... but before that we look back at the obverse wall to
where the name curves and fits
over the company's role.
Facing the 'Haste & Sons Garage'
sign is one of the finest painted
advertisements in Suffolk on the side wall of 136 Hamilton Road.
PLUMBER & SANITARY ENGINEER,
BUILDING & GENERAL REPAIRS.
RATHBONE FURNISHING STORES.'
Compare the use of the comma to the
full stop after
& Sons' (above). The firm's name curves over in a beautiful arc to
wall. Below it in descending order of size, importance - yet increasing
complexity - are the services offered with the
last line enclosed by
rules created by painting alternate bricks in the wall, the rather fine
So, copious punctuation for a busy company, but how did
the signwriters do it? The
flat roofs of the shops next door, if they existed, must have
helped with erection of
but presumably a foolscap paper layout was transferred to the large
wall by drawing it out on the brick surface. Imagine trying to draw the
circle at the top, let alone evenly space out the characters which sit
it. One can only admire the craftsmanship. All the above firms have
since ceased trading, but their lettering remains. In terms of
preservation and quality, this wall compares favourably with the 'W.B. Kerridge - Tailor' sign in Ipswich.
'RATHBONE FURNISHING STORES'
since we first photographed this wall intrusive ventilation outlets
and cabling now interfere with the lettering. All the above photographs
but the last were taken in November 2011. See the enhanced image,
the last in the sequence, which shows the 'before' state. Incidentally,
curious about the meaning of this last feature of E.F. Andrews'
business, an internet search (November 2011) reveals that there
is a Rathbone Furniture shop in Barking Road, London Borough of Newham,
although it's not clear if it related to the Felixstowe premises in the
In the main shopping area of Hamilton Road is a mosaic
shop doorstep at
taken on a dark, wet November afternoon. This bears a
striking resemblance to a Maypole doorstep in Ludlow,
description about that lettering: "Remember them well in the 60s:
supermarkets under the Lipton banner. They had meat counters for the
first time & some of my friends at Dewhurst left & worked for
them & were fast tracked to Area managers, They didn't have
centralised buying in those days & were buying from the same
suppliers as ourselves & with the cost of packaging & no small
goods made in-house, They could only compete on convenience &
cleanliness, But as they upped their game, supermarkets won the day."
This 1910 postcard shows the Maypole Dairy branch in Tavern
Street, Ipswich; they also had a branch in St Matthew's Street.
29 Hamilton Road/corner with Orwell Road
Above the first floor windows of this corner building are two
lions which stand holding shields bearing the date:
13-15 Hamilton Road
Above: the prominently-named:
which seems to apply to the two properties on either
side of the Greyfriars shop. Why 'Suffolk House'?
lettering above the corner door.
The architect Thomas W Cotman (1847-1925), who lived in Felixstowe,
designed many of the most famous buildings in Felixstowe including the
railway station (? – although the Felixstowe
Branch Line page says something different), Harvest House (Felix
Hotel), the Orwell and Bath Hotels, Barclays and Lloyds Banks plus many
others. He also designed and lived in the original bungalow that forms
the lower two floors of Cotman House care home. He was the nephew of
John Sell Cotman, the famous Norwich water-colour artist. Several
notable buildings by Cotman can be found in Ipswich including 40-42 Museum Street, The Crown & Anchor Hotel, Parr's Bank and Lloyds banking house on the Cornhill.
2018 view of the whole building
The 'crow-steps' of the gables are a striking feature.
25-31 Ranelagh Road
This road runs at right-angles to the cliffs past the car park to this
point. One of only a handful of 'real' public houses in Felixstowe,
historically the building is over 100 years old and until the 1960s was
an hotel. The lettering panel high on the side wall clearly shows
the word 'STORES' on the bottom line, so it can be assumed that at
least the tallest part of The Grosvenor was once a shop. Does anyone
know what the rest of the sign read?
Further down Ranelagh Road is:
97-99 Undercliff Road West
Meanwhile, down on the seafront, some remedial
West in Spring 2001 revealed the former use of this building.
show this small
to have been an off-licence in years gone by. An interesting site for
retail premises; one wonders how much trade was garnered from the
flanked by the words
'Wine' and 'Stores'
The Fludyers Arms
The Fludyers (usually prounced "Fludgers") Arms
lettering further up Felixstowe undercliff.
is an extract from their website (closed 2012):
"The Fludyer name comes from Sir Samuel Fludyer -
grandson of the
presumably more famous Sir Samuel Fludyer (1705-1768) - who was
Lord Mayor of London in 1760. The grandson died in 1833 and is buried
with his wife locally. The original Fludyer (or Fludyers?) Arms is a
wooden building dating
from at least 1884. The current brick building was built in 1903 and
both brick and timber buildings obviously co-existed alongside each
other for a time.
A stable block, which is now part of the hotel as a
garage / storage area was built behind the wooden structure." This has
a similar glazed extension to the pub and is
now signed: 'Cotman Hall... Mrs Simpson's... Tea Rooms'.
A paperback book published in 1969, called "Inns of
the Suffolk Coast" by Leonard P. Thompson contains the following
The Fludyer Hotel, Felixstowe. There was a small, wooden building on
the beach known as Smith's after the name of the proprietor, William
Smith. It was the original Fludyer's Arms and also Felixstowe's Post
Office. Gradually the sea encroached and for several years it stood
within a few feet of high tide. The Hotel of today was built in 1903.
[Source: Suffolk CAMRA; see Links.]
By 2018 the seafront
superstructure has gone, the windows replaced and repaired and we can
get a look at the terra cotta panels set high in the Dutch gable-ends.
It may be the salt air, but they are very discoloured – the enhanced
view below reveals:
'BUILT ... AD
Felixstowe Ferry, The Ferry Boat Inn
Further away from the town centre, we eventually come to Old
Felixstowe, its shoreline, marina and ferry over the Deben to
Bawdsey (with its curious
manor and curiouser history). The Ferry Boat Inn is one of two
pubs in Old Felixstowe (the Victoria had closed down when these
photographs were taken in April 2011).
Here's another surviving example of the "Tolly Cobbold capitals" found
on The Emperor in Norwich Road, The Globe, the Rampant
Horse in Needham Market, Hadleigh, Manningtree and on Off licences in
Ipswich. The two
'FERRY BOAT INN' signs are picked out in red, perhaps to match the
lifebelt mounted on the gable end, while the 'TOLLY COBBOLD' letters
above the awning are painted white. This is quite common where the
relief lettering still survives on buildings, reflecting the fact that
the Ipswich brewery company has not owned tied houses for decades.
'A report in the Ipswich Journal on 9 July, 1842 states that a capital
brewery in Ipswich with residence & inn attached and several well
accustomed public houses to be sold at auction by Robert Garrod
including the Bawdsey Ferry inn, in Felixstowe with cottages adjoining.
In 1879 and 1888 listed at Bawdsey, Felixstowe. Bawdsey Ferry Inn is an
earlier name for Felixstowe Ferry.' It is said that that this inn dates
back to the 15th century. (Information from the Suffolk CAMRA website;
Return to Historic Lettering from outside
Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.
website: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express