Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society ('F.L.S.') had a
dramatic effect on housing in late Victorian and Edwardian Ipswich. One feature of the early housing developments of the
Ipswich area by the F.L.S. is the 'set back' house where a modest pair
of semi-detached cottages were erected in the middle of a long piece of
land which could be used as smallholdings to make a
livelihood by the
outer stretch of Felixstowe Road (past the Royal Oak) there are three
surviving set-back houses still standing, all built around by other
housing since they
were originally erected.
The Ipswich Society Image Archive
First of all, though, here
(of three) that got away in the 1990s. The 'Garden Farms' in the centre
have boarded-up ground floor windows by this date. The house on the
left and set-back
behind were all demolished to create Hines Road which accesses the
car park for Co-op Rosehill supermarket and the adjacent Aldi store.
The terrace on the right (no. 217 still bears the street nameplate in
the same position) still stands in 2016.
Above: a more recent view showing the houses from no. 217 Felixstowe
Road eastwards (note the street nameplate on the railings), with other
buildings cleared away for retail development with housing behind.
Writing in 1989 in The way we went
(see Reading list), Muriel Clegg tells us:
"A large estate of nearly 74 acres next to the Cauldwell Hall estate
was bought shortly before 1880. Ten
acres were allotted to shareholders and built upon, 17 acres were sold
to the Corporation to add to the grounds of the [St Clement's] Asylum,
leaving 47 acres fronting Felixstowe Road. The most distant part was
used in a manner somewhat remiscent of California. The area was divided into eight
two-acre plots which were to be 'garden farms'. It was not quite 'two
acres and a cow' but the idea of at least partial self-sufficiency was
there. In the middle of each plot a pair of six-roomed semi-detached
cottages was built, provided with wells and fenced in. The cottages
were built in pairs to provide neighbourly help in time of trouble and
were in the middle of the plots in order to make cultivation easier.
There was also the thought that one daythe frontages to Felixstowe Road
might prove valuable. This, of course, has happened and all the
frontages have been built on. Six of the original eight pairs have
survived, each with its accessto Felixstowe Road, but there are no
garden farms now One pair was demolished c.1983 and another more
A similar scheme was carried out in Bramford
Road in 1897 where eight
houses were built in the centre of large market gardens, each having
nearly an acre of land."
Between numbers 227 and 235
Felixstowe Road is the track down to Oxford Villas.
Accessed by the much more
recently cut through Malvern Close, the whitewashed house of this pair
is numbered 12. In 2014 these set back houses have recently had a
new dwelling built in the original front garden of number 12. You can
still see the smalholding strip of land (the front garden and driveway)
leading up to its neighbour
from Felixstowe Road.
We were pretty sure that this
degraded house name plaque read: 'HERON 1884
This was speculative and was based
the number of characters in the
upper word (five). It
certainly doesn't match the county town names on the other two houses:
no county town seems to fit here.
"Currently at work for
Ipswich Building Society & just had occasion to look at your
website. Small correction for you on Felixstowe Road FLS Houses page.
You speculate worn plaque reads Heron Villas. Good guess but our
records show that it is actually Devon Villas. Margaret Hancock."
Our thanks to Margaret, the Ipswich
Building Society archivist (see our FLS page),
for this correction.]
Very well hidden behind the
newer dwellings to the left, at number 5 Malvern Close is another
pair of set back houses. Number 5 has had an extension added; the
roughcast rendering blends it with the rest of the house.
[UPDATE 19.10.2016: The Ipswich
Building Society headquarters offices on Ransomes Europark display an
interesting exhibit in the foyer. We are pleased to show it here – the
plaque from the Garden Farm lost when Hines Road was built (see top of
page) and information panel with plan. The plaque bears the scars of
mistreatment and, perhaps, a troublesome removal from the wall, to be
saved by Ipswich Building Society as a symbol of their history.]
F . L . S
was the obvious name for the third pair, with Derby Road nearby.
Again we note the missing full stop
after the 'S' of 'F.L.S'.
The blow-up of the
illustration and plan is revealing. Derby Road is at the left with
'Board Schools' labelled at the site of today's Rosehill Primary
School; also the position of The Royal Oak Inn is shown at the lower
Much smaller plots for terraced houses are shown on the Derby Road
stretch north of the corner shop.
The corner property is labelled ‘Stanley House’. It is the subject of
the First Ballot of F.L.S. 'Felixstowe Road and Derby Road Properties'
dated July 20 1889. It is described as: 'recently thoroughly repaired
... with Yard, Stable, Sheds, Garden situate at the corner of Derby and
Felixstowe Roads'. Looking at the
L-shaped building on the corner today, there is no sign of a ’Stanley
House’ plaque. Indeed, it seems highly likely that the original small
building was replaced by the current one. This later corner property opposite The
Royal Oak we feature on our Felixstowe
Road page because of the 'Family Grocer' and fugitive 'P.J.
infilling around the front of Garden
Farms was expected and planned for in their design. Then, working westwards, come ‘Dorset
Villas’, ‘Stafford Villas’ and ‘Derby Villas’. We know that Derby
Villas was demolished during the retail development and the making of
Hines Road (shown at the top of this page), so all six plots and houses
are gone from this area and we can account for their original positions.
Each semi-detached Garden Farm and plot is labelled on the plan:
“Second Ballot. 1 Acre and House. Price £290’
At the bottom:-
Corder, the well-known Ipswich architect and
illustrator, was responsible for the Scarborow
Art Nouveau shop in Dial Lane as well as a number of landmark public
houses whose design reflected that of the Tollemache's Helmingham Hall,
now known as the 'Tolly Follies'. They include The
Golf Hotel on Foxhall
Road, The Cricketers on Crown Street, The Suffolk Punch in Norwich
Road; The Waveney Arms on Bramford Road closed in 1994 and stood empty
for a number of years, before being demolished for housing (today we
may well have insisted on the saving of this fine building and
incorporationg the housing around it).
For another illustration and
of the 'Garden Farms' see our California
See our Bramford Road page for other F.L.S. houses.
Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.
throughout the Ipswich
Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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