Hope House is a former orphanage which stands at 160 Foxhall
Road on the corner of
Alan Road. Minutes, reports and records are kept for
1876-1942. Known then as the "East Suffolk Girls Home", the orphanage
was previously situated on 14 Church Street, Ipswich and was opened on
the 1st January 1875. The "Girls Home" was then moved to Hope House on
Foxhall Road in January 1883 established under Deed of Trust. Here the
girls were trained for domestic service and to do all the work of the
house under the Matron's supervision. They received elementary
education, learned to make and mend clothing and taught to knit. The
orphanage was then closed around 1940 and sold. Hope House often called
"The Hostel" was then used to house the Woman's Land Army girls during
World War II. Here they were taught how to milk cows and were taken to
farms all around Ipswich to work on the land. See the Land Girl
photograph album below. Hope House used to
have a large garden at the rear
for outbuildings and for the residents' activities. That area has
gradually filled with newly built housing in recent years. The
itself had been
unoccupied sporadically over the last couple of decades until
158-60 Foxhall Road, former Hope House Orphanage, 1882.
Architect: William Eade. Two storey red brick, clay tile roof with
attics in Queen Anne style.
From the 'Extension' at the left to the shrubs at far right,
there is a range of memorials in various states of preservation.
First the Extension (see the enlargements):-
JUNE ?TH 1907
HUGH L. BANTOFT
A litany of famous Ipswich names:
Tollemache (brewers and
landowners behind the 'Tolly' part of Tolly Cobbold), Grimwade (see Harriet Grimwade
below) and Paul, presumably of
the malsters whose name can still be seen down at the Wet Dock. Hugh Lawrence
Bantoft was articled to the solicitor's firm of E. P. Ridley of
Ipswich. He served as Private, 1st East Anglian Field Ambulance, Royal
Army Medical Corps. It seems likely that this is the person
The shaped tablet below reads:
'THIS MEMORIAL STONE
WAS LAID BY
J.J. COLMAN ESQ. MP
ON THE ? OF MAY 1892.
[unreadable small text: probably builder's name]'
Jeremiah James Colman (14 June
1830–1898) was an English mustard manufacturer and the third member of
the family in charge of the eponymous company Colman's. He was a
popular philanthropist in his home town of Norwich and a Liberal
politician who represented the city in parliament. In 1866 Jeremiah
James Colman was appointed mustard maker both to Queen Victoria and to Napoleon III of France. He
became Mayor of Norwich and championed nonconformity,
and persistently urged religious freedom.
The cartouche to the left of the main door:
The cartouche to the right of the main door:
'THIS MEMORIAL STONE
WAS LAID BY
EDWARD GRIMWADE ESQ. MP
WHO FOUNDED ???'
'THIS MEMORIAL STONE
WAS LAID BY
HARRIET ISHAM GRIMWADE
DAUGHTER OF EDWARD GRIMWADE
MANAGER OF THE ORPHANAGE FROM ???
DEDICATION TO THE ???'
Harriett Isham Grimwade, part of
the Ipswich Grimwade clothier dynasty, never married. Instead she
devoted most of her energies trying to help others. She was a founding
member of Hope House which opened in 1883. Such ladies of “the educated
middle classes” where encouraged to do good works – and around 15% did
so. The home was intended to take in orphaned girls or girls from
families where the mother had died (probably during childbirth) to
bring them up to be trained to become domestic servants. Hope House did
such a good job that girls from the Home were in demand locally to work
in the homes of the better-off. If girls were deemed to be physically
or mentally deficient, they were passed on to St John’s Children’s Home
on the Corner of Bloomfield Street and Freehold Road. It was thought
that only a girl who was mentally and physically strong could cope with
the long hours and tiring regime of work as a domestic servant.
The Hope House Home was financially self-supporting, money being raised
locally – some of the girls who had lived there, often from infancy,
until aged about 16, voluntarily paid a small amount to the home once
they had moved on to employment. Harriett and other sympathetic ladies
from around the Town had their own Committee to oversee the financial
welfare of the home. Harriet died of cancer in 1883 – she was such a
loved lady that she had her own memorial alongside the Grimwade tomb at
Ipswich Cemetery. Children from the home sang “Safe in the Arms of
Jesus” at the Cemetery Gates as Harriett’s cortege passed by, wearing
mourning clothes they had made themselves. The last girls were taken in
by Hope House just before World War II.
The fact that a small road in the new development around Pownall
Road, off Duke Street, is called Isham Place prompts some additional
research. We learn from the Ipswich women in history website (see Links) that Harriet Isham Grimwade (1843-1893)
was Ipswich’s first publicly elected woman. She began charitable work
in her mid-20s at the Tanners Lane Mission, a centre for poor
working-class families (coincidentally the street lost during the Civic
Drive development which was also the home of C. Mills foundry
documented in relation to drain castings on the Island site). In 1871 she became
secretary of the new Ipswich
Women’s Suffrage Society. Later she founded the East Suffolk Girls’
Home at 14 Church St (this no longer exists, but was near St Clement’s
Church) which expanded in 1883 to accommodate 50 girls at Hope House.
Elected onto the School Board in 1880, she served for six years during
which time she was responsible for cookery classes. She took an active
role in the 1885 Great Liberal Demonstration when Liberal candidates
spoke before the General Election. Given the possible
association on this web page alone to the Tollemache family, perhaps
her middle name links to the Isham baronetcy of Northampton. If anyone
knows, please contact us.
At far right another shaped tablet:
'THIS MEMORIAL STONE
WAS LAID BY
FREDERICK FISH ESQ.,
MAYOR OF IPSWICH,
ON THE 6TH OF MAY, 1882.'
Frederick Fish & Son were
linen & woollen drapers with premises at number 46 & 48
Tavern St, on the corner of St Lawrence
Street. When Frederick Fish & Son closed down
the shop site was taken over by Boots the Chemist, only to become a
clothes shop later. One assumes, due to the unusual surname, that this
is the same man who became Mayor.
Above: the modern gates installed since conversion into flats
with the cut-out lettering: ' HOPE HOUSE'.
The above 1902 map shows 'Hope House (Orphanage)' with its large
garden to the rear. Foxhall Road at this time had a few houses to the
west of Hope House, then open land on both sides. The Ipswich &
Suffolk Freehold Land Society was busy developing the streets to the
south (Cavendish Street, Alan Road, Rosehill Road, Newton Road etc.)
with semi-detached and terraced housing and smallholdings. The Blooming Fuchsia public house over Foxhall
Road on the corner of Fuchsia Lane had a 'Smithy' next door and open
land around it at this time.
There are some interesting Rosehill
area house names nearby.
Land Girls at Hope House
This message was received in April 2014: "My Nana Joan Birchall
was a land girl during WW2 she then emigrated to NZ and married my
grandfather Desmond Lynn. I have recently been given a box of her
photos from this era and in her photobook is a reference to Hope House
in Ipswich. I have these photos scanned here in NZ and if you are
interested I am able to attach and send to you if you would like... I
have no idea who the photographer was but suspect some were taken by
Joan and the rest one of her friends. You are welcome to use them as
you see fit. It's Britains history and
it's sitting in a memory box here in my desk in NZ and I just feel the
land girls deserve better. Kind regards, Kara Lynn, New
photographs courtesy Kara Lynn
Our thanks to Kara for both finding our website and sending in
these amateur photographs, probably taken with a Box Brownie. The
images are redolent of another time, another world – yet still just
within living memory – when Europe was turned upside down and women
'did their bit', training to help feed the populous. We show the
captions provided by Kara, some from the back of the old prints in her
The smiles and laughter show the immense camaraderie amongst
members of the W.L.A. and belie the hard toil of day-long agricultural
work in all weathers.
The turn of the seasons is captured here with bitter cold and
sweltering heat in the rear garden of Hope House. The rather neglected,
overgrown grass indicates the priorities of the time.
A, B, D, E & H. Land Girls at back of Hope House
C. The sign reads ‘VOLUNTARY Agricultural Camp, RVE’. This looks like a
field office intended to organise the workforce.
F. Dorm 3 Crowd, 1943: 1. Joyce Backer Bradford; 2. Alice?; 3. Betty
Knight Huddersfield; 4. Doris Harridence Halifax; 5. Elsie Thompson
Hull; 6. Ann Thompson Hull; 7 Eileen Gibson Hull.
I. Land girls either arriving or leaving Hope House. Lady fourth from
left is Joan Birchall, Kara's Nana.
(We think that Joan also appears, at the right, in photographs D, G and
See Links (Specialist subject areas)
for the Women's Land Army enthusiast website
which gives much more information and background to the story.
Above: the extension and bridge building over the 'HOPE
MEWS' gates from Alan Road. It took many years
for the housing to be built in the rear garden of Hope House. First
came a row of housing fronting Cavendish Street, also
accessed from this stretch of Alan Road and, much more
recently, Hope Mews.
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