[*Specialists favour 'milestone' for all markers such
those shown here, even though they are made of cast iron; the term
relates to the ground-level siting of the sign. One assumes
that 'milepost' is more suited to the tall signs such as that seen in Yoxford.]
'69' outside 5 Woodbridge Road
Outside the Milestone public house at nos. 3-5 Woodbridge Road (in 2012
the name reverted to The Mulberry
on the corner with St Margarets Street, we find the example shown below:
('St.Marg't P.' refers to St.
Parish). The '69' milestone is the first on the
Ipswich to Yarmouth Turnpike Road (see below for a note about the Turnpike Trust). In 2003
the pub owners built a decorative wall around the
of the property to exclude the cars which used to park there and create
a seating area. In doing so, we think that they had to move the
resited it against the wall of the pub (somewhat obscured by the picnic
tables). We wonder if they needed planning permission for this; these
are Listed Grade II objects, so we are informed by Ed Broom (his
is on the Links page.), who consulted the
Borough Council website to check [October, 2004].
We noticed that the pub on the corner of St Margaret's Green and
Woodbridge Road (variously The Mulberry
Tree, The Milestone, The
Beerhouse etc. over the years) is being refurbished and reverting to
its original name. The central pub sign panel on the upper front wall
had been removed and an early, peeling sign revealed. We took the
opportunity to record this and the milestone.]
Below: the Mulberry Tree in 1983 showing that the milepost was
sited by the pub wall at that date.
courtesy The Ipswich Society
325 Woodbridge Road
The milestone below is only a mile further up the
325 Woodbridge Road, opposite St Mary's Church Hall and the former
The Grade II Listing states: "1 of a series of milestones set up as
facings to earlier
stones by the Ipswich Southtown (Gt Yarmouth) Turnpike Trust." It was
placed on Albion Hill by The Ipswich To South Town & Bungay
Trust and gives rather more information:
(The iron founder's details are not picked out in black paint at the
time of the photograph, but
somewhat clumsily – the date is now unreadable under the paint –
St. MARG't. P
in the central triangle:
See also our page on the old
toll-house (now Barclays bank) on the junction of Woodbridge Road
and Rushmere Road.
J. Garrett is a member of the
Leiston ironfoundry family, brother of Richard Garrett who founded it.
Garrett started business in Ipswich as a whitesmith (one who works with
tinplate), coachbuilder and bell-hanger. In 1802 he set up an iron
foundry earlier occupied by John Cobbold the renowned brewer) at the
corner of St Margaret's Green and Cobbold Street. In 1803 he was
advertising for 'old cast iron' urgently needed 'to execute an unusual
order for the Government'. J. Garrett's foundry in St Margaret's
parish, Ipswich produced these and
many other Suffolk milestones including those for the Little Yarmouth
Turnpike and those from Darsham to Bungay.
(Information on Jacob Garrett from Malster, R.
See Reading List.)
The family links of Jacob Garrett seem to be contradicted by the
quotation from Linda Sexton's book on the Ipswich
to South Town [Great Yarmouth] and Bungay Turnpike Trust (below).
Incidentally, milestone no. 72 at Kesgrave was made by another local
foundry: Cocksedge, Ipswich.
The Turnpike Trusts
"Why were these roads called 'turnpikes'? In earlier times pikemen were
guards stationed outside the monarch's audience chamber. Entry to the
royal presence would be barred by crossed pikes, which were 'turned'
aside to allow entry... Essentially a turnpike is a barrier barring the
way, but which can be moved to allow traffic through under
"An Act of 1744 made milestones compulsory on most main roads and the
General Turnpike Act of 1766 required all turnpike trusts to erect
milestones or posts along the length of all the roads the they
controlled. The Ipswich to South Town [Great Yarmouth] and Bungay
Turnpike Trust was inaugurated on Friday 20 May 1785. The original
stones between Ipswich and Yamouth were repaired and relettered in
1799, but in 1817 the trustees asked the surveyor to obtain estimates
for the cost of encasing the milestones along the whole length of the
road in iron, with figures denoting the distances. In October 1817
Jacob Garrett, an Ipswich founder, contracted with the Trust to do the
work... Garrett was expected to complete the work in nine months, by
the following July, The sum agreed was not to exceed £100."
"The '69' milestone
[outside The Mulberry Tree] is the first on the Ipswich
to Yarmouth Turnpike Road... This is but a short distance from St Margaret's Plain [Green], where the foundry
in which it was made used to be situated, and is also close to the
starting point of the turnpike itself. Very little is known about Jacob
Garrett. He does not appear to be linked to the Garretts of Leiston,
and Ipswich Record Office has no documents from the business. Other
turnpike roads in the area have milestones of a similar design. The
sides of the milestone are angled to indicate the direction of the
major town as well as the distance to it. The side facing the oncoming
traveller shows the next major town in that direction. Milestones were
painted white so that they would show up in poor light."
(Quotations from Sexton, L.: Fifty four miles to Yarmouth see Reading List.)
'71' described by the Grade
II Listing as "outside Mann Egertons Garage"
Below is Ipswich's most flamboyant milestone,
next in the sequence placed by this Turnpike Trust. Its
it from the others, but it still bears the same ironfounder's mark and
date.Ironically it is to be found in the shadow of a petrol filling
station on Woodbridge Road East.
but for some
reason the physical shape of the cast has been altered, either that, or
the shape was similar to the others and some defect caused the foundry
cut away the shoulders:
The same ironfounder's
details are to be found on
the (in 2004) rather more neglected milestone, shown below, outside 140
not far from the Handford Road junction. It also is Listed Grade II.
But this one is dated 1831.
a residential street, this once served as the main Turnpike route into
centre of the town from the western approaches: a function now
by Handford Road.
This largely forgotten milestone shows the rime of rust
, but is still readable.
And in the
'67' outside Avenue
Lodge, Chantry Park
Below is another milestone on London Road, this
time on the far
arterial route towards the Colchester and the capital, here the A1214.
It stands near
the top of Crane Hill, close to the entrance
to Chantry Park and the
had to be taken while standing in the bus lane with traffic roaring
While it appears to be identical to the other posts shown above, the
mark on the central triangle here is: 'E.R. & F. TURNER 1862',
it is not picked out in black paint.
E.R. & F. Turner
We know far more about this founder than J. Garrett, as discussed
above. The firm of E.R. & F. Turner was founded in 1837 and its
premises in College Street near the Wet Dock were known as St Peter's
Ironworks. In 1911 they acquired the Stowmarket firm of Bull Motors and
in 1924 the manufacture of electric motors moved from Stowmarket to
Ipswich, become an integral part of Turner's. From 1937 the work
relocated to a large site on Foxhall Road – many will remember Bull
Motors next to the Celestion loudpseaker factory (currently at Great
Blakenham) here. Bull Motors closed in 2000, due to a series of changes
of ownership and the site is now residential. In 1969 W.G. Gosling
purchased Turner's flour and flake milling business. Christy-Turner in
Knightsdale Road continue the pulverizer and hammer mill business.
Although it had been restored and repainted,
this milestone needed rebedding and returning to its upright position
when photographed in 2004.
The Borough's local list tells us: "Milestone Number 67 (Chantry Park).
This cast iron milestone sits by the curb a few yards away from the
London Road entrance to Chantry Park. Dating from 1862 it replaced an
earlier stone marker that was set in place by the Ipswich to Southtown
and Bungay Turnpike Trust. The trust was established in 1785 and was
responsible for road maintenance between Ipswich – then an up and
coming town with a population approaching 11,000 – and Southtown (Great
Yarmouth)." However, this is contradicted by the statements about this
Trust above, which clearly establishes that the first milestone erected
by this Trust is outside The Mulberry Tree in Woodbridge Road.
St Matthew's Parish milestone
Below is the milestone on the junction of Chevallier Street and
Road. Like the Chantry Park example, it had been restored in 2004.
The Grade II Listing states: "An early C19 cast iron milestone restored
and repaired after damage and re-erected at the present site." Standing
on the grassed area under trees on the corner opposite the Inkerman
this strikes one as being of an earlier vintage: smaller in stature,
smaller characters with less information and feeling the need to spell
Norwich Road milestone
outside 569 Norwich Road
There just remains the genuine (stone) milestone
on Norwich Road, which
bear any lettering, but might have borne a metal plate with mileage
at some time. There are metal bolts in the top and front face of the
[UPDATE 27.10.2016: Michael
Bardell of the Milestone Society points out that this feature appears
on a late 19th/early 20th century map: "Checking the OS map reveals a
milestone with bench mark and an absence of a boundary thereabouts."
Although it features in Paul Horne's list of Ipswich boundary markers ('IB3'), it
is confirmed as a milestone.]
county town of Suffolk, has retained all seven milestones (plus one
within the town boundaries. All but one still stand on the arterial
into the town as they did in the days of the Turnpike Trusts. Two stand
on Norwich Road, which was part of the first Suffolk Turnpike in 1711
the roads between Ipswich and Scole. Three are on Woodbridge Road and
on London Road. By comparison, Lowestoft has retained none of its
This could have been due to the ravages of time, road 'improvements',
or just the Government's edict in the early years of the Second World
that milestones should be removed/ defaced to confuse the invading
The shapes, styles and materials of these forgotten roadside markers
fascinating. They deserve restoration and recognition. Thank goodness
there is a Milestone Society (see the scholarly
website listed on our Links page)
and that Suffolk's waymarkers are so well surveyed and reviewed in the
place. Incidentally, the Milestone Society has a photograph of a
milestone somewhat similar to that outside 569 Norwich Road. It is said
to be situated on the unclassified road (formerly the A14), location
'By the road' at Whitton with the incised legend: 'TO BURY 23; 3 IPSWICH 3M' – but we haven't found
Sproughton Parish milestone
Changes in the administrative boundaries possibly brought this
milestone inside the borough urban area from the rural Sproughton
parish. It is on Hadleigh Road, almost opposite the entrance to Chantry
and in the central triangle:
As with other examples shown on this page, the numeral '9' at the lower
left is curious: looking hand-painted
rather than a cast character. It is as if the casting dropped off and
had to be hastily hand-numbered. Leaves and debris cover most of the
lower '20' on the lower right.
See our Aldeburgh page for a lettered
milestone near to the White Hart. Milestones and mileposts occur in
many towns and villages e.g. Hadleigh, Yoxford.
See also our Lettered castings
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