Milestones*

[*Specialists favour 'milestone' for all markers such as 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 Tree) on the corner with St Margarets Street, we find the example shown below:
'IPSWICH
TO
LONDON
69

YARMOUTH
54
WOODBRIDGE
7

St.MARG't
P.
COLCHESTER
18'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost 12001 image
('St.Marg't P.' refers to St. Margaret's 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 perimeter 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 milestone and resited it against the wall of the pub (somewhat obscured by the picnic tables). We wonder if they needed planning permission for this; these milestone are Listed Grade II objects, so we are informed by Ed Broom (his Freston.net site is on the Links page.), who consulted the Ipswich Borough Council website to check [October, 2004].

[UPDATE 11.2.12: 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.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost at Mulberry Tree Ipswich Historic Lettering: Mulberry Tree 32012 images
Below: the Mulberry Tree in 1983 showing that the milepost was sited by the pub wall at that date.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Mulberry Tree 1978Photograph courtesy The Ipswich Society

'70'  outside 325 Woodbridge Road
The milestone below is only a mile further up the road, sited outside 325 Woodbridge Road, opposite St Mary's Church Hall and the former Convent site. 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 Turnpike Trust and gives rather more information:

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost 22001 image

'IPSWICH
TO
LONDON
70

YARMOUTH
53
WOODBRIDGE

6
St. MARG't. P
COLCHESTER
19'
and in the central triangle:
'J.GARRETT.
IRON-FOUNDER.
(ST. MARGARET'S.
IPSWICH)
1818'
(The iron founder's details are not picked out in black paint at the time of the photograph, but repainted, somewhat clumsily – the date is now unreadable under the paint – August, 2003).

Jacob Garrett
J. Garrett is a member of the famous Leiston ironfoundry family, brother of Richard Garrett who founded it. Jacob 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 pre-determined conditions."

"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, the next in the sequence placed by this Turnpike Trust. Its flaring top distinguishes 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.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost 62004 image
'J.GARRETT.
IRON-FOUNDER.
ST. MARGARET'S.
IPSWICH
1818'
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 to cut away the shoulders:
'RUSHMERE
TO
LONDON
71

YARMOUTH
52
WOODBRIDGE
5

IPSWICH
2
COLCHESTER
20'

'68' 
outside 140 London Road
The same ironfounder's details are to be found on the (in 2004) rather more neglected milestone, shown below, outside 140 London Road, not far from the Handford Road junction. It also is Listed Grade II. But this one is dated 1831. Now a residential street, this once served as the main Turnpike route into the centre of the town from the western approaches: a function now fulfilled by Handford Road.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost 42004 image
'IPSWICH
TO
LONDON
68

IPSWICH
1
WOODBRIDGE
8

COLCHESTER
17
CHELMSFORD
39'
And in the central triangle:
'J.GARRETT.
IRON-FOUNDER.
(ST. MARGARET'S.
IPSWICH)
1831'


This largely forgotten milestone shows the rime of rust from years of neglect , but is still readable.

'67'  outside Avenue Lodge, Chantry Park
Below is another milestone on London Road, this time on the far busier arterial route towards the Colchester and the capital, here the A1214. It stands near to the top of Crane Hill, close to the entrance to Chantry Park and the photograph had to be taken while standing in the bus lane with traffic roaring past. While it appears to be identical to the other posts shown above, the ironfounder's mark on the central triangle here is: 'E.R. & F. TURNER 1862', although 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.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost 32004 image
'SPROUGHTON
TO
LONDON
67

IPSWICH
2
WOODBRIDGE
9

COLCHESTER
16
CHELMSFORD
38'
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 Norwich 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 pub, this strikes one as being of an earlier vintage: smaller in stature, bearing smaller characters with less information and feeling the need to spell out 'miles':
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost 52004 image
'ST.
MATTHEW'S
PARISH.

BURY
25
MILES

IPSWICH
1
MILE'

Norwich Road milestone  outside 569 Norwich Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost Norwich Rd 12016 images
There just remains the genuine (stone) milestone on Norwich Road, which doesn't bear any lettering, but might have borne a metal plate with mileage details at some time. There are metal bolts in the top and front face of the stone.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost Norwich Rd 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost Norwich Rd 2
[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.]

Ipswich, the county town of Suffolk, has retained all seven milestones (plus one actual milestone) within the town boundaries. All but one still stand on the arterial roads 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 for the roads between Ipswich and Scole. Three are on Woodbridge Road and two on London Road. By comparison, Lowestoft has retained none of its milestones. This could have been due to the ravages of time, road 'improvements', vandalism, or just the Government's edict in the early years of the Second World War that milestones should be removed/ defaced to confuse the invading Bosch. The shapes, styles and materials of these forgotten roadside markers are fascinating. They deserve restoration and recognition. Thank goodness that there is a Milestone Society (see
the scholarly Suffolk Milestones website listed on our Links page) and that Suffolk's waymarkers are so well surveyed and reviewed in the same place.

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 Park.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost Hadleigh Rd 12013 images
'SPROUGHTON
PARISH

IPSWICH
2

WOODBRIDGE
8

HADLEIGH
9

SUDBURY
20'

and in the central triangle:
'J. GARRETT
IRON FOUNDER
ST MARGARETS
IPSWICH
1832'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost Hadleigh Rd 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Milepost Hadleigh Rd 3
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

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2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express written permission