15 Museum Street, with its very attractive arched windows and
triangular pediments in Suffolk white brick, bears this street
nameplate: 'MUSEUM ST.'. One assumes that the
plate was removed during brick cleaning, then remounted using
edge-clips, as the plate bears no fewer than nine screw holes from
previous fixing. It is accompanied by a plastic Town Trail sign (does this still
40-42 Museum Street
An even more decorative dated Edwardian frontage
with the prominent date amid Palladian and deco features, obelisks and
Ipswich Borough's Local List (see Links):
"42 Museum Street (Booth and
Mitchell coal factors and merchants)
The facade narrowing as it rises to a triangular pediment is based on
Italian Renaissance churches. Decorative bands of intertwined plants
are set between the fluted Ionic pilasters on the first floor and the
pilasters on the second. On the first floor the panels are divided by
devils/leprechauns in the metopes above the pilasters. 1905 in the
cartouche under the pediment." Bettley/Pevsner (see Reading list) credit this building to T.W.
Cotman, who was also responsible for the Chelsea
Building Society building further up Princes Street, The Crown and Anchor and Lloyds banking
house on Cornhill.
A late October morning in 2016 with the sun low and raking shows this
facade to great effect.
Mention of the 'devils/leprechauns in the metopes above
the pilasters' in the Local List description prompts us to look more
closely at these amusing
grotesques, not noticed by many passers-by:
38 Museum Street
Incidentally, a few doors down Museum Street can be seen a large
terra cotta version of the Ipswich
coat of arms.
The above buildings are former Customs and Excise
Offices. Customs and Excise were only combined in 1909, which must be
the date of the present building. The coats of arms serve as a reminder
that it was a National Service but that this branch was based in the
Port of Ipswich. Customs and Excise was merged with the Inland Revenue
of number 38 Museum Street next door displays a large British royal
coat of arms in stone. The Public Sculpture of Norfolk & Suffolk
database (see Links) tells us:
"On the royal coat of arms: DIEU ET MON DROIT and HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y
The curved pediment of the doorway is decorated with a striking royal
coat of arms with a fierce lion."
See also our Princes Street page
for the Frasers building which takes up much of the other side of the
Nearby in the pavement is an interesting manhole cover. Thick,
obscure glass segments are set into a cast circular cover with the
'HAYWARD BROTHERS PATENT
UNION STREET BOROUGH LONDON'
The 'R.C. Wrinch' lettering, 36
Museum Street – found!
These characters cut
into the red brick exist somewhere around this Princes Street / Elm
Street / Museum Street. Contributor to this website,
Mike O'Donovan, included this intriguing image with others nearby in
2008, but he couldn't recall where he had found it.
We walked around the whole area
and couldn't identify the lettering, so left a request for information
on this site. In November 2013 another friend of this website, Dr James
Bettley (who had been working on an update of the Suffolk Pevsner volume, see Reading list) tipped us off that
the lettering was at 36 Museum Street. However, even knowing the
address, it isn't easy to spot. Working from a long shot of the corner
building on Museum Street and Elm Street
to the specific doorway...
... and there it is. Like a painter signing the corner of a
canvas, or a sculptor inscribing the base of a sculpture, R.C. Wrinch,
Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, took the
trouble to have the Suffolk reds chiselled out with condensed capitals,
replete with delicate full stops.
It turns out that R.C. Wrinch
was also the architect
of St Helens Primary School, Woodbridge Road in
1913/14. Not a signed building, as far as we can see –
but see our V.A. Marriott page
for more on the school. (N.B.
an Alfred Wrinch is listed as Mayor of Ipswich 1880-1881; one wonders
if he was the architect's father?)
Another 'signed' building similar to this is the nearby Britannic House
Street (where you can also find the 'dated' former
Fraser's building on the other side of Museum Street).
Further up Museum Street is
the Weslyan Chapel, with a lettered
foundation stone, also the junction with Arcade
Our Ipswich Museum page features the
original museum building (now Arlington's restaurant) which gave its
name to this street.
See also Lost
Ipswich trade signs for
Thomas Seckford's 'Great Place' in Westgate Street, destroyed during
the cutting-through of Museum Street in the 1840s.
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