Needham Market

For a small market town which has been by passed by the A14 – and perhaps because of that very fact – Needham Market possesses a variety of historic lettering examples. The centre of the town, either side of the B1113, remains largely unspoilt; it includes a handsome railway station, too. One access to the station yard (from the public space around Needham Lake) is via the unusual Cattle Tunnel.

Cattle Tunnel
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Cattle Tunnel 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Cattle Tunnel 22014 images
The cast metal plaques at each end are fairly recent, we think, but look good in the 'blue plaque' style of English Heritage. The gold,  relief serif'd font certainly gives them an 'historic' feel.
Only the shorter in stature will not have to bend when they use the tunnel, which goes right underneath Needham Market Station. Presumably, this pre-existing right of way for a farmer to access the water meadows near the Gipping and drive livestock to market had to be accomodated when the built the railway line in 1846. Cutting a tunnel through the embankment, while expensive, would have been preferable to a ramp from the meadow and a cattle crossing on the line itself.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Cattle Tunnel 3

Railway Station
The station was opened as 'Needham' by the Ipswich and Bury Railway in 1846. The main building (called by one writer "one of the best in East Anglia") was designed in a grand Jacobean style with decorative brickwork by Frederick Barnes and was completed by the contractor, Daniel Revitt, in 1849. Sadly no integral lettering, despite the blank tablet above the central doorway.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Station 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Station 4
However, no less than three metal plaques are fixed to the right of the door.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Station 1
Originally named Needham, the station was opened by the Ipswich, Bury and Norwich Railway in 1846, although the building was not complete until 1849. The Railway was managed and later taken over by the Great Eastern Railway. The station was designed by Frederick Barnes, architect, of Ipswich and built by Daniel Revitt, contractor, of Stowmarket. Closed in 1967, the station was reopened and named Needham Market in 1971. It was restored in 2000. The building is listed Grade II and stands in a Conservation Area.'

Spacia acknowledges contributions to the cost of restoration from The Railway Heritage Trust, English Heritage, Mid Suffolk District Council and Suffolk County Council/

[* The highlighting of the word 'RAILTRACK', which stands proud of  the rest of the plaque,  suggests either the replacement of another name, or more probably the use of a company namestyle. Railtrack was a group of companies which owned the track, signalling, tunnels, bridges, level crossings and all but a handful of the stations of the British railway system from 1994 until 2002. It was created as part of the privatisation of British Rail. In 2002, after experiencing major financial difficulty, most of Railtrack's operations were transferred to the state-controlled non-profit company Network Rail.]

The Rampant Horse
Next to Station Yard, is the picturesquely named Rampant Horse Inn, still bearing two of the relief lettering brewery signs which survive on the front of The Emperor public house in Ipswich (as well as the former Bull further up the main street: see below). The Ferry Boat Inn in Old Felixstowe, Stowmarket,
Hadleigh, ManningtreeThe Globe in Ipswich ('Cobbold's) and  Off licences in Ipswich also carry the name. To the right is:

and to the left

Between them the splendid arc, all picked out in black paint, of

encloses a window.
Needham Market 1<2004  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Rampant Horse2014 image
By 2014 the 'Tolly Cobbold' relief lettering on both faces has been covered with sign boards, but the signs survive beneath, we think. This timber-framed building opened as The Chequers in 1544; called The Cross House in 1590 and The Kings Arms for a short while from 1618. It was renamed The Ram in 1750 and then renamed The White Horse in 1775. It became The Fleece in 1804 when it was sold to John Cobbold, a brewer in Eye. Finally, it became The Rampant Horse in 1830 and still bears the arching name sign.

Post Box
Nearby, on the old Ipswich to Stowmarket road is a bus shelter with a Victorian wall post-box bearing the 'V' and 'R' of Victoria Regina either side of a regal crown. It is a plain cast iron design with 'POST OFFICE' in capitals on the projecting rain cover. All are readable still despite many coats of red paint. To the left, under the bus shelter itself is a rather grand stone tablet in the shape of a shield with curved pediment. It is set into the same red brick wall and reads in small and large caps:
'V ... R
This tablet
was erected
in commemoration
of the
Queen's long reign.

(The lead of the figure '1' in the date has dropped out and three holes remain.)
Needham market 2<2004
For a bit more on post boxes, see our Street furniture page.

The Maltings
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Market Maltings
A new development on, presumably, an old site in High Street, The Maltings eas in a 'half-restored' state in March 2014 when we spotted this tablet across a yard set into a newly-built brick wall with a new housing development behind it. The view is through the locked gates on High Street:

[some assumed initials]
Clowes Walker Ltd appears to have Articles of Association dated March 4, 1899. However, another company of the same name was registered on 15 February, 1917 but is now dissolved.

'1716' / 'JB'
Up the busy B1113 (High Street), a modest terrace of shops; Needham Market still supports butchery, bakery and other small businesses which have disappeared in much of nearby Ipswich. The frontages belie their age, if the '1716' date (see inset) is to be believed.
Needham Market 3
Further along the initials 'JB' are fixed in large wrought iron decorative characters, painted white and positioned between the first and second storeys (again, see inset).
Needham Market 4<2004
The plaque above the door tells us: 'JUBILEE HOUSE, 1887, J.B', so 'J.B' (just the single full stop) could be the initials of the builder of this row.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham JB 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham JB 1
In 1887 the United Kingdom and the British Empire celebrated Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The 20 June 1887 marked the fiftieth anniversary of her accession to the throne.

Alms House
Across the street an entrance in white Suffolk brick with a large green painted plaque above, bearing the white lettering:
'This Alms House,
for eight poor widows or widowers belonging to this place
was originally built and endowed by some benevolent individual
whose name is now unknown:

Further endowed by the late Saml. Alexander Esq.
repaired and in part rebuilt by public subscription.

A.D. 1836
F. Harvey Archt.'

Needham Market 5<2004  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Alms 32014 image
British Listed Buildings (see Links) tells us:
"Almshouses, C16 or C17 with major alterations of 1836 as described on tablet over entrance. Timber-framed, encased at the front and left-hand gable in gault brick; plastered at the rear. Slated roof; bargeboards with undulating soffits. An axial chimney of 1836, gault brick with 4 flues, of quatrefoil plan. 2 storeys, 5 windows. Sash windows with six panes, the upper three having arcaded heads; above each window is a prominent hood-mould of painted brick. A set-forward central bay has a 4-centred arched entrance doorway, the door recessed with sunk vertical panels. In the entrance hall are a pair of carved oak figures, one on either side of the doorway. They are in the C15 manner and of high quality. Said to have been part of the original front elevation, but perhaps more likely to be of ecclesiastical origin."

1718 house
Needham Market 6<2004
Towards Stowmarket is a remarkable frontage bearing a circle with masonic dividers above the initials 'SM' and the date '1718'.

The Bull
Directly accross the street is the former Bull public house on the corner of Bridge Street which again bears

in relief lettering on two faces. The decorative gable end lettering is picked out in black, but that on the long side is painted the same colour as the cement rendering, although (see enlargement) the fluorescent lighting fitment is still above it.
Needham Market 7<2004
See also the Pubs & Off-licences page and the Tolly Cobbold House & Brewery pages.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Tolly 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Tolly 2
The condensed capitals shown above travel across a bend in the wall above the High Street door (see the break in the bressummer) and suffers, on a sunny day, from the shadow cast by the still-in-place strip lights above.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Tolly 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Tolly 4
The lettering on the gable on Bridge Streetis much more like Gill Sans, with the 'O' in 'TOLLY' a circle. Those in 'COBBOLD' below are more oval.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Tolly 5   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Tolly 62014 images
The building boasts an ancient-looking corner post with angel with spread wings. The Bull was known as The White Horse from 1607-1770, and The Compasses from 1770-83. It was called The Bull after 1784 when inn of same name located opposite (now called The Limes) was closed and the sign was transferred. The Bull was built late 15th or early 16th century as a Guildhall. [Pub information from Suffolk CAMRA website, see Links.]

St John the Baptist Church
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham church a
The stone butresses bear a range of lettering. To the left of the entrance with its tiny clock tower and spire is 'ihc' (see our St Peter's, Ipswich for an explanation).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham church 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham church 2
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham church 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham church 4
The inscription above left is described by Simon Knott as a 'date' (Simon's Suffolk churches see Links). The others are gnomic, but someone probably knows what they mean.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham church 5   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham church plaque 
It was built during the second half of the 15th century, and set high up to the right, above the tiny priest's door (making it virtually unreadable, what with the gothic script and all) in the expanse of restored knapped flint is an inscription carved in stone:
'Pray we all for grace, for he yt hav holpe ys place God reward he for her ded & hev'n may be her meed.'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham church b

East Suffolk County Council 1922 bridge
Hawks Mill Street runs off High Street to the west of St John the Baptist Church. Running down to the River Gipping the first bridge crosses the mill race, past Hawk's Mill. The mill this was built in 1884, just at the time when roller milling was becoming popular in England; it is listed Grade II and has been converted into flats; an Armfield turbine was one power source, but the chimney indicated steam power was also used. The road then crosses the river itself via a gently rising bridge.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Market ESCC1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Market ESCC22017 images
Each of the concrete piers bears a cast iron panel bearing the castle keep in relief and the characters:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Market ESCC3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Market ESCC4
This is one of three known examples of bridges which commemorate the East Suffolk County Council. The others are at Mendham and Southwold. See also the 'West Suffolk' sign show on our Ipswich County Hall page. County Hall bears similar 'castle keep'  images to those shown here on its frontage.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Market ESCC5   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Market ESCC6
Although showing traces of rust, the iron panels have clearly been painted in recent years, the raised details being picked out in black. East Suffolk County Council was part of the tripartite local government of Suffolk until reorganisation in 1974 when Suffolk County Council was created. The other two authorities were West Suffolk County Council and Ipswich County Borough (formerly Ipswich Corporation).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham Market ESCC7

Town pump
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham pump street
The tiny Pump Street is, not suprisingly, home to a small, attractive cast iron water pump. Worth recording for the street name and the Village pumps website (see Links) tells us that it bears the manufacturer's name: 'Unk'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham pump 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Needham pump 2

Back at the Needham Lake end of town, the narrow Lion Lane leads from the old main road to pass beneath the railway and passes a mystifying signed building:
Ipswich Historic lettering: Needham Mortuary2012 image
but when was this used as a mortuary?

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