The Mill

(OK, it's not historic... but you can't ignore it)
A major feature of the Waterfront Regeneration Scheme in Ipswich (better known to us as the Wet Dock) is the area of Cranfield's Flour Mill. The 23 storey block which now occupies the site has become a new 'eyecatcher' from all over the town and its environs. Not to mention the skeletal structure next door! Here are some photographs of the building from a variety of viewpoints.
Borin Van Loon: The Mill, Ipswich Docks1
The lettering here must be one of the biggest fonts on this website. An added 21st Century touch is that it reads vertically on this very vertical building and at night, as well as single large spotlights shining vertically on the various faces, the characters themselves are underlit.
Borin Van Loon: The Mill, Ipswich Docks2
The Mill rises like a rocket ship: The view from just south of the Buttermarket Shopping Centre and looking across Dog's Head Street (home of the 'Edme Bakery' lettering) into Turret Lane and the Old Cattle market Bus Station. The former Atfield & Daughter shop, now called Angle (but known to the historic buildings enthusiast as 'The Sun Inn') is to the left, the edge of bar/restaurant is to the right. Behind is St Stephens Church.
Borin Van Loon: The Mill, Ipswich Docks3
The Mill is framed between the jaws of Lower Brook Street (just outside The Suffolk Victoria Nursing Institute), one of the most ancient thoroughfares in the town.
Borin Van Loon: The Mill, Ipswich Docks 4
A bit further down and The Mill soars above everything. Another example of recent lettering which has found its way onto this website can be found in St Helens Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: The Mill 5
Above: St Peter's Church on an April evening in 2011 and behind it soars The Mill with its lettering underlit, close-up on the right.
On Monday 28 October 2013 gale force winds ripped polystyrene cladding and membrane from the waterfront face of The Mill's  23 storey tower block.


Cranfields Flour Mill

Ironically, perhaps, The Mill
(still largely empty in 2012) towers high above a stump of the original 'CRANFIELDS FLOUR MILL' which stands opposite St Mary-At-Quay Church. Perhaps it has been left in a semi-derelict condition to celebrate the desultory state in which the dockside follies were left when the Irish banks – which were  funding much of the Waterfront Generation, apparently – went into meltdown in 2008. Good times. Cheers.

A very big employer in the town, Cranfield's was in operation from the 1880s to about 1999. The former flour mill was largely demolished and the first foundations for the 70 million site were laid in June 2007. The site is now home to The Mill, the tallest building in Suffolk, described somewhat questionably by The East of England Development Agency as 'a cultural and architectural beacon for the town'. The Mill includes the new 7.9 million Jerwood DanceHouse (this link shows an historic printed Cranfield Bros sack and other images) which was supported with a further 1million of funding from EEDA. It provides the first custom-built dance facility in the East of England and a headquarters for dance agency DanceEast. The DanceHouse was officially opened on 30 October 2009.

The skeletal concrete structure visible to the left of the image below remains a steadily decaying testimony to 'property development' hubris. Locals have taken to call it 'The Winerack'. Composed of internal-quality concrete which is not designed to withstand extreme weather conditions (unlike exterior concrete) it has become clear that this whole construction will require demolition if anyone scrapes together the money to attempt to complete the dockside 'regeneration' on this part of the Wet Dock. Some cynics opine that it was better, more honest, when the brutalist maltings and mill silos lined the Wet Dock and before the jetties and millionaires' boats obliterated the water.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cranfields 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cranfields 22008 images
Taken from the interior of St Mary-At-Quay Church on the same day in 2008, are glimpses of the building work in progress. Below left: tall cranes over the site of the the 'Winerack' and a notable gap in development, soon to be filled. Below right: the church window tells its own story. The upper parts with darker glass survived the bomb-blast in the World War II bombing; the paler sections had to be replaced. Through the window the evening sun bounces off the plastic sheeting of the Winerack developement with, to the right the lettered 'Cranfields Flour Mill' stump.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cranfields 5   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cranfields 6
And, below, against the uglification of the soon-to-be 'Winerack' block is the 'SM [key]' monograom of St Mary-At-Quay Church.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cranfields 7
For further images of these buildings and of the northern quays during the 2005/6 Waterfront demolition and clearances see our Waterfront regeneration page.

Cranfields offices entrance
Below is a remarkable photograph of the corner of Foundry Lane with College Street, from the Ipswich Society Image archive (see Links). The former offices of Cranfields on the corner of Foundry Lane with one of the silos behind. The whole of this site was cleared in 2005 and the Mill / Jerwood Dance Studio project constructed on the site. We are assured that the stonework of the Cranfields office entrance (apparently formerly the Burtons offices) is stored, with the expectation that it would have been re-erected like a piece of sculpture, as part of the Waterfront Regeneration Scheme – all stalled by the global crash of 2007/8.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cranfields offices pre-2005pre-2005 image courtesy Ipswich Society




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