is spelt out on the
capstone (the other one is missing from the brick pillar) in attractive
lettering, heightened with black paint. Is this
the original vicarage for St Helen's Church in St Helen's Street, we
entrance to the associated school can be found a few hundred yard down
Woodbridge Road from here? However, St Helen's priest is a Rector who
presumably would live in a rectory adjacent to the church. So this
property beloged to the Vicar of what? [See
updates for an explanantion.]
[UPDATE 16.3.2014: the 1902 map
of the area illustrated on our Palmerston
Road page clearly shows St Helen's Church on Spring Road and behind
it, before St Helens School was built, undeveloped land behind the
graveyard rising up the hill to a large 'Rectory' fronting Woodbridge Road. This would have stood on the site of the
present school entrance. So the vicarage in question does not relate to
this church. For yet another story about a St Helen's Church
'parsonage', see our Warwick Road page.]
[UPDATE 16.2.2015: 'I may have
info on the Vicarage, now health centre. Rev. Clement Henry Lakin
Wright, possibly lived there in 1935. He uses an address in Woodbridge
Road in the document below. Clement was an army chaplain and spent
several years in India before returning to Suffolk. His son, also a
clergyman (there are several generations of clergy in this family)
Horace, used it as his UK address when travelling to China to be a
missionary about 1935, too. His sister Gertrude remained unmarried and
also lived there after the deaths of both her father and brother. The
vicarage at this time does not seem to be linked to a church – it may
be a house owned by the church and used for retiring clergymen and
their families and just called a vicarage for that reason.
[https://archive.org/stream/proceedingssuff03histgoog] If you google
Clement, you will get quite a bit of info about him.
Suzanne Kirk.' Many thanks to
for information on the 'Vicarage'
lettering. Rev. Clement Laken is listed in the Suffolk Institute
of Archaeology and Natural History list of members, May 1933 as living
at Granite House, Woodbridge Road.]
[UPDATE 18.3.2019: 'We've just
moved into number 165 [Woodbridge Road], the old Doctor's
surgery. I noticed that 167 has one gate post with 'Vicarage' on
it but you were unsure which church it was attribute to. See
below on an old map, it appears to be St Michael's! Best wishes,
Maddie. PS love the website!' Thanks,
Maddie – we think that's very helpful, but poses some questions. Although
the map is of uncertain date, the Church of
St Michael in Upper Orwell Street wasn't built until the 1880s, so
the map must be from that time or later...]
It should be borne in mind that the date attributed to a map is usually
that of publication; the data upon which the map is based is usually
one to two years earlier than this.
Dating the map
1. On the undated
map (above), 'St Michael's Vicarage' is clearly labelled at no. 167; it
looks as if the cart entrance accessing the rear garden was
original – until recently it was
used as an access to a patients'
car park behind. The 2017/18 conversion back to dwellings has filled in
this entry to form part of the building with a new front door. The
doctor's 'Surgery' (no. 165,
semi-detached with 167) is
shown; it later spread into 167. Note that Harmony
Square doesn't seem to exist at this time, although the shape of the
site is there – See the following maps.
2. We now have a
sequence of maps of this area
dated 1952, 1968 and 1969. The first labels no. 167 as 'Vicarage'; the
second and third have the full 'St Michael's Vicarage'. The dramatic
change occurs between 1968 and 1969 when the easterly Whitfield King
offices in Lacey Street are demolished and the former Harmony Square
cottages are replaced by the Hanover Court flats. This accounts for the
void in the Harmony Square footprint. The offices of the Whitfield King stamp
business are described and illustrated on our Morpeth House
3. The 1969
map (below) clearly shows the layout of the present-day Hanover Court;
the Whitfield King offices at 106 Lacey Street have been removed,
presumably to facilitate vehicular access to the awkwardly-shaped
sheltered housing site. 'St Michael's Vicarage' is still clearly
labelled at this time, as is the next door 'Surgery'. When it ceased to
be a vicarage, presumably the surgery next door bought no. 167 and
spread its operations to both (linked) buildings, until the 21st
century conversion back to dwellings.
Harmony Square was built
during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) for military officers, as described below, and the Church of St Michael in Upper Orwell Street
was not built until the 1880s.
The Ipswich Society Local List
(second edition 1985, see Reading list)
describes both houses in Woodbridge Road as 'mid-19th century' (no. 165
as 'Doctor's Surgery';
no. 167 as a 'Private House'). So the 'Vicarage' ceased to fulfill that
role at a date between 1969 and 1984.
6. Sources state
that one of the cottages in
Harmony Square suffered bomb
damage during the World War II but it was repaired (see our Warwick
Road page), however the whole group
of dwellings and the mission room
were demolished in 1957 and flats, now called Hanover Square, were
on the site – see photographs of the entrance below. It appears from
these maps that, following the demolition the site lay empty for about
twelve years, before redevelopment.
Given that there was not another Church of St Michael in Ipswich –
according to Simon Knott's Suffolk Churches site (see Links) – the 'Vicarage'-lettered capstone
is a 20th century addition (it certainly looks more modern than its
heavier Victorian counterparts). That would fit in better with
information (see the update 16.2.2015 above) about a vicar living at
no. 167 in 1933 and with the later date of the map.
8. Why build a
vicarage about a mile away from the church?
Our imaginary vicarage nestling a hundred yards away from the village
church doesn't hold true in a large town. For example, Rev. J.T.
Nottidge, incumbent of St Clement Church, not only had Holy Trinity Church built in Back Hamlet
at his own expense, his Trinity Vicarage was a long way up Bishops Hill
in 'Vicarage Road', later an extension to Rosehill Road (as shown on
our Rosehill case study page): a much more salubrious location.
Next door to the 'Vicarage' lettering is St John's Lodge (above) which is turned sideways on
to Woodbridge Road. The Ipswich Society Local List (second edition 1985)
lists the house as 'mid-19th century', like its neighbours at 165 and
167 . The 1883 map (thanks to John
Norman) below shows its
it, the entry lane into Harmony Square set at an odd angle behind
Connaught Buildings – this terrace of houses with steps up to the front
doors is still there, with over number 179 Woodbridge Road:
... with, ten years later a row of six houses, set back from the road:
'FARRINGDON VILLAS 1888' is above number 193 Woodbridge Road.
(Connaught House, a few doors away, is dated a year earlier and a has
redundant wall postal box.)
On the pavement close to Farringdon Villas is an Ipswich Corporation
Electricty Dept. Mains Disconnecting Box set into the pavement; see our
Street furniture page.
The brick gate posts from Woodbridge Road to St John's Lodge have stone
insets bearing recessed gothic lettering infilled with red and/or black
on the right. 'St John's' to the left is much weathered, hardly visible
except in raking sunlight or, we noticed, by the street light at night.
JOHN'S ... LODGE'
(winter) image 2016
Is it possible that St John's
Lodge on Woodbridge Road relates to St John the Baptist
Church a mile or more up the road on Cauldwell Hall Road, which in turn
gives its name, 'St John's', to the area still known to some as
The detail from the 1884 map shows the original Church of St John –
later used as a church hall once the much larger redbrick church was
built to the north (on the site of a 'Smithy') and demolished in recent
years. Gardens above this lead up to the Vicarage of St John's, which
still stands today, although much extended, as a care home, fronting
The 'P.H.' on the corner is The Golden Key,
now converted into a grocery store. Between the two is the modern
station and car wash. While Nelson Road is present, it is still
sparsely developed. Gordon Road which leads down to the Roundwood
Bowling Green (behind the Vicarage) is yet to be built. 'Cauldwell
House', the larger building to the left of the Vicarage, no longer
exists and Roundwood shops now line Woodbridge Road.
Harmony Square / Hanover Court
During the preparations for the
(1803–1815) a militia camp was established on the level ground up
Albion Hill (see Parade Field Terrace) with the officers’
quarters in Harmony Square opposite the Duke
of York public house.
Harmony Square consisted of two rows of single bedroom cottages facing
each other across an open courtyard: eleven on one side and nine on the
other with a wedge-shaped Mission Room at the eastern end, hard up
against the back yards of Connaught Buildings (see above). One of these
suffered bomb damage during the Second World War but it was repaired,
however the whole complex was demolished in 1957 and flats, now called
Hanover Square, were built on the site.
For the story of a large WWII bomb hitting Harmony
Square and a second
in the garden of nearby Derby Lodge, see our Warwick
Road page. Luckily, neither exploded.
The narrow passage to Harmony Square from
Woodbridge Road where the original gate posts are still in place:
The mass of ivy to the left drowns the lettering and
most of the post, but it was visible fifteen years ago! The original
name is carved into the stone capstones, replete with serifs and full
stop. The later name is in relief, condensed capitals on painted metal
plates screwed to the brickwork. (One day they'll clear it all away...)
'(HANOVER) ... COURT'
[UPDATE February 2019: after
years of waiting we noticed a trailer here in late January 2019 piled
high with ivy cuttings. At last we can see the left-hand pillar
featuring both a capstone with 'HARMONY' carved in it (much degraded,
so the enhancement makes it clear) and the later metal nameplate:
'HANOVER' – also affected by the ivy tendrils.]
Below: 'HARMONY' is readable in this enhanced image
with the metal nameplate 'HANOVER' beneath.
It is of passing interest that a 'Letter box' is
shown outside St
John's Lodge on the 1883 map. It certainly is not there now. However,
in 1887, thus not shown on the map above, Connaught House was built a
little way up from Connaught Buildings on the corner with North Hill
Road. For many years it was a sub-post office and it still bears a
defunct wall box shown on our Street
This bird's eye view of the area shows the present day situation. Morpeth House, former home of the
Whitfield King stamp empire in Lacey Street, is slightly left of centre
(the roofless, octangonal former billiard room is noticeable). The
Hanover Square flats sit at 45 degrees to Woodbridge Road.
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