Vicarage, St John's Lodge, Harmony Square, Woodbridge Road

This slightly puzzling piece of lettering stands to the right of the busy entrance to Woodbridge Road Medical Centre, at 165-167 Woodbridge Road.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Vicarage, Woodbridge Road2012 image

'VICARAGE'
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: the 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 the rectory adjacent to the church. So this property beloged to the Vicar of what?

Given that the vicarage for Holy Trinity Church in Back Hamlet lies a long way up Bishop's Hill in the mouth of Rosehill Road, is it possible that this is the vicarage for the grand St Margaret's Church which is much nearer to the town centre?
[See the update below 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 Suzanne for what appears to be a satisfactory explanation of 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.]

St John's Lodge
Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Johns Lodge 32014 images
Next door to the 'Vicarage' lettering is St John's Lodge
(above) which is turned sideways on to Woodbridge Road. The 1883 map (thanks to John Norman) below shows its position with, beside 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:
'CONNAUGHT
BUILDINGS
-1878-'

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Connaught Buildings 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Connaught Buildings 22014 images
... 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.)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Farringdon Villas

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. One of these cottages 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, built on the site.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Johns Lodge 4
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.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Johns Lodge 2
   Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Johns Lodge 1
'ST JOHN'S   ...   LODGE'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: St John Lodge 5Night-time (winter) image 2016

Is it possible that St John's Lodge on Woodbridge Road relates to St John the Baptist Church a mile or so up the road on Cauldwell Hall Road, which in turn gives its name, "St John's", to the area still known to some as "California"?
Ipswich Historic Lettering: St Johns Lodge map1883 map
The narrow passage to Harmony Square from Woodbridge Road where the original gate posts are still in place:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Hanover Court 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Hanover Court 2
'(HARMONY) ...   SQUARE.'
'(HANOVER) ...   COURT'

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...)

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.

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 furniture page.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Lacey St birds eye view
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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