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.
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
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,
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.)
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.
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 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
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'
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
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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Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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