Road and the lost York Road
Walking down the curving hill of Warwick Road from the Duke of
York public house on the corner, one passes Upton Place on the
relatively recent curling road with housws fitting into the spaces
behind the Victorian housing. Towards the cul-de-sac, on sees a 'rear'
entrance to 'Home
Cottage 1889'. Similar vintage (1970s?) houses are seen on either
side of the Upton Place entrance on Warwick Road.
'York Road' – did
it really exist?
Below these on the western side of Warwick Road stands a detached house
which is twisted at an angle to the building line of the houses around
it: number 35. On a detail of White's
map of Ipswich dated 1867 (the larger section is shown with
annotations on our
page about Belle
Vue Road (and Belle Vue Retreat), a short street running roughly
east-west is shown running between the upper part of Palmerston
Road and Warwick Road labelled 'York Road'. This would be a logical
name given its proximity to the Duke of York
pub. The open area to the
south on the detail is labelled 'Freehold Land Society'. This area was
amongst the first to be developed for housing by the Ipswich
& Suffolk Freehold Land Society (F.L.S.). The first structures
'workman's houses' in nearby Lancaster
Road and it may be significant that the later – and much
larger – Rose Hill F.L.S. estate (January 1870)
included the 'York Road' which we see
today running between Felixstowe Road and Upper Cavendish Street. See
house names page for more on York Road and environs. Perhaps
post-Rose Hill Estate, this
Road was built over to avoid confusion.
Aerial view showing angle of No. 35
So, back to number 35. At first we assumed that this York Road had run slightly to
the north, the western end having been closed off by 20th century
(1960s?) housing which one sees today, the eastern end still used as
part of Upton Place. The only way to confirm this was to compare maps.
The house isn't present on the 1867 map detail – confirmed by
the date '1880' on the house fabric shown below.
The 'front door' to the house is actually at the side and has a
small, lettered stone tablet to the left:
24 Tavern Street
'R.E & S.C
Nov. 12. 1880'
This very specific date is
unusual to be set in stone on a house,
although a single day does also appear on Primrose
Terrace plaque in Ranelagh Road. And do the initials refer to a
company, or individuals who first lived in the house, or the builder?
Below: the 1867 detail turned red and overlaid over the current
view – not an exact fit, but close enough.
1867 detail Comparison
It seems most likely that the angle of no. 35 was determined by
the angle at which the now-disappeared York Road entered Warwick Road.
(Incidentally, the present occupant points out that north of no.
35, the next house is numbered 39; see his update at the bottom of this
Taking the angle from no. 35 Warwick Road and drawing it back
westwards to the 1970s houses (nos. 48-50), which are set back from the
Victorian building line in Palmerston Road, shown as a pale line on
the aerial view, seems to confirms this theory. The
building on the east corner of Palmerston Road is 170 Woodbridge Road,
marked on maps here as 'Rywick Lodge'[?], but Bettley: Suffolk- East Pevsner
(see Reading List) lists it as a red
white brick Italianate villa, 'The Casino', built for himself by the
architect of the Custom House on the
Wet Dock, J.M. Clark, in 1845-6 (scroll down for information). It seems
that the actions of a later
owner of the garden of The Casino, A. S. Vanden Bergh, had an important
effect on the developement of housing to the south – see the F.L.S.
By the 1883 map (above) 'York Road' is not shown, but a boundary
between Palmerston and Warwick Roads follows the same (or similar) line
down to No.
35. Upton Lodge can be seen, angled parallel to
Woodbridge Road, north of No. 35. One does begin to
wonder if York Road was planned, but never actually built.
The Freehold Land Society's role
Some welcome input from the Ipswich Building Society (formerly F.L.S.) archivist, Margaret Hancock:
'Yes you're right about FLS connection with York Road (the one off
Warwick Road!) It's shown on the 1866 FLS St Helens Estate Plan (Ref:
There are also at least 2 bundles of deeds etc at RO relating to FLS
purchase of St Helen's land (Refs: GF419/FLS1849/3/2/2 &
GF419/FLS1849/3/2/101). If my memory serves me correctly one of these
includes some correspondence with other owners of land/houses on the
Woodbridge Road side of the estate who were not keen to see York Road
developed in the same way as Lancaster Road on the south side of the
FLS plot. I think the name Vanden Bergh comes up somewhere.'
'We are pleased to provide the attached image of our 1866 plan as
requested and would be happy for you to use it on your website if you
Apologies for the poor quality image which is largely due to damage to
the original plan. [Interesting that
the name given to today's Warwick Road on the plan is 'Water Lane',
suggesting that the springs in Albion Hill fed flows of water down to
Spring Road towards Major's Corner, via The Wash to the river.]
I’ve also attached our Palmerston Road Estate 1880
(GF419/FLS1849/3/1/1/37) in case this is also relevant to your
investigations into 35 Warwick Road. [We
had hoped that the name of the F.L.S. ballot-winner to occupy – or sell
on – the plot(s) on Warwick Road might match the initials on the plaque
on number 35; although difficult to read, nothing seems to match.]
And finally, on checking the Freehold Land Society database I’ve found
the reference that I vaguely remembered. This is in an Abstract of
Title to freehold land in St Helens 1865 – 1878 (Ref:
The following extracted description may be of interest – “All those
three plots of land & heredits together with rights over roads
& passages Except the road called York Road and the two passages
leading therefrom from which Road & passages were sometime since
purchased by A S Vandenbergh & closed” (1872)
We are very grateful to the Ipswich Building Society for
permission to include these conclusive maps.
Placing the 1880 detail ('The Palmerston Road Estate' – in blue)
over the 'St Helens Estate' plan shows a number of variations in the
perimeter of this modestly-sized plot. However, the angle at the
passageway between plots 14 and 15 (in blue, which can still be seen as
the driveway of number 35) matches that of the proposed York Road. It
would appear that in 1880 additional plots (12 and 13) were planned. It
is possible that 13 and 14 were purchased and no. 35 Warwick Road built
on them, as the house is bigger. The central area (F.L.S.
ballot-winner, C.W. Hick) remained undeveloped until Upton Place was
built, probably in the 1960s.
Time for some research into the occupants of number 35...
‘RE & SC, Nov. 12. 1880’ at 35
White’s Suffolk Directory 1855
35 Warwick Road - Gower, Thos. Foote (soap manufacturers)
no number - Weetman, Mrs Mary Tollemache [this would be Upton Lodge' in
the same orientation as today's 2-4 Upton Place, but slightly to the
north of it.]
- Woodbridge Road -
[NOTE: in White’s Suffolk Directory
1855, entry for -SOAP MANUFACTURERS -
Gower & Hunt, Friars Road
also, ‘York Road’ not listed
Stevens Directory of Ipswich 1881
No numbers after 1-4 [this suggests that these four small terraced
cottages close to the Spring Road junction on the west side were
initially numbered 1-4, the numeration being divided odds/evens at a
later date], but from Lancaster Road northwards:
Frier, W., coal merchant. Derwent House
Furlong, Thos., Magdalla Villa
Durrell, Joseph, Magdalla Villa
Clements, Thomas, Talmash
- Woodbridge Road -
Stevens Directory of Ipswich 1885
As above, but with
Weetman, Mrs, Upton Lodge
Stevens Directory of Ipswich 1894
35 Warwick Road - Gower, Thomas Foote, Chestnut House
Kelly’s Directory of Ipswich 1906
35 Warwick Road - Gower, Thos. Foote
Simmonds, Frank, hairdresser
Kelly’s Directory of Ipswich 1909
35 Warwick Road - Gower, Thomas Foote
Bantoft, Guy Cyril, Upton Lodge
Simmonds, Frank, hairdresser
As above, but
Culf, H.B., hairdresser replaces Simmonds, Frank
As above, but
Culf, H.B., hairdresser is at number 53
[NOTE: number 53 is the address of the lower/corner building which, up
to the 1980s, was the premises of Capelli hair designs; they moved
round into larger premises at no. 206 Woodbridge Road – still there in
Wartime bomb damage?
There is a story that bomb damage during World War II wiped out
several houses around today's Upton Place, hence the need for the
modern infills. One piece of evidence which may support this is that
there is no number 37 in the street. In the book Ipswich:
the war years (see Reading list),
Cyril Garnham of Harkstead recalls:
"I lived in Harmony Square until 1943
with my parents and two brothers, Peter and Arthur.
Enemy aircraft were frequently over the town and broken nights sleep
were a feature of daily life. On the night of August 25, 1942 the
raiders were met by particularly heavy anti-aircraft fire which almost
certainly forced one of the planes to drop two 500kg high explosive
bombs. The first of these fell in the wooded grounds of Derby Lodge
[shown in green on the 1883 map on our Belle
Vue Road page and the site of today's North Hill Gardens],
next to the Duke of York public house at the junction of Woodbridge
Road and Warwick Road. The bomb failed to explode and was removed from
beneath a beech tree by a bomb disposal unit some five days later.
The second bomb punctured the rear roof of the nearby Mission Rooms
[in Harmony Square] and passed through the building and out through the
ground floor window, where it buried itself in the soft earth.At the
time, my parents, my brother and I, together with an elderly neighbour,
were bundled together in a Morrison shelter , which occupied almost the
whole of the front room!
After waiting for the debris and dust to settle and on the assumption
that the bomb had exploded we ventured out, together with the
neighbours, to provide any assistance necessary to the occupants of the
To our amazement an elderly couple – a Boer War veteran and a lady who
was deaf and dumb, were sleeping downstairs, had a miraculous escape
and were unhurt. The bomb must have passed immediately over them.
Having found out that there was nobody injured, neighbours returned to
their homes only to be only to be advised by the police and air raid
wardens to evacuate our homes shortly afterwards, we had been standing
on an unexploded bomb!
We were taken to a large house on Woodbridge Road prior to being taken
by bus to Holywells Park mansion, which was used as a rest centre. We
stayed the night and the next day found temporary accomodation with
friends. Eventually on August 30 we returned home and I recall the
defused bomb being rolled away before being taken away in a lorry for
disposal. Fortunately the bomb had caused no casualties and limited
damage to property – several houses had previously been been damaged
when the mine exploded in Cemetery Road in September 1940.
Tragically on the same night as the above incident, a house at the
junction of Nacton Road and Lindbergh Road was demolished by a bomb
that killed a mother and eight children – such is the luck of the draw
The 'square' consisted of two mews of small terraced houses standing
opposite each other and separated by thin front gardens and an unmade
area, used by children as a play area. At one end of the square stood a
large building occupied by Whitfield King Stamp Company which had
access from Lacey Street and at the other end and backing on to the
houses on Woodbridge Road stood the Mission Rooms – a two-storey
building providing accomodation for the elderly. Harmony Square no
longer exists – it was demolished in the late 1950s and is now the site
of old people's accomodation, Hanover Court."
Another story is that in 1880 no. 35 was built as a parsonage for St
Helen's Church. However, we see from the map on our Palmerston Road page that a large house
labelled clearly 'Rectory' once stood north of St Helen's Church,
fronting Woodbridge Road – the space which is now the entrance to St
Helen's Primary School. Presumably, the church would not have needed a
parsonage. In addition, a rectory is used for
administrative purposes (often also as lodgings for visiting church
officials) and is traditionally built close to the church to which it
is associated. See the
point 1 in the Update below.
Our money was on the characters on the tablet: ‘R.E.
& S.C. / Nov. 12. 1880’ being the 'signature' of the house's
builders, but the following update presents a persuasive alternative
[UPDATE 4.12.2016: "Hello
Borin, Thank you for the note you popped through the door. And
the research work you’ve done on your website. I have a couple of
snippets of info which might be helpful.
1 – 35 did used to be a parsonage. St Edmundsbury
Diocese. But they bought no 35 in 1982, so it was not a purpose
built parsonage / rectory. But it has been a parsonage for a
2 – The names on the stone, “RE and SC”. I have a
theory. I think they actually say “RE & SG” but the stonework
has become indistinct over time. Why? In 1880 the land no.
35 stands upon was sold as a plot, implying any previous building was
pulled down by then. It was sold to a Richard E Gower. If
he had a wife / son / other family member then this would make sense:
If I paid to have a house built, I’d want my name on the plaque.
I’ve also heard a theory about the missing no. 37: Originally the
plot was going to have two houses built upon it. The numbering of
neighbouring houses took this plan into account. Then the plan
changed and a bigger single house was built.
I hope these snippets help you. Jeremy Foster"
Many thanks to Jeremy for his additions/correction; the initials for
Gower seem to match the occupant listed above (Thomas Foote Gower, soap
manufacturer) – perhaps he was the son of Richard E. Gower, mentioned
by Jeremy. We had wonderd if the erosion of the stone plaque might have
made a 'G' look like a 'C'.]
The house, now divided into flats during clearance of the car park and
possible interior works in 2018. Around 1980 it acted as the
headquarters of St John Ambulance.
"The Casino, a hitherto unsuspected work by [John Medland] Clark,
designed, built and used by him as his residence in 1845 and 1846,
still exists today, now known as 170 Woodbridge Road, standing as then
'on an eminence ... within ten minutes walk of the centre of the
flourishing and rapidly increasing town of Ipswich’. The 'unrivalled
views of the picturesque Orwell' which it had then, have unfortunately
been obscured. Correlation of evidence from many sources leads us
through its change of name from The Casino, to James Cottage, to
Rhynwick Lodge, to plain 170 Woodbridge Road, and though some
structural alterations and additions have been made in the intervening
years, it is still very much the house that Clark designed —the
polychromy of white and red brick, the Tuscan style of overhanging
eaves, used to such effect on the Custom
House, the turret, reflecting the campanile on that same building."
Medland Clark 1813-1849 'Sometime Architect of Ipswich' by Ruth
Serjeant, The Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History reserch
paper. Volume XXXVII, part 3 (1991)]
Ruth Serjeant's article continues: "Clark's work runs the gamut
of all these influences and trends — Neo-Classicism and Jacobean in the
Christ's Hospital School;
both 'constructional' and 'flat' in the Custom
House, with a combination of styles here from Tuscan classical,
French Revolutionary, to domestic villa architecture in the Italian
style. He reproduced, on a much smaller scale, these particular themes
and variations on the facade we can see today over Dixon's photographic
shop at 24 Tavern Street, which is the 'Mr Meadows' shop' referred to
in his obituary. The Meadows business of ironmongery and furnishing
moved to its new premises at this address in 1844. To advertise an
enlargement to the shop area twenty years later, an engraving of the
facade was printed. It is readily identifiable; little has changed.
What was so novel with this little building, as with the Custom House,
was the marrying of the polychromy technique with an essentially
Classical or Neo-Classical style. Hitherto, such buildings in East
Anglia, as in London, had been built in 'white' brick, used, strictly
speaking, as a substitute for the more expensive white stone. Red brick
was considered unsuitable and even 'common' for such styles. But here
we have, quite early in its conception, the technique of using red
brick, executed in an extremely pleasing and decorative way."
Clark died there at the early age of thirty-six,
and yet he seems, in only nine years of residence, to have made an
important and fresh impact on Ipswich.
See also Tooley's and Smart's
Almshouses for more J.M. Clark designs.
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