The changing dock
The black and white photograph was purchased from
the Ipswich Transport
Museum many years ago. The vantage point is from beneath the Doric
of Paul's maltings, next door to the Custom
House. Depicting a wet day with the double track tramway lines curving
away towards Neptune Quay and Cliff Quay, it is not clear when this
taken, but we could
hazard the 1960s. The Paul's Home Warehouse to the left was used as a
makeshift museum during the Maritime Ipswich
Festival of 1982.
Just visible on the elevation facing the water is the lettering:
W PAUL LTD.'
on the corrugated
cladding, which was much later removed and the whole maltings
for Contship Ltd, later Ashton Solicitors. The central
shaft rises out of sight in the 1960s photograph.
Above: the state of the Home Warehouse during the Maritime Ipswich '82
The Isaac Lord
maltings can be seen further down the quay. In the 1980s this quayside
part of the Isaac Lord complex (all of which is of national historical
importance) was opened as The Malt Kiln public house. It was later
'Cobbolds on the Quay' and 'The Vodka Bar' – now, following full
refurbishment, the collection of bars and restaurants is called simply
'Isaacs on the Quay'.
As far as we can see
redbrick warehouse further down the quay (now the Salthouse
Harbour Hotel) doesn't at this time bear
the lettering 'John Good & Sons (G.C.B.) Ltd'.
This may help to date the monochrome photograph more accurately.
A sloping roofed
extension to the John Good warehouse can be seen. At the extreme right
is the Eastern
Counties Farmers high concrete silo; this farming
co-operative established a compound feed mill on the site in 1954. The
University of Suffolk Waterfront building now stands on the site.
Scroll down for a colour photograph from the 1970s.
You can see the
glass and steel version of the Home Warehouse
on the 2004 colour photograph, behind the wheeled crane in the
foreground. Sailing Barge Thistle
is moored in front of the Customs
More detail can be seen on the close-up (below); The
Waterfront Regeneration Scheme resulted in the complete demolition of
the silo beneath which these
photographs were taken; only the columns remained. This is now the area
outside the quayside Pizza Express.
Below: the view from a slightly forward position, omitting the crane.
Below: the view avoiding the obstructions.
Gosh, look – open water in the Wet Dock!
- First, above S.B.
Thistle, we see the glazed rebuild of the Contship building –
overhanging the dock as did its industrial predecessor to facilitate
the loading of malt from shipping.
- The Isaac Lord
buildings (with the gree-painted kiln vent) are visible
above the deck of the floating restaurant then called 'Il Punto'.
- Further down, the redbrick Salthouse
Hotel (formerly John Good warehouse). The
Neptune Pool Club occupied James Whitmore ship chandleryand sail
maker's building beyond this; it was demolished to make way for an
extension to the hotel.
- The 1990s Bellway apartment blocks beyond
('Neptune Square') were the earliest new-build developments to show the
way to an eventual programmed Wet Dock regeneration. They occupied the
site of the old Friary Meux maltings and Mellonie and Goulder's
- The new Neptune Quay block is being built on the
far side of Coprolite
Street; it was constructed on the site of Edward Packard's
artificial fertiliser factory built in the 1850s. The gap between the
Bellway and Neptune Marina blocks awaits the new Suffolk University
building (completed 2008). At one time Neptune Quay was known as Ding
Quay and was one of the earliest recorded shipbuilding sites in the
country and there are records of a galley being built here for Edward I
- At the far right one would see the edge of the
James Hehir Building of the university which today embodies the Cult
- The space in between, once occupied by the
Ransomes Sims & Rapier Orwell
engineering works, remains in 2021 as an undeveloped area used as a
Above: in 2019 the S.B. Thistle
moored on Common Quay (in the same position as the 2004 views). S.B. Victor usually moors to the
left of this. The 20mph speed limit sign is in the same place, but
turned through 90 degrees since traffic was excluded from driving down
from the Foundry Lane junction. The block overhanging the quay at the
right was built as part of the Waterfront Regeneration (from 2005) and
illustrates the retention and reuse of the cast iron columns.
Above: this instructive colour photograph of Neptune Quay comes from
the Image Archive of The Ipswich Society (see Links).
Part of Cranfields fleet of lighter
barges are lying light alongside Wherry Quay. The large grey silo in
the background was owned by Eastern Counties Farmers Co-op. On the
right are the pitched roofs of Edward Packard's artificial fertiliser
works. These have been replaced by University campus Suffolk and
Neptune Marina respectively.
This fine photographic postcard came from the extensive collection of
Leonard Woolf found on the IMT's Image Archive (see Links). Working from the left to right we can
discern the lettering:-
Paul's Home Warehouse – ’R.&W. PAUL
The Wherry Inn – ’COBBOLD’S BEERS’, [on
side wall; pub lettering on facade unclear]; Isaac
Lord is just visible,
John Good building – ’GEORGE MASON
(IPSWICH) LTD.’ [probably, unclear],
‘MEUX’S BREWERY CO. LTD.’,
The Pilot Inn – ’TOLLEMACHE’ ALES & STOUT’;
’THE PILOT INN’,
‘FINE…’ [partial on side wall].
On the rail truck:
‘ … & CO.’ [unclear]
On the barge stern:
‘KISMET … LONDON
F.J.W. Goldsmith … 46’
The uncredited photographer stood on the edge of the quay as it started
the right-angle curve southwards at Neptune Quay. The view is looking
The Pilot Inn opened before 1844 and closed
between 1880 and 1904; it
was demolished in the 1930s.
The dock tramway is in full use at this time. It
seems that trains of
trucks were left here for a period (note the trucks running in front of
The Wherry Inn), presumably to be filled/emptied by the various
businesses. When this was the case, the tramway running onto the island
and round to cross the river at the lock was the better way of taking
trucks to and from Cliff Quay. Wlaking down the quays would have been a
very different experience to today, when lines of trucks would form a
barrier betwen the water and the warehouses.
The Wherry Inn
The Wherry Inn gave the name to Wherry Lane
(just beyond it in the postcard view); the
inn opened in 1826 and closed c.1938. Here is a detail of the facade
around 1890; later lettering appeared above and below the first floor
'FINE ALES WHERRY
... INN BEERS & STOUT'
Interesting inter-word spacing...
This building was eventually replaced by another in the twenty-first
century, to act as part of the 'Isaacs on the Quay' bar and restaurant
complex. The 'Wherry' name is preserved by the lane which runs away
from the quayside here.
This detail was photographed from the Window
on the Wet Dock run by the Ipswich Maritime Trust (see Links) in February 2021. The Wherry Inn was
still in business in 1932 but in Kelly's
Directory shows it as a sack and bag merchant in 1939. This
photograph must therefore be post-1939. We see Christie's warehouse at
the left, Wherry Lane, the end-on Isaac Lord building, the forme Wherry
Inn which at this time bears the sign on the upper strip:
'BROWN'S SACK & BAG WORKS'
The building on the right, close up to the former inn,
is the Isaac Lord maltings with its roof vent clearly seen. The 'ISAAC
LORD' lettering on the gable seen in the full view (above) is still to
be seen today. The tower of the Church of St Clement is behind that.
The building to the right of Wherry Lane: the small 'ISAAC LORD'
lettering can be made out on either side of the second storey loading
doors – this sign was still just visible and readable when we took the
first photographs of the building in 2000, shown on our Isaac Lord page. The tall chimney and high
roofline behind that building is the Ransome's lawn mower works, which
in modern times was converted into The Forum accommodation building
(now without the chimney) in Star Lane.
The Question Mark
Burton Son & Sanders / Paul's
Ground-level dockside furniture
island', the northern quays
John Good and Sons
New Cut East
R&W Paul malting
Wet Dock 1970s with 2004
Wet Dock maps
illustration of the laying of the Wet Dock lock foundation stone,
the Wet Dock
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Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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