Felixstowe

146 Hamilton Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrews 8 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrews 72012 images
Here we are opposite 150 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk, travelling towards the seafront and just past the old railway station. The enlargement above gives a hint of the lettered walls ahead with the slanting word 'GARAGE'. (Scarborough has a similar very oblique Garage sign.) The star of the show is visible in the distance ...
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrews 6 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrews 5
... but before that we look back at the obverse wall to the 'Garage' lettering above:
'HASTE & SONS.
GARAGE'
where the name curves and fits nicely over the company's role.

136 Hamilton Road
Facing the 'Haste & Sons Garage' sign is one of the finest painted lettering advertisements in Suffolk on the side wall of 136 Hamilton Road.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrews 1 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrews 2Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrews 4  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Andrews 9
'E.F. ANDREWS,
DECORATOR,
PLUMBER & SANITARY ENGINEER,
BUILDING & GENERAL REPAIRS.
RATHBONE FURNISHING STORES.'

Compare the use of the comma to the full stop after 'Haste & Sons' (above). The firm's name curves over in a beautiful arc to fill the shouldered wall. Below it in descending order of size, importance - yet increasing complexity - are the services offered with the last line enclosed by chequerboard rules created by painting alternate bricks in the wall, the rather fine large and small caps:
'RATHBONE FURNISHING STORES'
Unfortunately, since we first photographed this wall intrusive ventilation outlets and cabling now interfere with the lettering. All the above photographs but the last were taken in November 2011. See the enhanced image, the last in the sequence, which shows the 'before' state. Incidentally, curious about the meaning of this last feature of E.F. Andrews' business, an internet search (November 2011)  reveals that there is a Rathbone Furniture shop in Barking Road, London Borough of Newham, although it's not clear if it related to the Felixstowe premises in the past.

So, copious punctuation for a busy company, but how did the signwriters do it? The flat roofs of the shops next door, if they existed,  must have helped with erection of scaffolding, but presumably a foolscap paper layout was transferred to the large vertical wall by drawing it out on the brick surface. Imagine trying to draw the circle at the top, let alone evenly space out the characters which sit on it. One can only admire the craftsmanship. All the above firms have long since ceased trading, but their lettering remains.  In terms of preservation and quality, this wall compares favourably with the 'W.B. Kerridge - Tailor' sign in Ipswich.

28 Hamilton Road
In the main shopping area of Hamilton Road is a mosaic shop doorstep at number 28.
'MAYPOLE'
taken on a dark, wet November afternoon. This bears a striking resemblance to a Maypole doorstep in Ludlow, Shropshire. A description about that lettering: "Remember them well in the 60s: supermarkets under the Lipton banner. They had meat counters for the first time & some of my friends at Dewhurst left & worked for them & were fast tracked to Area managers, They didn't have centralised buying in those days & were buying from the same suppliers as ourselves & with the cost of packaging & no small goods made in-house, They could only compete on convenience & cleanliness, But as they upped their game, supermarkets won the day."
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Maypole 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Maypole 22012 images
This 1910 postcard shows the Maypole Dairy branch in Tavern Street, Ipswich; they also had a branch in St Matthew's Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Maypole period

29 Hamilton Road
/corner with Orwell Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe lion moulding 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe lion moulding 22018 images
Above the first floor windows of this corner building are two lions which stand holding shields bearing the date:
'18
87'

13-15 Hamilton Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Suffolk Hse 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Suffolk Hse 22014 images
Above: the prominently-named:
'SUFFOLK HOUSE'
which seems to apply to the two properties on either side of the Greyfriars shop. Why 'Suffolk House'?

33 Hamilton Road, LloydsBank
Below: the large 'BANK' lettering above the corner door.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Bank2012 images
The architect Thomas W Cotman (1847-1925), who lived in Felixstowe, designed many of the most famous buildings in Felixstowe including Harvest House (originally The Felix Hotel), the Orwell and Bath Hotels (the latter burnt down by suffragettes), Barclays and Lloyds Banks plus many others. He also designed and lived in the original bungalow that forms the lower two floors of Cotman House care home.
Some sources attribute the railway station to Cotman, although the Felixstowe Branch Line page quotes the Grade II Listing text: 'by J. Wilson and W. W. Ashbee, (Chief Engineer and Architect of Great Eastern Railway)'. Thomas W Cotman was the nephew of John Sell Cotman, the famous Norwich water-colour artist. Several notable buildings by Cotman can be found in Ipswich including 40-42 Museum Street, The Crown & Anchor Hotel, Parr's Bank and Lloyds banking house on the Cornhill.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Bank2018 view of the whole building
The 'crow-steps' of the gables are a striking feature.

Cobbold Road Orwell Road
[UPDATE 28.8.2019: 'Looking down today, rather than up, I noticed this pavement outside the Polish Shop in Cobbold Road Felixstowe. If it’s of any interest to you I will return to site with kitchen steps and a wider angle lens to get a better shot for your website. Still remember fondly your talk to our
club [Felixstowe Photographic Society] in January, so keep looking up, and down! Chris Carne. Many thanks to Chris for sending this example of old lettering in tile, set into concrete reading: ‘STA . LIGHT’, rather puzzlingly.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe 'Sta. Light' 1
The composite image above gives an impression of the lettering.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe 'Sta. Light' 22019 images
[UPDATE: 29.9.21: At Borin's talk to The Felixstowe Society, an attendee told him that this was the Satr Light Video shop, so the 'full stop' is in fact the remnant of an 'R'. Also, it's in Orwell Road, not Cobbold Road.]

25-31 Ranelagh Road ('The Grosvenor Hotel')
This road runs at right-angles to the cliffs past the car park to this point. One of only a handful of 'real' public houses in Felixstowe, historically the building is over 100 years old and until the 1960s was an hotel.  The lettering panel high on the side wall clearly shows the word 'STORES' on the bottom line, so it can be assumed that at least the tallest part of The Grosvenor was once a shop. Does anyone know what the rest of the sign read?
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Stores 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Stores 2
[UPDATE 14.1.2019: 'Dear Borin, I have just discovered your website by chance, and can give you some info concerning 'The Grosvenor', in Ranelagh Rd, Felixstowe.
This pub was owned by my Grandfather, H. T. Ablett. My mother was born there, and we spent our summer holidays there for many years. I was born in 1948 and can remember being there when very young, so though I understand it had been a hotel in the past it was no longer so in the early fifties.
The ground floor of the tallest part of the pub, on the left, was the off licence, so I would imagine the 'STORE' sign on the wall referred to this. The rest of the building, the two lower sections, was devoted to the Private Bar, the Public Bar and the Billiard Room. The two upper floors were purely family rooms. I hope this info is of some use to you. Regards, Jon Crowley.' Many thanks to Jon for this invaluable link to the past and this building's ghost sign.]
Because it was once an off-licence, one imagines that the sign might have proclaimed: 'Ales, Wines & Spirits Stores', or similar. The marvellous Suffolk CAMRA website (see Links) suggests that the Grosvenor first obtained its licence in 1878.
See also 97 Undercliff Road West (below) for a 'Wine Stores' run by H.T. Ablett, presumably the same gentleman, Jon's grandfather. Interesting synchrony of the word 'Stores'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grosvenor Hotel Felixstowe2018 image
[UPDATE 13.8.2019: 'Hello Borin, I attach a couple of photos which may be of interest to you. My great grandfather was Harry George Jacques Porter. According to his obituary he came to Felixstowe in 1911 and entered into a partnership with Mr W.M. Cuckow (the son of the Edwin on the sign?). The relationship was severed when Mr Cuckow resigned and he formed a partnership with his former manager Mr H.T. Ablett. I am not sure how long he ran the hotel for but he was the president of the Woodbridge and District Licenced Victuallers Association for 10 years. My great aunts were raised at the hotel. I live in Australia and am flying to the UK tonight for a visit, I plan to drop in to the hotel sometime on my travels! Regards, Trevor Darge.' Many thanks to Trevor for sending the information and the remarkable photographs. The close-up below shows the 'Edwin Cuckow & Son' sign sitting rather uncomfortably across the chimey breasts.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grosvenor Hotel FelixstowePhotos courtesy Trevor Darge
Trevor's excellent photograph shows the hotel  – with its three distinct but linked buildings – around 1900, perhaps. The gas street lamp obviously helped peolple find their way to and from the hotel in the dark, particulalry when it was paired with the impressive gas lamp which projects out from below the centre ball finial; today this is replaced by a hanging pub sign. The very decorative wrought ironwork above the projecting ground floor sections were removed at some time.
From the left: the Wine Stores advertise 'Edwin Cuckow & Son' above the shopfront and above, a projecting sign between first and second floors reading 'HOTEL GROSVENOR HOTEL'; the blind window on the third storey reads 'THE GROSVENOR STORES'. The cartouche on side of the three storey building states: 'The GROSVENOR' in decorative characters on a curve, but seems to be crying out for the word 'Hotel' beneath it. We thought that we could make out faint lettering on the huge signboard at roof level above the hotel canopy.
It sheds light on the signs which changed over time. Above the frosted glass on either side of the handsome entrance canopy: 'WINES, SPIRITS & ALES OF QUALITY ... Restaurant'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grosvenor Hotel Felixstowe   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grosvenor Hotel FelixstoweHarry George Jacques Porter
Doing a check on the web, we found another period photograph of the Grosvenor pre-1923 on the excellent Suffolk CAMRA website (see Links).
Below: pre-1923, the cartouche on the three storey building now reads 'WINE STORES' and the large signboard at right 'The GROSVENOR' in huge characters. The gas street lamp has gone; the projecting lamp has been simplified (perhaps electrified).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Grosvenor Hotel Felixstowe

Further down Ranelagh Road is:
'RANELAGH
HALL'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ranelagh Hall
Incidentally, the name Ranelagh is also, of course, applied to the road in Ipswich which links London Road with Burrell Road (outside the station see our named and dated buildings page). The name comes from the Earls of Ranelagh in Ireland. The locality on the south side of Dublin became known as Ranelagh when a popular entertainment venue (now a public park) was established about 1770, and named Ranelagh Gardens after a similar venture of the same name in Chelsea, London. The model and the name were also copied in other cities, including Liverpool, New York and Paris. The original Ranelagh Gardens in Chelsea was built on the site of Ranelagh House, the London home of the Jones family, who took their title (Earls of Ranelagh) from lands in County Wicklow that had belonged to Fiach McHugh O'Byrne sometimes described as Lord Ranelagh, because he was head of the Gabhal Ragnaill branch of the O'Byrne clan.

97-99 Undercliff Road West
Meanwhile, down on the seafront, some remedial work to 97 Undercliff Road West in Spring 2001 revealed the former use of this building.
2001 images
'H.T.ABLETT'
flanked by the words
'Wine' and 'Stores'
show this small shop to have been an off-licence in years gone by. An interesting site for such retail premises; one wonders how much trade was garnered from the passing holidaymakers ...

The Fludyers Arms
The Fludyers (usually prounced "Fludgers") Arms lettering further up Felixstowe undercliff.
Historic signs: Felixstowe2009 images

Notably, the painted characters recessed/painted above the ground floor window state the singular:
'FLUDYER ARMS'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Fludyers Arms
Here is an extract from their website (closed 2012):
"The Fludyer name comes from Sir Samuel Fludyer – grandson of the presumably more  famous Sir Samuel Fludyer (1705-1768) - who was Lord Mayor of London in 1760. The grandson died in 1833 and is buried with his wife locally. The original Fludyer (or Fludyers?) Arms is a wooden building dating from at least 1884. The current brick building was built in 1903 and both brick and timber buildings obviously co-existed alongside each other for a time.
A stable block, which is now part of the hotel as a garage / storage area was built behind the wooden structure." This has a similar glazed extension to the pub and is now signed: 'Cotman Hall...  Mrs Simpson's... Tea Rooms'.
Flexistowe: Fludyers Arms old
A paperback book published in 1969, called "Inns of the Suffolk Coast" by Leonard P. Thompson contains the following extract:
The Fludyer Hotel, Felixstowe. There was a small, wooden building on the beach known as Smith's after the name of the proprietor, William Smith. It was the original Fludyer's Arms and also Felixstowe's Post Office. Gradually the sea encroached and for several years it stood within a few feet of high tide. The Hotel of today was built in 1903. [Source: Suffolk CAMRA; see Links.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Fludyers Arms   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Fludyers Arms
2018 images

By 2018 the seafront superstructure has gone, the windows replaced and repaired and we can get a look at the terra cotta panels set high in the Dutch gable-ends. It may be the salt air, but they are very discoloured – the enhanced view below reveals:

'BUILT ...   AD   ...   19...04'
We see similar motifs of overlaid characters of 'Built' and 'AD' on buildings in Ipswich on the Co-op stores in Cauldwell Hall Road (1896) and Surbiton Road (1904), Castle Hill Community Centre (1893) and Morpeth House (1893): also a terra cotta house fascade on Aldeburgh's seafront (1898), Sudbury's Masonic Hall (1886).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felixstowe Fludyers Arms


Sea Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felistowe Sea Road 62018 images
'FELIX COURT' from Cavendish Road
rear of the Felsto Arms, 11 Sea Road

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felistowe Sea Road 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felistowe Sea Road 4
‘MARLBOROUGH.’ from Russelle Road (left) and
Beach Road West (right)
rear of the Marlborough Hotel, Sea Road.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felistowe Sea Road 1
Note the obliterated signs on frontage beneath dormer windows: ‘RESTAURANT’, ‘HOTEL’, ‘BAR’.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felistowe Sea Road 2

'TINTERN.' from Russell Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felistowe Sea Road 5   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felistowe Sea Road 9
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‘TINTERN.
BOARD & RESIDENCE’
A real 'ghost sign', partially obliterated by the later lean-to extension. When taking this photograph in the February rain, an elderly gentleman drew up in his car and told us what the actual wording had been and we forgot the last, barely visible word. However, a light-bulb moment and it must, we think, be 'RESIDENCE'. The word 'TINTERN' (the village of Tintern – and famous abbey of the same name – is in Monmouthshire, on the Welsh bank of the River Wye) is shown in much-weathered, large capitals with full-stop; the following words are in condensed caps. The sign can be found on Russell Road, Felixstowe (to the rear of Russell House, 14 Sea Road).

'DAIRY' from [?]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Felistowe Sea Road 7
'DAIRY'
on the rear elevation of a house fronting onto Cavendish Road[?] Needs checking.

Felixstowe Ferry, The Ferry Boat Inn

Further away from the town centre, we eventually come to Old Felixstowe,  its shoreline, marina and ferry over the Deben to Bawdsey (with its curious manor and curiouser history). The Ferry Boat Inn was one of two pubs in Old Felixstowe (the nearby Victoria, built 1844, closed in 2010).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Felistowe Ferry Boat 1 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Felistowe Ferry Boat 2 Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Felistowe Ferry Boat 32011 images
Here's another surviving example of the "Tolly Cobbold capitals" found on The Emperor in Norwich Road, The Globe, the Rampant Horse in Needham Market,
Hadleigh, Manningtree and on Off licences in Ipswich. The two 'FERRY BOAT INN' signs are picked out in red, perhaps to match the lifebelt mounted on the gable end, while the 'TOLLY COBBOLD' letters above the awning are painted white. This is quite common where the relief lettering still survives on buildings, reflecting the fact that the Ipswich brewery company has not owned tied houses for decades.
'A report in the Ipswich Journal on 9 July, 1842 states that a capital brewery in Ipswich with residence & inn attached and several well accustomed public houses to be sold at auction by Robert Garrod including the Bawdsey Ferry inn, in Felixstowe with cottages adjoining. In 1879 and 1888 listed at Bawdsey, Felixstowe. Bawdsey Ferry Inn is an earlier name for Felixstowe Ferry.' It is said that that this inn dates back to the 15th century. (Information from the Suffolk CAMRA website; see Links.)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Felistowe Ferry Boat 7   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Felistowe Ferry Boat 52014 images
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Old Felistowe Ferry Boat 6




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