Elliott Street Bakery

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Street nameplates
66A / 66B Gibbons Street (probably originally 66 Elliott Street –doorway now bricked up)
Elliott Street is one of the modest streets of small terraced houses which survive between Handford Road and London Road. The importance of the neighbourhood bakery in times past is symbolised by the sign at the corner with Gibbons Street. The corner shop doorway and the shop window to the right would welcome customers; both of these have been bricked in; it is not certain whether the upstairs window would have been bricked in when the bakery was in operation.

  Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Street Bakery 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Street Bakery 12001 images  
This remarkable survivor is one of the finest examples of trade lettering we have found in Ipswich. Time has caused the layers of paint to weather and the bold block capitals in black with a cream coloured drop shadow (close inspection reveals that this element was originally yellow), plus date:
Est. 1907'
can now be seen floating on earlier cursive lettering, minus the date (this effect is known as a palimpsest – see our page Background information on ghost signs). All this on a traditional cream-white painted cartouche. The signwriter of the original lettering certainly left a more personal touch. The serpentine cross on the double-'t', the flourish underlining 'Elliott' springing from the final 't', the unusual flourish from the top of the capital 'S' of 'St', the uncomfortable inter-character spacing of the first two serif'd capitals of 'BAKERY' and two curly underlines running behind the later date at the bottom.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Street Bakery 2014   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Street Bakery 20142014 images
[UPDATE 23.1.2023: The drain cover visible in the gutter of Gibbons Street (above) bears a foundry mark and is shown on our Railings page in a section on Cocksedge & Co.]

The naming of the street
Borin Van Loon gave a talk on this website project to the annual Recorders' Day in October, 2004 organised by Suffolk Local History Council which exists to encourage, promote and assist the study and research of local history in the county of Suffolk. An audience member said that she recalled regular visits to the bakery in Elliott Street when she was young and lived in the area. The name of the street is said to commemorate a slavery abolitionist as does Gibbons Street; h
owever, the spelling of 'Eliot' differs. See that page for an 1867 map of the area.

Chris Rudland wites: "My Nan has recently shown me a photograph of my Great Grandfather in full WWI uniform sat on a horse outside his shop Rudland & Sons, Elliott Street Stores.  There are signs up advertising Bovril and Soap amongst others and a prominent sign showing our family name and Elliott Street Stores.  It is on a corner and looks remarkably similar to the Bakery.  There is a woman shop worker and 2 small children in the doorway in the photo but we do not know who they are.
So far my limited Google searches have not come up with anything apart from the picture of the bakery on your website.  I believe that this Bakery once was my Great Grandfather's shop.  We don't know the date range when he was owner of it but we know he served in WWI and the last use of the shop must have been as a Bakery as the lettering is still on the wall dated 1907.
So its safe to assume he owned it up until 1907."

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Street Bakery 20192019 image   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Street Bakery 20222022 image
By 2019 weathering has had its inevitable effect on the painted surface. By 2022 the sign does not appear to have suffered further. Perhaps we should draw from this that historic trade signs are best left alone to weather gracefully, away from human hand. Despite the radical changes wrought on the old shop: door bricked in, windows and doors inserted, this piece of Ipswich history holds its own.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Street Bakery 20222022 images

Below: the only building in the street named by a tablet set into the brickwork:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Elliott Terrace 2022
This is sited above the alleway between nos. 33 and 35 Elliott Street.

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2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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