Lying between Grundisburgh Dog and the old Half Moon public house (now
'Half Moon House') and directly on the junction of the roads to
Clopton and Woodbridge (B1079) and Tuddenham/Ipswich we only recently noticed this
vernacular lettering in 2012.
AND BASKET MAKERS'
enhancement above is an attempt to recreate the original hand-painted
sign. The Suffolk reds have been repointed with grey mortar recently by
the look of it and the process of raking-out of old mortar and the
cleaning up of the bricks has taken its toll. Clearly the tradesman
wanted passers-by to know about his wares. It seems he had a little
trouble with the 'S's with their elongated nose and tilt forward,
Serifs appear here and there for no apparent reason (for example, the
'E' and 'T' in "Basket") and the bar on the 'A' is very high. It would
be interesting to hear how long ago it was that this tradesman shut up
his business leaving this ghostly trace on a wall by a busy 21st
The maps mark this small
building as Workshop Cottage.
[UPDATE 5.7.2021: 'Delighted to
find your photo of the Grundisburgh osier merchant and basket maker on
the internet. My first wife and I lived in Gardener’s Cottage in the
grounds of Grundisburgh House, Grundisburgh, from 1974 until 1975. Our
landlord was Charles Barclay, a farmer who had sold his farm to enjoy
the life of a gentleman and to sail his sailing boat out of Woodbridge.
Suffolk was not yet trendy. At the time we were house hunting and were
amazed how many local people still lived in very poor conditions.
Directly opposite on the other side of the road from Grundisbugh House
was a single storey osier merchant and basket maker run by an elderly
brother and sister who, despite having learning difficulties, were very
skilful basket makers. They spent the day sat on a bare earth floor
surrounded by bundles of willow, hand making baskets to their
customer’s specifications. In the winter they had no heating, just lots
of warm clothes.
The furtherest they had ever been from Grundisburgh in their whole
lives was Felixstowe!
During our short stay we became good customers and must have ordered a
dozen or more baskets from them, still in use today almost 50 years
later. See the example of our trusty log basket below. Best wishes,
David and Sue Richardson, Nottingham.' Excellent to hear from someone who
remembers the basketry workers in action; and remarkable that the sign
is still readable.]
courtesy David & Sue Richardson
[UPDATE 21.1.2014: 'I
saw your website and had to write. As a kid I lived just up the road on
Jaqueline Close from 1974 to 1978. I remember well the basket makers as
I spent time with them just hanging out and chatting with them. I was
about 12 or 13 years old. My family bought several baskets from them to
include a dog bed basket. I remember the lettering from that time as
very clear and distinct. I remember the dirt floor and all the building
materials in the old building. They had a small fire place that
provided heat when it was cold. I think that the brother passed away
first followed a bit later by the sister. I went back in the mid 80s
and saw the place, but it was of course no longer a business. It was
wonderful watching them do their craft and listening to their stories.
They were very nice people. Cheers, Steve Hollis.' Thanks to Steve for sharing these memories
sparked off by a true ghost sign in Grudisburgh – one driven past and
barely noticed by thousands.]
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