Peter's Ice Cream

Rear of 52-54(?) Grimwade Street
A rather blighted area between Grimwade Street and Star Lane (not counting 'Transport House': the UNITE Union offices on the corner) contains the former Portia Engineering works which specialised in wrought iron gates and the old Peter's Ice Cream shop and works.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Peter's 3
The former Peter's Ice Cream shop at 52-58 Grimwade Street in rectliniear 1930s style, boarded up for many years. The strip above the shop door used to display the letters: 'PETERS'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Peter's 1
A view over the fencing at the side. From left: tower of St Clement's Church, Portia Engineering building, in the background flats built behind The Foyer on Star Lane. The single span structure is in a sorry state, but still bears the lettering:

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Peter's 2
Manufacturers of
The Quality Italian ICE CREAM of EAST ANGLIA
Also Carlo's Diabetic Low Calorie Desert Ices
Wholesale     Retail     TEL/FAX. 253265'

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Peter's 5
The Zagni family from Modena in Italy arrived in Ipswich, en route for America; they never left for that leg of their migration. Peter's Ice Cream was founded in 1897 by Maria and Napoleone Zagni in the kitchen of a house in Rope Walk. The company is still operating, but now based at Holly Lodge, London Road (and thence to Needham Market in 2002). These buildings and land in Grimwade Street were sold in 2012. The story of ice cream manufacture here is one of the, perhaps unlikey, trades to emerge from the large area of poor housing in the Rope Walk area known as 'The Potteries' in the later 19th century. The story is told in Grace, F.: Rags & bones (see Reading List).

From the car park beside the UNITE office (Transport House) next door we see:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Peter's 4
with the cursive 'Peter's' plus the word 'ICE' all but weathered away; 'EST. 1897'
[UPDATE summer 2013: the Peter's site is being worked on and it remains to be seen what will happen to the lettered structures.]

[UPDATE 21.12.2013: A watercolour of Upper Orwell Street by W.J. Leggett (1856-1936) – see Links under the 'Painted wall signs' heading – features The Eagle public house (the taller building which still bears the 'Palmer's Door Mats' sign shown on the Martin & Newby page with 'The Eagle' itself signed on a blank window on the first floor). To the left of the pub entrance is a shop bearing the sign:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Peter's Zagni
John Bulow-Osborne writes: "The large building ... was then partly occupied by Signor Zagni, who made and sold ice cream.  He later moved his business just around the corner to Grimwade Street, where its derelict premises may still be seen, as 'Peter's Ice Cream'.]

[UPDATE 21.8.2023: 'I'm so pleased to have found your website I love the pictures and information that you have about our amazing town that gets such an undeserved reputation. I look forward to seeing my picture on the site soon. I am related to Napoleon Zagni – my Grandfather was his brother – and he came over to the UK with them and was called Benigo, but he was known as Ben to his customers. He owned a general store at 99 Fore Hamlet, approximately where the car rental Enterprise office is. He was also apparently the hot chestnut man on the Cornhill maybe before Lloyd's avenue was cut through in the early 1930s? This is a picture of him with his wife Emily Maud Zagni whose father was the steward of the E.A.D.T. social club in Little Colman Street. Sadly, my Dad passed away in 2017 aged 87 and he was the last of the generation that included Carlo. Kind regards, Dominic Zagni.' Thanks to Dominic for the kind words and charming portrait photograph. Dominic also contributed the 'Whitton Crown' electricity sub-station sign which can be seen on our Norwich Road page.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Peter's Zagni portraitImage courtesy Dominic Zagni

See also the article by Lynne Mortimer: Peter’s Ice Cream – an Ipswich favourite on the East Anglian Daily Times website.

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