'Try Woottons Cure For Corns', Camden Road
47 Camden Road
Just when we think we've covered all the trade signs in Ipswich,
Morvyn Finch gets in touch in March 2020. 'Walking down Camden Road, I
spotted this on side of a house. I wasn't able to take photo at the
Peeking out from a very narrow alleyway, the passer-by might notice a
'W..' and 'C...' from the pavement.
The scale of the sign is quite a surprise when, with permission,
we got closer. It's still a difficult sign to make out as it spreads
across the whole depth of the side wall.
The photograph below is taken vertically and the shine on the
characters (the once white lettering appears to have been overpainted
in black, which has degraded somewhat) shows 'TRY' near to the apex of
the roof. Although interrupted by the central heating vent, copper
overflow pipe and angled drainpipe, the sign can finally be resolved:
CURE FOR CORNS’
The slightly smaller and central
'FOR' acts as a fulcrum for 'CURE' and 'CORNS' to really emphasise the
function of the product – presumably an ointment with which to annoint
those painful podiatric excrescences. The somewhat pleading 'TRY'
suggests that this was a new preparation when the sign was painted. For
a note about 'Woottons' see point 5 below.
Clearly the sign was a
considerable eye-catcher for those walking northwards up the
residential street that is Camden Road towards Foxhall Chippy and the
Foxhall Road junction with The Heathlands public house (formerly The
Asylum Hotel – as shown on our California page – and now a small
supermarket) across the road. However, this advertisement poses all
sorts of questions:-
- 1. Why site this sign on a small, quiet, residential road
and not on Foxhall Road where it would be seen by far more people?
- 2. Do the residents of Camden Road suffer more from corns
on their feet than others in Ipswich?
- 3. Why are the characters so big? Camden Road runs south
for a about half a mile from Foxhall Road to be truncated by the Ipswich to Felixstowe railway line,
turning left into the short Exeter Road, then northwards again up Dover
Road. It therefore isn't a road which a great many passers-by would
use and, in doing so, would read the sign.
- 4. How long was the sign visible before the next-door
detached house was built, obscuring the sign from view? The plaque on
the terrace reads:
so the advertisement was painted
after that date, presumably with a payment to the residents from
Woottons – or was the first resident Mr Wootton himself? The
residential developments during the Victorian and Edwardian
periods tended to be rather piecemeal in nature; houses or groups of
houses, being erected by different landowners/builders at different
dates. Infilling of plots followed and this is probably what happened
to the sign in Camden Road.
15.1.2024: a gentleman in the audience at one of Borin's talks in
January 2024 posited the dea that Camden Road was a major thoroughfare
for foot traffic from the Derby Road railway station; therefore many
eyes would have seen the advertisement. When we looked at the current
and earlier maps of the area, this didn't appear to be the case. For a
foot passenger walking from the station, a sharp turn off Derby Road
back on Stanley Avenue almost parallel with the railway line would take
them to the southern end of Orwell Road. The land to the east of
this was the industrial site for Bull Motors and Celestion Audio. We
know that there was a market garden on the land to the south of Camden
Road and Dover Road. Moreover, there was a branch freght line from the
main line which looped round to the north to service the foundry/Bull Motors site (see
map detail below dated 1937-1961) – this would cut off public access.
We can't find any evidence of a footpath giving
access to Camden Road from Stanley Avenue, so we cannot see it as a
likely route. If you know better contact us.
- 5. We wonder if there is any relation to Woottons (it's the same spelling) in Tavern Street? The shop was once Woottons
hair-dressers but, judging by the readable lettering above the old
shop, it dealt in products and services revolving around the body.
Perhaps they produced their own patent medicines, including a cure for
Wootton's Remarkable Cure For
[UPDATE 20.4.2021: 'Just read
your interesting article on Wootton’s the hair salon and I notice the
below question was asked re. The Cure for Corns and whether there was a
link. The below pot lid confirms it was retailed by Wootton’s. Simon
Dyer.'] Many thanks to Simon for sending this fascinating piece of
cross-fertilising promotion on a ceramic pot lid. Not only the
extensive extolling of the virtues of their Macassar Pomade: "will
effectually remove dandriff (sic)", but also, around the perimiter:
'SOLE PROPRIETOR OF
WOOTTON'S REMARKABLE CURE FOR CORNS'
courtesy Simon Dyer
Note also the nearby lost trade sign painted on the side wall of
a house on the corner of Foxhall Road and Orwell
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