It was such a lovely treat to find this hand drawn map inside a letter from Jim. How fun it would have been if he had sent maps with each letter? The one pictured above is from an area referenced in this letter Tower Ramparts, where he and Alice Pinborough lived. However, I have yet to find an address for Alice on Tower Rampart. Perhaps she lived there briefly after her 1894 marriage or on a street that intersected Tower Rampart? According to the 1890 census, Jim lived at 69 Tower Rampart. By 1911 he was living on Alpe Street, then Chenery St.
The focus on town changes to Ipswich in these letters is so interesting to me. Jim provided so little in details of their personal and daily activities. Perhaps at this point in their lives, Jim & Polly were both 83, all they could physically manage was to watch the town grow.
14 Chenery St.
Ipswich 11 March 1936
Dear Old Friends,
We were very pleased to get your postcard and to know that there are still some who think of us old folk & we are pleased to hear that you are all keeping in good health and happy. What sort of weather are you having? I see in part of America the cold and snow has been terrible. Here he have had cold and rain almost every day for weeks. The cold don’t suit us I can tell you. The continual rain makes one feel depressed. It is seldom we go out, in fact we cannot walk far before we are done up. There is a lot I could tell you if we were talking but when you come to write it goes away from you, but there is one thing, you would not know Ipswich now, such alterations in our neighborhood for instance.
Where we & you lived, Tower Ramparts, all cleared away converted to car parks to Neale St underground lavatories male & female. Then in Lloyds Ave, Tower Ramparts to Cornhill building a large Cinema another one building in Butter Market. The Co.Op house have now building from where Tibbenhams was right up to Majors Corner or rather as far as the BeeHive . Chemists have dressing room male & female and fish & fruit in Cox Lane. Now they are getting ready for a tram to run along Crown Street from Whelton and through St Margaret’s St to & up Woodbridge Road and Sidegate Lane.
On St Margaret’s Plain they have pulled down the cottages and Cooks Blacksmith shop, all the cottages on left to “Mulberry Inn” corner thus widened St. Margarets St about twenty feet. Greens furniture shop at corner of Northgate it will be cut back and widen thru Crown St. The cottages are down from Williams St and a fine new hotel the “Crickets Hotel” in place of the one on in William St. The “Millers Arms” is closing when the other is finished.
It would fill a newspaper to tell all the changes. Opposite the “Crown & Sceptre” Pretty Factory is built right up to High Street so it is an enormous place now. Tom Harvey still keeps the pub and looks fat & well. I sent you a Mercury last week but you don’t seem to get them I hope you get this one. Nearly the whole way from Ipswich to Felixstowe bungalows and houses are built and Felixstowe is quite a large town. Now the Railway Co are going to make a double line all the way from here thru we have saloon buses run six times a day to London, Lowestoft & Yarmouth & return for day. Its a nice run in the summer time. I think I have told you enough for once. And hope to hear from you before long.
We join in love to you all
God bless you
Your sincere friends
Jim & Polly
Notes on the Letter
- Tibbenham is possibly John. The 1900 Kelly's Suffolk Ipswich listed him as: "carver & gilder, print seller, picture framer maker & artists colourman; the trade supplied; pictures lined, cleaned & restored 32 & 34 carr street"
- Bee Hive P.H. Charles Quinton, 70 Carr Street. (Per 1900 Kelly's Suffolk Ipswich). Private Hotel. This lovely photo was found on the Ipswich Star in their Days Gone By series.
- The Cricketers at 51 Crown Street Ipswich, Suffolk. It operating as a restaurant still! According to the website it was “built in the 1930s as The Cricketers. From the 1930s, twisty workers could drop in here. Originally a Tollemache pub, the style is copied from Helmingham hall, the home of the Tollemaches ince 1510." It’s now owned by a company called JD Wetherspoon. When I make to Ipswich, I'll certainly visit for a meal.
- Cold Winter - I searched for "winter 1936 North America" and discovered on Wikipedia, “The 1936 North American cold wave ranks among the most intense cold waves in recorded North American meteorological history.”
- Saloon Busses - now that caught my attention. Of course the first thing I thought was a pub on a bus, but quickly realized I was thinking in old wild wild west Saloon terms. A quick search indicated it was simply a "superior type of bus" in the Mr. Punch's History of Modern England which is quite a fun read if you have some time to kill. Best I can tell, a saloon bus may have had a separate enclosed space for bags.
That's all for now. Wrapping up Jim's last letter shortly.