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Days Gone By: The history of Grimwades and how its name is remembered in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 09:19 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:19 17 May 2018

A Victorian photograph of Grimwade’s shop in Westgate Street, Ipswich. Picture: COURTESY THE GRIMWADE FAMILY

A Victorian photograph of Grimwade’s shop in Westgate Street, Ipswich. Picture: COURTESY THE GRIMWADE FAMILY

For generations, Grimwades shop on the Cornhill, Ipswich, was a landmark and although it closed in 1996 the building is still referred to by many as “Grimwades”.

The Cornhill, Ipswich, in the middle of the nineteenth century. Grimwades shop was built on the corner of Westgate Street. The entrance to the street was widened at the time. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE The Cornhill, Ipswich, in the middle of the nineteenth century. Grimwades shop was built on the corner of Westgate Street. The entrance to the street was widened at the time. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

The business was founded by Richard Grimwade, a tailor on Westgate Street, in 1844. The business was carried on by his sixteen-year-old son John after Richard left town. The shop was extended on the corner on to the Cornhill.

John was the Mayor of Ipswich in 1904-05. His son, Sidney, was mayor in 1930-31 and his grandson Edward was Mayor in 1964-65.

The shop was an old style ladies and gentleman’s outfitters also selling school uniforms. In its later years there was a restaurant on the first floor.

Since Grimwades closed their shop the building has been a greetings card shop and a bargain clothes store.

Now there are plans to turn part of the former Grimwades store into a new Pret A Manger. The proposal will see the sandwich and takeaway store convert half the ground floor of the building and all the first floor into a cafe.

Captain David Ingham recalls Royal Navy Submarine visits to Ipswich. This photograph was taken in the 1980s. Picture: RUSSELL WHIPPS 
Captain David Ingham recalls Royal Navy Submarine visits to Ipswich. This photograph was taken in the 1980s. Picture: RUSSELL WHIPPS

Photographs of Ipswich Dock featured in a recent Days Gone By and readers have responded with their memories.

Captain David Ingham. MNI from Bentley wrote: “I saw with interest and a great deal of nostalgia, your collection of photographs of Ipswich Dock in Days Gone By. I became a Trinity House pilot in 1967 and remained so until my retirement in 1995. I was also a Sub Commissioner of Pilotage and Pilot Examiner for the Orwell for 22 years.

During this time I piloted hundreds of different vessels both commercial, pleasure and naval ships. The submarine depicted I believe was one of the navy’s diesel electric vessels of the O class. On this occasion the pilot I believe was the late Captain Peter Holbrook JP of Harwich.

I had the pleasure of piloting the submarine on its departure from Ipswich. The Captain was an Australian on exchange from the Royal Australian Navy. A most competent man, he insisted in doing all his own manoeuvring. We passed through the lock at a speed which caused the displaced water to flood right over the deck! It looked most impressive, but I think we were both only a hairs breadth from writing “Unfortunately” reports to the MOD and Trinity House! Another O class submarine I piloted into the dock I remember went just as well, but at about half the speed! Turning is difficult in submarines as the twin screws are close together and berthing has to be delicate as the side of the vessel is out of sight under the water. When the ship was all fast, as was usual, I accompanied the Captain below to have my Pilotage Bill signed. Raising my glass of gin to wish the Captain “good health” I noticed a porthole in the Wardroom! Behind it was water and seaweed, right on cue a goldfish swam past! One of the officers had rigged a false bulkhead with a fish tank behind. It was most impressive. The Captain said it was surprising how many visitors were tricked into thinking this was the sea outside! They were happy days, a slower pace and it was a pleasure to be part of it.”

The tug Agama. Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY BRIAN NICHOLS The tug Agama. Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY BRIAN NICHOLS

Brian Nichols from Felixstowe wrote: I was interested to see the photo of the tug Agama in Days Gone By recently.

The skipper of the Agama was the late Danny Marks, and his wife kindly gave me access to his photo albums, while I was carrying out research on Felixstowe and its offshore radio connections.

The Agama worked out of Harwich, Felixstowe and Ipswich for Gaselee & Sons, and was sometimes involved in the supply of Radio Caroline (both on board the Fredericia and Mi Amigo) and Radio London on the Galaxy, and appears in the film ‘Dateline Diamonds’ which features The Small Faces, Kiki Dee and The Chantelles.

I have attached one of the Agama photos from Danny’s collection.

The Cornhill, Ipswich, in 1897. Grimwades shop was extended onto the site of Trundles saddlers and harness makers in 1904. Picture: HARRY WALTERS The Cornhill, Ipswich, in 1897. Grimwades shop was extended onto the site of Trundles saddlers and harness makers in 1904. Picture: HARRY WALTERS

Peter Beard from Ipswich wrote: The picture of a visit by a submarine reminded me of several visits by Naval Craft.

Looking back I recall a visit of Royal Naval vessels some time ago. I cannot recall the ships names, but attach a picture from my collection.

Perhaps someone could recall this? It could have been as far back as 1982.

Do you have memories of Grimwades you would like to share with readers? To submit a letter, in less than 300 words, write to David Kindred, Days Gone By,Ipswich Star/EADT, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS or e-mail info@kindred-spirit.co.uk

Westgate Street, Ipswich, around 1910, with Grimwades shop at the corner of the Cornhill. The shop then had elaborate gas lamps to light the window display after dark. How long would they survive today? Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE Westgate Street, Ipswich, around 1910, with Grimwades shop at the corner of the Cornhill. The shop then had elaborate gas lamps to light the window display after dark. How long would they survive today? Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

A tailor at work in the Grimwades shop in Ipswich in November 1963. Do you know who he was? Picture: KEITH FLETCHER A tailor at work in the Grimwades shop in Ipswich in November 1963. Do you know who he was? Picture: KEITH FLETCHER

Ready to serve at Grimwades in 1963. Picture: KEITH FLETCHER Ready to serve at Grimwades in 1963. Picture: KEITH FLETCHER

Ready to serve at Grimwades in 1963. Picture: KEITH FLETCHER Ready to serve at Grimwades in 1963. Picture: KEITH FLETCHER

Ready to serve at Grimwades in 1963. Picture: KEITH FLETCHER Ready to serve at Grimwades in 1963. Picture: KEITH FLETCHER

An undated photograph from around 1970 of Ipswich Dock from near the lock gates. A ship loaded with coal is unloading to the gas works half way along the quay. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE 

An undated photograph from around 1970 of Ipswich Dock from near the lock gates. A ship loaded with coal is unloading to the gas works half way along the quay. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Neptune Quay, at Ipswich Dock, in the 1950s with the Meux Brewery Company “Brewers and Malsters” on the right. Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE Neptune Quay, at Ipswich Dock, in the 1950s with the Meux Brewery Company “Brewers and Malsters” on the right. Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

In May 1965 the fire brigade were called to Ipswich Dock to deal with a blaze at Neptune Quay as the maltings of the Meux Brewery Company Ltd were being demolished. Flats overlooking the Waterfront are now on this site. The silo in the background close to Coprolite Street belonged to Eastern Counties Farmers. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE In May 1965 the fire brigade were called to Ipswich Dock to deal with a blaze at Neptune Quay as the maltings of the Meux Brewery Company Ltd were being demolished. Flats overlooking the Waterfront are now on this site. The silo in the background close to Coprolite Street belonged to Eastern Counties Farmers. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

A 1960s photograph of Albion Wharf and Common Quay at Ipswich dock. The R and W Paul building on the left is now converted to multi use. The large silo next to The Custom House has been demolished. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE A 1960s photograph of Albion Wharf and Common Quay at Ipswich dock. The R and W Paul building on the left is now converted to multi use. The large silo next to The Custom House has been demolished. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

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