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Days Gone By: Corner becomes a Major talking point in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 13:31 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 12 July 2018

Majors Corner, Ipswich, in 1939, with Botwoods garage and showrooms on the right Picture: GUY MAYNARD COURTESY COLCHESTER & IPSWICH MUSEUM

Majors Corner, Ipswich, in 1939, with Botwoods garage and showrooms on the right Picture: GUY MAYNARD COURTESY COLCHESTER & IPSWICH MUSEUM

Museum

Majors Corner, Ipswich, and the area nearby, featured recently in Days Gone By, and it has sparked much debate about this busy part of the town centre.

The swinging sixties at Botwoods showrooms, as girls taking part in a fashion show organised by Corders shop pose on the bonnet of an e type Jaguar Picture: IAN MCGRATHThe swinging sixties at Botwoods showrooms, as girls taking part in a fashion show organised by Corders shop pose on the bonnet of an e type Jaguar Picture: IAN MCGRATH

One of the photographs featured Botwoods Garage. The company was established as carriage builders on Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, between Kirby Street and Milton Street, in 1870. When founder William Botwood died in 1896 his two sons, Samuel and William, carried on the business. In the 1920s the company merged with Mann Egerton and Company and opened their showrooms and workshops at Majors corner.

Major's Corner, Ipswich as it looks now Picture: ARCHANTMajor's Corner, Ipswich as it looks now Picture: ARCHANT

Police officers on traffic duty were a regular sight until the 1970s when busy road junctions had traffic lights installed. A photograph of a police officer on duty at the junction of Colman Street, St Margarets Street and Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, in the 1960s, has brought memories of the duties from readers. In todays feature I have taken another look at these subjects.

Reader David Mitchell recalls Carr Streetnfrom decades past. This was the street in June 1970 from Majors Corner Picture: JERRY TURNERReader David Mitchell recalls Carr Streetnfrom decades past. This was the street in June 1970 from Majors Corner Picture: JERRY TURNER

David Mitchell, by email - I was fascinated by your feature on Majors Corner. I worked in the town from 1961 to 1966 and got my first car, a second hand Austin A30, at that time. It saw plenty of the inside of Botwood’s workshop. On the other side of the road was Avis Cook, at that time the “go to” place in Ipswich for TVs and other electrical goods. One of the first things I bought after starting work was a Grundig reel to reel tape recorder. I remember taking it up to Park Road with members of my youth club to record an interview with the Bishop. I’d forgotten the microphone, but a mad dash to Majors Corner and Avis Cook’s lent me one for a couple of hours. Customer service was widespread in those days.

Carr Street, Ipswich, in 1964, from near the junction with Northgate Street Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVECarr Street, Ipswich, in 1964, from near the junction with Northgate Street Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Nostalgia perhaps, but the area was so much more alive in the 60s. Carry on into Carr Street today and you’re in the saddest street in the town.

John Sparks and David Mitchell have recalled Avis Cooks electrical goods shop (left) and Saronys photographic studios in this block of shops at Majors Corner, Ipswich, which were demolished in 1968, soon after this photograph was taken Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVEJohn Sparks and David Mitchell have recalled Avis Cooks electrical goods shop (left) and Saronys photographic studios in this block of shops at Majors Corner, Ipswich, which were demolished in 1968, soon after this photograph was taken Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

John Sparks, by email - I really enjoyed the feature about the Major’s Corner area of Ipswich which brought back a few memories. Sarony’s photographers featured. My father told me of when he came home on leave, before I was born in the late 1930s. He went to Sarony’s to have a photo taken of himself in his RAF dress uniform. The photographer was so pleased with the result he asked my father if he would be happy for him to feature it in his shop window, to which my father agreed. The next time my father was home on leave he went to collect his photos and proudly view himself in the shop window, he was shocked as the man had blown the photo up in every imaginable size available then and had filled the entire window. Needless to say my father was a bit embarrassed!I remember when police officers controlled traffic at busy junctions in the Ipswich town centre. There were two on duty at the junctions in St Margarets Street, who presumably had a synchronisation nightmare. They both had to make sure that the traffic didn’t build up between them. In bad weather they used to wear calf length white rain coats. There were no “high viz” jackets then!

Majors Corner, Ipswich, in 1939, with Botwoods garage and showrooms on the right Picture: GUY MAYNARD COURTESY COLCHESTER & IPSWICH MUSEUMMajors Corner, Ipswich, in 1939, with Botwoods garage and showrooms on the right Picture: GUY MAYNARD COURTESY COLCHESTER & IPSWICH MUSEUM

Kathy Spizzirri (nee Mackie), by email - I was thrilled to see “Days Gone By” featuring Major’s Corner. Especially Botwoods, as I worked there when I left school in 1960. I could see the office window upstairs where I worked as a Clerk. My Uncle, Jim Sharman, who worked there for many, many years in the reception area, got me this job, where I earned a great one pound fifteen shillings a week! It was so interesting to see the pictures of the green buses and the Gaumont with Victor Silvester’s dance studio upstairs, where we would go on a Saturday night. I married an American serviceman and we will celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary next year. Living in Seattle, Washington State reminds me more of home as the weather is very similar and the green trees etc. It is a beautiful area. I went to Copleston Secondary Modern School. I lived at that time in Kemball Street. Thank you for those great pictures which I enjoyed very much.

Computer generated street advertising was just a dream when artist Janice Wilkinson created this Esso advertisement near Majors Corner, Ipswich, in November 1965 Picture: IAN MCGRATH Computer generated street advertising was just a dream when artist Janice Wilkinson created this Esso advertisement near Majors Corner, Ipswich, in November 1965 Picture: IAN MCGRATH

Judy Cook, Ipswich - I read, with interest, regarding the police point duty at the junction of Woodbridge Road and Great Colman Street, Ipswich.

A police officer on traffic point duty at the junction of Colman Street, St Margarets Street and Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, in June 1962 Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE 
A police officer on traffic point duty at the junction of Colman Street, St Margarets Street and Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, in June 1962 Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

My brother, John Neeve, (now deceased) was a policeman in the 1950s and was often on point duty at that corner. He met his wife, Iris Mann, when she used to cycle home from work and had to cross the junction. Apparently, he used to stop the other traffic to allow her to proceed and it was the start of a long marriage. They moved to Bedfordshire where Iris died last year.

A police officer was on duty to control traffic at the junction of Carr Street, Northgate Street, and Upper Brook Street when this photograph was taken around 1920 Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVEA police officer was on duty to control traffic at the junction of Carr Street, Northgate Street, and Upper Brook Street when this photograph was taken around 1920 Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Russell Whipps, Ipswich - I remember the policeman on traffic duty on the corner of Woodbridge Road. In wintertime they gave him a coconut mat to stand on so his feet did not freeze. At the same time, about 1965, when I came to live and work in Ipswich at Mann Egerton in Princes Street, part of the same company, staff where allowed to park cars in Botwoods garage if we where going to a show at the Regent next door.

Traffic at the junction of Lloyds Avenue and the Cornhill was controlled by a policeman when this photograph was taken, probably in the late 1940s Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVETraffic at the junction of Lloyds Avenue and the Cornhill was controlled by a policeman when this photograph was taken, probably in the late 1940s Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Northgate School, Ipswich, featured recently. Reader Jonathan Waters was a pupil there and has added names to some of those featured.

Jonathan Waters has told us more about this photograph taken at Northgate School, Ipswich, in 1977 Picture: JERRY TURNER 


Jonathan Waters has told us more about this photograph taken at Northgate School, Ipswich, in 1977 Picture: JERRY TURNER

Jonathan Waters, by email - Many thanks for including some photos from my year at Northgate Grammar School in your recent Days Gone By feature. In October 1977, when the pictures were taken, we were in the third year (now year 9) and we were the penultimate year as a Grammar School intake. The school has changed beyond all recognition since that aerial photo was taken. It was completely re-built shortly after we left in 1980. The first change was the new sports centre. Only one or two original buildings remain now.

Northgate School, Ipswich, from the air in January 1979. The houses of Sidegate Lane West and Alma Close are in the top of the picture Picture: DAVID KINDRED 

Northgate School, Ipswich, from the air in January 1979. The houses of Sidegate Lane West and Alma Close are in the top of the picture Picture: DAVID KINDRED

The carpentry class photo features a lad on the far right, Kevin Goldsmith (wearing watch) and the teacher is Miss Cawood (by far the youngest teacher at the school at that time!) Mysteriously one lad is wearing a jumper with a pattern on, never allowed at the time. Nor was the striped shirt that Kevin has on. Kevin went on to become a teacher himself. Happy days indeed. Many thanks for brightening up my day

Fore Street Pool, Ipswich featured recently and Ray Harvey from Ipswich recalls visiting there.

Ray Harvey, Ipswich - I was a pupil at Westbourne High School in the early 1950s. In the summer we went swimming at Broom Hill and winter swimming at the Fore Street pool. I can remember cycling with some of my school mates in a snow storm from Westbourne to the Fore Street pool.

Do you have memories you would like to share with readers? Email us today

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