Days Gone By: The changing social status of Suffolk’s thatched buildings through the years

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chi

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chilvers worked as a thatcher all of his working life. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Thatching has been practiced for hundreds of years, and still protects many Suffolk churches, homes and barns from the elements.

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chi

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chilvers worked as a thatcher all of his working life. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

As railways expanded in the Victorian period, slate from Wales became more available and thatching started to decline.

Thatched roofs became a sign of poverty, although this is no longer so.

Thatcher Joe Manfield. at Buxhall 1968. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Thatcher Joe Manfield. at Buxhall 1968. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Now for many the image of country life is summed up in the “chocolate box” image of a thatched cottage with roses growing round the front door.

In this week’s Days Gone By I feature photographs from the archive of Suffolk thatched properties, captured on film by Ipswich based photographers, the Titshall Brothers, taken around 1930, when life for rural folk was harsh.

The thatched roof of St Botolphs Church, Iken, was destroyed by fire in July 1968. Open air service

The thatched roof of St Botolphs Church, Iken, was destroyed by fire in July 1968. Open air services were held in the church yard in front of an improvised altar. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Also included are photographs of thatchers at work in the 50s, 60s and 80s.

Can you tell us more about the photographs featured? 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 send an e-mail.

Rose Cottage, Fishpond Lane, Waldringfield, around 1930. Picture: TITSHALL BROTHERS

Rose Cottage, Fishpond Lane, Waldringfield, around 1930. Picture: TITSHALL BROTHERS

Sadler and harness maker, George Reeve, at his cottage in Grundisburgh around 1930. Saddlers Meadow

Sadler and harness maker, George Reeve, at his cottage in Grundisburgh around 1930. Saddlers Meadow is now on this site. Picture: TITSHALL BROTHERS

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chi

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chilvers worked as a thatcher all of his working life. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

A pair of thatchers at Stratford St Mary in 1959. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

A pair of thatchers at Stratford St Mary in 1959. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Harness maker, George Woodward, with his sons Ephraim and Victor at their thatched premises in Brock

Harness maker, George Woodward, with his sons Ephraim and Victor at their thatched premises in Brockford at the junction of Brockford Street and Brockford Road around 1930. Picture: TITSHALL BROTHERS

Sixteenth Century Bridge Cottage, Flatford, in 1899. It has been a National Trust property since 194

Sixteenth Century Bridge Cottage, Flatford, in 1899. It has been a National Trust property since 1943. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chi

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chilvers worked as a thatcher all of his working life. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chi

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chilvers worked as a thatcher all of his working life. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chi

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chilvers worked as a thatcher all of his working life. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE


Nellie and Kathleen Pearl at a thatched cottage close to the Fox Inn at Barking, around 1928. The

Nellie and Kathleen Pearl at a thatched cottage close to the Fox Inn at Barking, around 1928. The condition of the building, thought to date from the sixteenth century, and the thatched roof, look very poor. It is not known if the horses or the ladies lived there. Picture: TITSHALL BROTHERS

Thomas Dimmock’s general store at Woodbridge Road, Grundisburgh, around 1930. Picture: TITSHALL BROT

Thomas Dimmocks general store at Woodbridge Road, Grundisburgh, around 1930. Picture: TITSHALL BROTHERS

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chi

Thatcher, Reg Chilvers, working at Levington in 1955 with St Peters Church in the background. Mr Chilvers worked as a thatcher all of his working life. Picture: DAVID KINDRED ARCHIVE

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