Days Gone By: See rare photos of Ipswich in the 1800s
Photographs of familiar locations, as they were in the past, fascinate most people, writes David Kindred.
One of the first to publish volumes of photographs of Ipswich was professional photographer William Vick. He produced three volumes of photographic prints of the town in the 1890s titled “Ipswich Past and Present”.
William Vick had a studio at the junction of Clarkson Street and London Road, which he took over from William Cobb about 1870. A directory for 1873 lists nine photographers working in Ipswich with many more around the county. They were kept busy by the Victorian fashion to have a formal portrait taken. To move out of the studio with heavy cumbersome equipment, and the need to make light sensitive glass plates at the scene, means that there are very few photographs taken on location before the late 1880s, when commercially produced plates and film became available. William Vick’s studio did not always make it clear which were past and which were present when he published the images. He probably used pictures by William Cobb and others showing earlier images of the town.
William Vick’s caption for the above photograph, taken at the junction of Black Horse Lane and Elm Street, Ipswich, says: “This view presents one of the many picturesque groupings of quaint cottages that could be found in Ipswich a few years ago”. It is not clear from his caption if William Vick took the photograph or used it to represent the town from earlier decades. St Mary Elms Church tower is in the background.”
This view from the clock tower of Ipswich Town Hall was taken in 1868, over 20 years before publication in volume one of “Past and Present” so represents a look back at the town centre.
The new Town Hall opened the same year the photograph was taken.
This windmill stood on Stoke Hill, Ipswich, until it was dismantled in 1880s. It stood close to where Philip Road is today.
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There was another mill on Stoke Hill, which was taken down when the rail tunnel was built.
Here we see Carr Street from the junction with Upper Brook Street (right) and Northgate Street in 1888.
The buildings featured were demolished soon after this photograph was taken. The buildings which replaced them are mostly there today.
The post office at the corner of the Buttermarket, facing what is now Giles Circus, is now part of Barclays Bank.
In 1881 the post office opened a new building on the Cornhill.
Waterloo House on the Cornhill was occupied by James Beart, “General Drapery and Costume Warehouse,” when this photograph was taken in the 1880s.
There was then a footpath through the building, “Mumfords Passage”, featured on the right of the photograph, leading to the Cross Tavern stable yard.
This shows Tavern Street, from near the corner of Dial Lane, which is off to the right.
The rails in the road were for horse drawn trams which ran from 1880 to 1903. The shop in the centre was Fish and Son, a large department store, at the corner of St Lawrence Street.
This building at the corner of Carr Street and Little Colman Street was home to local newspapers for almost eighty years. This photograph was probably taken in 1888 when buildings opposite had been demolished and the road widened.
By the late 1950s the company had outgrown Carr Street and plans were made to move to Lower Brook Street. The company moved to its new premises in April 1966.
That site has recently been demolished and the offices of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star are now at the junction of Portman Road and Princes Street.
Ipswich station on its present site opened in 1860. The island platform was added in 1883.
William Vick’s caption says “This station, situated at the West end of the tunnel under Stoke Hill, was opened on the 1st of July 1860. Prior thereto passengers proceeded from and alighted at a station situated at the East end of the same tunnel, the route thereto from the town being over Stoke Bridge, and at first up Bell Lane!
“The erection of the present ‘Railway Bridge’ being necessitated by the change. The length of the platform is 360 yards, having been constructed for up and down traffic, but since 1863 it has been used for up traffic only, a down platform having been constructed on the South side of the railway lines. The length of the tunnel is 330 yards”.
This lock opened in July 1881 replacing the original lock off New Cut. Some of the barges in the lock belonged to E Packard and Company who produced fertiliser at their works in Coprolite Street.
The building facing the camera in this photo was the Earl Grey public house, which closed around 1950.
It was demolished and replaced with a roundabout which was removed in 2010. This photograph is thought to be from around 1880.
The market moved to this site in 1856 from a town centre site known since as the Old Cattle Market.
The building in the background on Portman Road belonged to Wrinch and Sons, manufacturers of garden furniture and garden buildings. It was mostly destroyed by fire in July 1928.
The large building in the centre of this photo was the premises of Grimwade Ridley, wholesale druggists. The public house at the corner of Friars Road and Friars Street was the Friars Head which closed in 1972.
The glass clad Willis building now dominates most of this view.
The cabman’s shelter in the centre of this photo of The Cornhill from the 1890s, was built in 1903 and removed to Christchurch Park in 1895. It now stands close to the Westerfield Road gate.
Horse drawn trams were replaced in 1903 by electric trams.
There has been a bridge crossing the River Orwell where the current Stoke Bridge is from as early as 970 AD. In 1818 parts of a stone bridge were swept away by floodwater.
The bridge was replaced with the cast iron bridge featured, which was replaced in 1924/5 with the present concrete bridge. A second bridge was built in 1982/83 to cope with the volume of traffic. The large mill on the left is now the site of a skate board park Picture: DAVID KINDRED
William Vick retired around 1899 and moved to London. He died in April 1911 aged 77.
Some of his bound photograph albums and mounted prints have survived, some of which feature here Days Gone By.
His glass negatives are stored at the Suffolk Record Office.
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