EDitorial ± 4-Feb-2002

Butcher, Baker, Boot Maker

One of the advantages of urban life is being within spitting distance of a row of shops. I can pop out of the front door (being careful to lock it), and, having played Frogger across the ever-busy Norwich Road, purchase a paper, pastry or portion of pork char sui. Beats driving to fetch a pint of milk.

Balfour, Norwich Road, Ipswich

There's around a dozen stores spread between the Inkerman and Emperor pubs, and every now and then one changes hands. In the past few months we've acquired:

  • an open-all-hours convenience store (incorporating the old Goldings post office from along the road),
  • a tanning salon, 'cos people need to look shiny,
  • and an Italian deli (on Goldings old premises), opened Jan 2002

Pasta Place, Norwich Road, Ipswich

Which got me thinking: for someone living in my house years ago, what kind of shops did they have? One lunchtime trip to the Record Office later, I found out.

Tan Fast, Norwich Road, Ipswich

Kelly's Directory of Ipswich - 1975
Apart from the bookend pubs, which have been in situ for years, only two places survive from 1975:

  1. the Chop Suey House - established 1968, says their leaflet
  2. Victor Doe, hairdresser - something for the weekend?
Gone are two grocers (Simpkin and Denison), West End DIY, Cook's general store, Moore the butcher & Moore's radio, and the Chocolate Box. Anything to do with the out-of-town Sainsbury, Asda, Tesco, perchance? A bakery, Newsteads, carries on albeit under a new name.

Kelly's Directory of Ipswich - 1949
For the Chop Suey, read Mr Cox the boot maker. Moore's butchery was doing business, and add two different grocers (Argent and Mowlam), Gould's general store and Simpkin the fruiterer. Not to forget Bowman the pastry cook and Wake the electrical engineer.

Plenty of fresh produce by the sound of it. On a personal note, it's good to see Mr Cox there, since I'm apparently descended from a line of cobblers. Two or three of the properties hadn't yet been converted to shops, by the way.

Kelly's Directory of Ipswich - 1925
Way back in 1925 you'd find Walt Carter, baker and post office, occupying the premises of the new Italian deli. And that's it: all of the other buildings were private properties, including the home of Rev Luscombe, curate of All Saints.

Read into all that what you will. If we were talking about the village stores, the message would be "use it or lose it". How that applies to a funeral parlour and a place selling Victorian bedsteads, I couldn't say. Wonder how we're fixed for milk?

Be seeing you!