EDitorial ± 6-Aug-2001

When I'm Cleaning Windows

In recent weeks I've started acquiring old picture postcards of Ipswich. Though some came from a couple of shops within easy walking distance, most have been bought, or rather won, through ebay. Yep, sorry, it's that word/site again.

Some of these bygone images demonstrate that things don't change a great deal, such as those of the Ancient House and the Mansion, while others are of long-lost scenes. One of these in a new batch of seven cards was of the Ipswich Promenade, a tree-lined walk down by the docks. Plus, unlike some, this one had actually been sent through the post way back in 1909. Not for the first time, it was Gail who spotted something that I hadn't: the sender was one E.A. Rands, and he'd included his address. This was Broom Hill Road, Ipswich. That's where we live!

E A Rands, Bon Accord, Broom Hill Rd, Ipswich

Intriguingly there was no house number, but instead a house name of "Bon Accord". And although quite a few of the houses in our road have names, neither of us could recall seeing one with this particular title. So Monday lunchtime meant a quick trip, by pedal bike, to the Suffolk Record Office to investigate.

There in Kelly's Ipswich Street Directory of 1909 was Mr E. Asquith Rands, resident at 29 Broom Hill Road, also known as Bon Accord. Our place, Broom Acres at number 14, had yet to be built (and didn't appear until Kelly's 1914). On the off-chance I checked the commercial section of Kelly's for 1909, and there was Mr Rands, listed as a window cleaner - you'll note that only the finest tradespeople live in our road. He also had premises at Cumberland Street, where I bike past on my way to work.

According to the big red Kelly's volumes, he was still living at no. 29 in 1947. Curiously, in this same year, there's an Ernest Rands listed in the same road at number 7 (!), and another E. Asquith Rands at 32 Heath Road on the other side of town. And although the original EAR is finally gone from Bon Accord in 1949's edition, Ernest at number 7 and EAR at 32 Heath Road are still listed at those addresses in the final Kelly's of 1975.

Without taking a look at the electoral rolls, it's tricky to make sense of this information. Perhaps he had a son living a few doors down the road? Maybe "Rands' Window Cleaning and Domestic Aid Co." (his grand business entry in 1912) took off, and he became a landlord and was listed twice? Who knows. If possible, I'll find out. Oh, and did I mention that he was writing to a Bombardier Wells in India?

Be seeing you!