Memories of starting life in Ipswich during tough economic times come from Alma Rayner (nee Smith) and Joan Read. Alma said “I was born at 16 Albion Place in January 1926. When I was around twelve-years-old my family moved to the corner of Albion Place and Albion Street to a shop known as “Duffs”. My dad Bob Smith made lovely home made toffee apples. My uncle Bill who lived in Campbell Road and was always called rocky, made peppermint and aniseed rock. He used to cycle to the Gainsborough and Nacton estates on a trade bike to sell to produce. My brother Walter Smith is the only person in the family who can make rock now. My first school was in Trinity Street, then Cavendish Street from there to Clifford Road. My last school was Bolton Lane. Later while I was still young my family moved to 18 Long Street, which used to be Patricks cycle shop. This was opposite Southgate’s rag merchants and scrap business. Known as “Suggies” My mum used to pay the rent to Mr Southgate.”
“There were urinals at the junction of Long Street and Fore Street opposite the Earl Grey public house. There was also a shop on the corner, which sold sweets. The former Social Settlement building housed the “Tuppeny Rush” cinema run by Mrs Moles. Nearby was a cafe and Fisk’s sweet shop. Mr Fisk always wore a brown overall. The Sorrel Horse public house and Barnard’s hay corn and feed dealers were on the corner of Grimwade Street.”
“Close to the junction with Salthouse Steet was Jacksons chemists shop. Opposite Fore Street Baths was Wells a pork butcher who also made pork cheeses and sold ‘scrapes’, now know as pork scratchings. This part of Fore Street also had a post office, green grocers, barbers, coal merchant and a bakers. Although times were hard I was lucky to have a dad in work and in those days everybody helped each other.”
Joan Read said. “I was born over the shop at the corner of Bramford Road and Wilberforce Street. Nearby was Alfred Gibbons flour mill. During World War Two we watched as the German bombers flew over. We thought the mill was a land mark for them. I bought my first cycle from Nightngale’s shop on Bramford Road. It cost £15 and I got a little mongrel dog who rode in the basket on the front.
I had to walk to Westbourne School, there was no schools transport then. I was there until I was married and in my twenties when the owner of the shop, Mr Steel died and we moved to a council house. On wash days I used a brick “copper” and I had to turn a big iron mangle to help dry the washing. There were no washing machines then.
When we first moved into our council house there were old fireplaces, a sink on a pedestal a rusty cooking range and all the doors were painted black. My husband and I lived upstairs and my parents downstairs. My father was blind and my mother in a wheelchair.”