The Social Settlement looks very attractive on this sunny day in Fore Street as families board the no.21 tram. Bob Markham, one of our speakers at the Members' launch evening, dates this to early 1904, judging by the details of the tram. Note the lamp-post and pillar box in the middle of the road; compare with the 1880s view in the opposite direction when shops extended into this central space.
'There is an annoying pedestrian crossing in Fore Street connecting the University with the College. Annoying for the motorist because the lights don't seem to be coordinated with those at the adjacent junction with Duke Street and annoying for the pedestrian because they take too long to change after pressing the button. The car park immediately north of the crossing was the site of an important Ipswich building, the Social Settlement built in 1896 and providing relief to the poor and destitute of the St Clements' area of the town.
In the 1840s and 50s Ipswich was booming, the arrival of the railway, the opening of the Wet Dock and the demand for manufactured goods following the industrial revolution caused large numbers of men to move from the rural parishes into town. By the latter years of Victoria's Reign there was over provision in the labour market and not all who lived in the town could find employment. There was no State benefit and for those families without a bread winner the workhouse was almost inevitable.
Many less well off citizens lived in ‘courts', that is a collection of ramshackle sheds and hovels built in the back yards of street houses, all sharing a single loo. Although the latter half of the 19th century brought many changes to public health, and the arrival of horse drawn trams meant the employed could live a little further from their place of work, it wasn't until the 20th century that these slums were cleared.
The Social Settlement was built by Daniel Ford Goddard whose family owned the Ipswich Gas Light Company and where, for a short time he worked. Goddard was a great philanthropist and after only five years at work he left and devoted himself to public service. He founded the Social Settlement and spent a considerable amount of his time there, ensuring that not only did it offer accommodation but also social welfare to the local community. Ford Goddard was a radical Congregationalist and a leading figure in the town's political affairs. His motto for the Settlement was ‘For God and People' and although it claimed to be non-denominational and non-political there were bible classes, prayer meetings and a People's Sunday Service. It provided rooms for education, welfare and recreation, and allowed residents to form, for example clubs for bowls, billiards and bicycling. There was a brass band and a choir, all opportunities that were not available to the working man before hand.
Daniel Ford Goddard served as an Alderman, he became mayor in 1891 but declined the usual mayor's banquet preferring to distribute dinners to the poor instead. He was elected as Liberal MP for Ipswich in 1895 and was knighted in December1907.
The Social Settlement was designed by Ipswich Architects Eade & Johns in what was described as Edwardian freestyle, and was built on the site of the slums mentioned earlier. The decrepit housing behind the Social Settlement, between Long Street and Rope Walk were not demolished until the slum clearance of the 1930s. In the 1961 the Social Settlement was demolished to make way for Suffolk College continuing the tradition of educating young people on the site.'(The Social Settlement is listed in Kelly's Directory in 1952 as a British Sugar hostel.) John Norman
From Bob Kindred's Suffolk Architects… Eade & Johns Architects. Fore Street, Ipswich Social Settlement. Substantial alterations and Additions in 1896-7 and again in 1899 including a large public hall- all at the rear of existing medieval buildings on the Fore Street frontage. For D J Garrod , & WF Goddard & D Ford Goddard . A new residential building on 3 floors & containing 16 bedrooms was designed in 1902 for D Ford Goddard MP. Builder C Roper. In Edwardian free-style, red brick with stone dressings, symmetrical with large central gable, oriel bay windows & flanked by turret gable with copper cupola roofs. Demolished circa 1963. [We now know that the Social Settlement was demolished in 1961 as part of the Fore Street Facelift.]
Read the oral history transcript about the Social Settlement.
For a long while, in preparation for this exhibition, we had assumed that the Social Settlement had been sited next door to the newsagent/tobacconist's shop, C.H. Fisk which is shown in Birkin Haward's 1961 black-and-white sequence of photographs (view number 25). This seemed to be borne out by the details of the adjoining building shown to the left of the 1901 line and watercolour illustration by Eade & Johns of the Settlement: the last shown on the Brian Jepson collection. We also had an architect front elevation of a building with a wobbly roof-line (the last shown on our Line Drawings document) which we couldn't place in the whole of Fore Street. These two problems were eventually answered by examination of the stills from the Ipswich Society film of the facelift project (view number 39).
The Settlement was clearly situated further to the east than we originally thought: "two shops either side of a gated cart-entrance; no dormer windows and wobbly roofline to the right. It took a while to identify these buildings. The still no. 39 from the Society's film of the project shows these buildings situated on the north side of the east-west stretch of Fore Street . The Social Settlement adjoined the right hand side of this drawing. A Lyons café occupied the shop immediately to the left of the cart entrance. The gentle slope upwards from west to east is noticeable in the drawing. The entrance to The Sorrell Horse public house was two shops down to the left from this drawing."
See also Fore Street maps showing Listed buildings and Public houses.