Now Available at Suffolk Record Office
This year Ipswich Building Society celebrates its 160th anniversary. As a result of early business activities under its original name of the Ipswich and Suffolk Freehold Land Society (FLS) the Society amassed an extensive archive of estate plans, sale particulars and architects' drawings of houses as well as over 350 bundles of title deeds for land in Ipswich and other parts of Suffolk. This rare example of a local business archive is now available to researchers at Suffolk Record Office in Ipswich.
Twenty years ago the Society took expert advice from professional archivists at Suffolk Record Office and work began to produce a comprehensive catalogue for the collection. More recently this catalogue was transferred to a CALM database. The purpose of this work was to prepare material for eventual transfer to the Record Office in a format that would make it instantly available to researchers. The project came to fruition in spring 2009 when the Society's Chief Executive, Paul Winter, formally handed over the archive to Councillor Rosemary Clarke of Suffolk County Council.
The Society's most treasured possessions are two very large bound ledgers of plans and ballot posters containing almost 200 plans for estates developed and FLS houses built between 1850 and the late 1930s. The ledgers are now too fragile to be handled but each plan has been professionally photographed and digital images are available to view; these can also be reproduced by Record Office staff on request. Why not visit Ipswich Record office soon, to investigate this valuable resource available to researchers of local and family history? (Catalogue reference GF419). Alternatively there is a guided walk on Saturday 5 June to discover the history of the Rose Hill area of Ipswich and learn how the FLS archive can be used in conjunction with other Record Office sources to study areas developed by FLS from 1850 to 1936 in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Framlingham and Lowestoft. Contact Ipswich Record Office for more details.
MARGARET HANCOCK, Ipswich Building Society Archivist