Number 21 Lower Brook Street has been on the "at risk" register of Listed buildings since 1987. Neglected by its absentee owner, the building has been in poor condition since at least that time. With the adjoining No 19 it was a large house built in the 1590s and acquired by the Borough for Samuel Ward, the charismatic Puritan Town Preacher who almost ruled Ipswich in the early 17th century and whose influence led to many local people setting out to make a better life in America.
Behind what was in earlier times a high brick wall, the house was later the Master's House, i.e. the house for the Head of Ipswich School whose boarders (sometimes 70!) also lived here. No 19, in current office use, bears our Society's Blue Plaque commemorating William King, born here in 1786, son of the then Master and a founder of the Co-operative Movement. The whole building therefore is of great historical importance, It is encouraging to hear that a change of ownership of No 21 should eventually lead to a proper restoration programme without the need for compulsory purchase by the Borough Council.