Local historian Muriel Clegg opened the door for me onto this fascinating aspect of the Ipswich story, in two publications*. I had always assumed that Ipswich Borough Council, who are responsible for street names of new housing developments, kept an index of the street name derivations in this historic town. Perhaps due to the move from Civic Centre to Grafton House when much paperwork was lost, this was not the case, although some derivations are within individual planning papers. It appears that my website has become the resource I was seeking.
In June 2003 I started the Ipswich Historic Lettering website, never having built a website before, and street names were very much of interest. Street nameplates are the commonest form of public lettering. Luckily, the original version of the Ipswich Society’s website run by Ed Broom featured a Newsletter article on the subject from April 2004. The original information is based on The Lewcock Collection: Ipswich memorabilia and notes compiled and collected by Edward Hussey ‘Jim’ Lewcock including notes on Ipswich street names, 1960. Having hugely developed the online list over the years, I am often reminded of my lack of knowledge of the inspirations behind such names as: Goring Road, Luther Road, Finbars Walk, Digby Road, Jupiter Road (is it just that they chose a random planet – in which case, why isn’t there a Saturn Road?); there are many more – older and newer roads.
Builders and developers can choose – or, rather, recommend to the Borough – street names. Pond Field to the south-west of the California estate was initially bought by Hammond Kemball who built the first houses on ‘Kemball Street’; After his death in 1872, much of this land was developed by the Freehold Land Society, but the name remained. It is distinct from the surrounding poet-related F.L.S. street names (Bloomfield, Crabbe, Milton, Kirby, Cowper and Howard, plus Freehold Road, of course).
Ernleigh Road was developed by a local builder, Ernest Lee. Ernest William Lee lived at ‘Halliwell' in Cauldwell Hall Road. It is likely that he also developed the road south of Ernleigh Road, Halliwell Road; both are off Britannia Road, just outside California.
Please do look at the Street name derivations page on the website:
and if you have any information about any of the street names in Ipswich, send me a message via the ‘Contact us’ link at the bottom of the web-page, or write c/o the Editor (see page 23 for the address). I welcome contributions and corrections.
Borin Van Loon
[*Both by Muriel Clegg – Streets and street names in Ipswich: their origin and development. 1984. The way we went: streets in 19th Century Ipswich. 1989. Both published by Salient Press.]