A Message from Down Under
from Bernard Brown
Your splendid Newsletter travels a long way to reach me at the University of Auckland. When it arrives I have to be vigilant lest my colleagues whisk it off. Those who don't know Ipswich from a town in Queensland or one in Massachusetts nevertheless find the production greatly appealing. And they get me to elaborate the contents. The Jamestown story was appreciated by our Harvard contingent. A Tudor historian latches on to anything to do with Wolsey.
I was born and reared in Hadleigh but my spiritual home has always been Ipswich. My mother (a Welton) was brought up in Providence Street - it's still there, as well as the house! - and Dad in Sirdar Road (ditto), I was taken to Portman Road for the legendary Aston Villa encounter in 1939. Dad (Sydney Brown) became Mayor of Hadleigh and Mum, who died aged 98, was the oldest active Girl Guide. They met, at sixteen, through the Boys' Brigade and Guides attached to Tacket Street Church. Uncles and aunts kept a newsagent's in Fore Hamlet and a post office in Fore Street (Healey's - recently reprieved from closure). I can't do without my Ipswich Society Newsletter. It's the next best thing to Being There. Up the Town and up the town!
Not an Abolitionist Street
from Ruth Serjeant
We can be proud that the names of eight Ipswich streets commemorate activists in the anti-slavery movement of the early 19th century, as was noted in the July 2007 Newsletter. It is a disappointment therefore to be unable to confirm the suggestion in our January 2008 Newsletter that Gaye Street in the same vicinity was named for Claude Gay, an 18th century Quaker and abolitionist. Gaye Street (always so spelled) was named in 1871, having been formerly Little Granville Street, to honour the 'cordial respect and affectionate esteem' in which the rector of St Matthew's Church, Charles Hicks Gaye (1803-1882) was held during his long incumbency in the parish. He came to Ipswich in 1848 retiring from St Matthew's in 1875 after 27 years service, accepting the living of Swilland where he died in 1882.
It is possible that the street naming coincided with an earlier retirement plan. From an address he gave to his parishioners when leaving in 1875 he refers to the previous years when he had been seriously ill and which had perhaps prompted such a commemoration. A volume of his published sermons and addresses can be found in the St Matthew's parish records at Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich, and there are two stained glass memorial windows in the church, one to Gaye himself, the other to his first wife, Jane Grimmer who died in 1852.
A single Suffolk Unitary Authority
from John Fairclough
I understand that the Committee of the Society is about to consider its response to the proposals for Unitary Local Government, and is minded to support the Ipswich/Felixstowe (with separate Rural Suffolk) option. As a member of The Ipswich Society and an Ipswich resident I would ask you to think carefully about this matter. Both proposed schemes for unitary councils will mean the disappearance of the historic Borough of Ipswich. The Ipswich and Felixstowe Unitary Authority would place Ipswich within a disparate unit including the rural area of the Shotley peninsula, but excluding the residential areas of Woodbridge and Melton. This unit will still be too small to support appropriate services and will never achieve its own identity. At least under a single Suffolk Unitary Authority (including Lowestoft) Ipswich can aspire to becoming a true County Town as the administrative centre of the historic county.
Of specific concern to the Society, this single Suffolk will be large enough to provide its own unified Heritage Service for archives, archaeology and museums much more economically with one authority merging the present ones within the existing boundary, rather than creating two entirely new and geographically unsuitable units ..... .I hope The Ipswich Society will support the option for a single Suffolk Unitary Authority (including Lowestoft).