The North West Ipswich Big Local Trust has been awarded one million pounds of lottery money to spend in the Whitton, Whitehouse and Castle Hill areas. A partnership of residents has already approved nearly forty grants and you can find details of our activities on our website.
The one million pounds of lottery money will be spread over ten years and is being distributed against community bids which meet specific criteria. As the chairman of the North West Ipswich Big Local Trust I have said: 'I am very keen to put our area on the map and we have a number of initiatives to achieve our goals.'
I thought I would share some thoughts on the area.
- Early historical finds include the Roman Villa at Castle Hill (also featured in a Time Team programme) and the Saxon cemetery at Boss Hall, as well as other minor finds. Lots of information on these in the Ipswich Museum.
- For a long time much of the area up to Whitton Village was open farmland with a range of grand houses - the White House, which is still standing, Lovetofts Hall, Boss Hall, Springfield House, Brooks Hall, Holly Lodge and the Rosary, as well as the house at Castle Hill which is now the Community Centre. It has been suggested that the actual castle stood somewhere beyond Brooks Hall. I am still seeking pictures of Springfield House and Holly Lodge.
- The late nineteenth century saw the building of the rows of houses in the Bramford Lane and Bramford Road area partly, it is thought, to house people coming off the farms. Many of these houses carry plaques naming them after persons and events of the time such as the battles of Omdurman and Tel-el-Kebir. Look out for the effigy of Baden Powell in Bramford Lane. Heigham Villas in Bramford Road are opposite the site of the Rosary where Major Heigham, one time Chief Constable of Suffolk, used to live.
- I have been pleased to see that North West Ipswich has produced some illustrious people. These include Trevor Nunn, who among other things has been Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Gary Avis and Liam Scarlett, both leaping high in the ballet world, Kieron Dyer, and several other sportspersons and artists.
- I am particularly interested in the churches and schools in the area. Westbourne Academy's early log books are fascinating reading as they start in 1939 with trench drills and gas mask inspections and pupils being sent home after visits from the 'nit' nurse. The first name in the punishment book is one John Watkins who received 'one stroke on the hand' for bringing a dead rat into school. Later in life he served as Chair of Governors for many years!
In putting the North West forward these are only brief glimpses. I would be glad to hear from anyone with information or pictures relating to the area. Likewise, please contact me if you are interested in the work of the Big Local Trust.
Ron Impey — email@example.com