Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

The Pykenhams Gatehouse, built in 1471 and restored by the Ipswich Building Preservation Trust in 1983, is one of the oldest buildings in the town. A timber frame building with a stone staircase leading to a mounting block (now. removed) in the street. The building, without its windows on the west and most interesting side and originally without the addition on the south side, most probably housed the coachman as well as forming part of the high perimeter wall and spiked double gates below.

Reverting to the main building. At around 1750 the present facade and roof was added. The first floor panelled rooms and the long panelled passage were built inside the original structure as were the servants attic quarters, still remaining.

We must blame the Architect of this work for cutting into the main beam structure to provide head room in the passage thus causing the eastern wall to bow. This restoration and repair was carried out in 1983, some 200 years later - so I don't think we can claim under the guarantee!

The second Billiards Room, already referred to, was added in 1926. The present front door and the bay window extension to the present Dining Room appears to be C1920 but I can find no mention of this addition in the records.

Outside the garage abutting upon the gatehouse has been removed. What a pity the wall didn't disappear with it. How well the little gatehouse would have shone in its own right - unshielded by the dividing wall. Surely no longer needed to keep separated the entrance for staff. The wood shed is a garage and the rear has. been transformed. Apart from these details very little has changed on the outside during the past century.

Inside the rooms have changed their uses many times and a small staircase now joins the flat with the old bar. Regretfully the oak panelling in the first floor passage and the flat have been desecrated with white paint. I hope it will be removed one day.

The character and magnificence of the buildings remain - long may this be so.