Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

Number eleven Northgate Street currently let as offices once housed a Dental Surgeon and for seventeen years up to January 1924 the house was occupied by Mrs. Steele and her two daughters who ran a Preparatory School which was then removed to Henley Road and occupied the building which is now the Ipswich Preparatory School. Leslie Williams was a pupil as was Harry Warner and many other well known local characters.

Harry Warner remembers a young bullock, on its way to the Tuesday market straying from the drove, under the archway and into the cloakroom. The amusement afforded to the pupils was not shared by the Misses Steele who, no doubt, had to clear up the mess.


Finally we take a broad brush look at the past century.

If the founder members returned for the celebration dinner they would immediately notice the absence of the Hall Porter to open the door and greet them. The service, a little more 'do it yourself' but very cheerful and efficient. The members, a little less forbidding and autocratic but still a representative range of business and professional men using the Establishment as a place of relaxation and victualling. A buffer between home and office where one will always find friends to subject you to the good humoured fun and leg pulling which I fancy has always existed.

Really not very much has changed, many problems and experiences have been repeated over and over again. As a member of the House Committee I had a bright idea. To serve tea to visiting ladies in the afternoon, which we still do. I find from the records that the same suggestion was made by Paddy Haywood-Smith's father in 1923. The year of my birth! That's life!

A hundred years 'sailing'! The 'ship, hit the bottom in 1888, with assets of £550 they borrowed £600 from the Ipswich Money Club @ 61/2 %. A high interest,. perhaps a high risk. In 1891 a writ was issued by the Ipswich Gas Light Co. Ltd. for a debt. The Company was to be sold as a going concern. Henry Spurling valued the assets, furniture and stock in trade at £400. Rescue was at hand. One William Bennett (Bennett & Snare Builders?) took up the shares and we set sail again.