Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

The First 100 Years - 1885 - 1985

Fortunately, a local artist, Leonard Squirrel, captured and recorded the atmosphere in a water colour presented to the Club by Mr Harry Knight in 1945. We do know it was the centre of great activity until the late 50's,

Bowls was played with a type of wood no longer in use. Framlingham Woods or cheeses, Arthur Turner of Debenham tells me. The very flat cheese like shape of the wood permitted a somewhat hazardous bias and an arc of some 8 to 10 feet, The modern woods bias to about 3 or 4 feet only.

Gentlemen played in blazers and straw hats, tea was served outside. The now disused garden loo is the only remaining monument to what must have been a most relaxing and peaceful scene in the centre of Ipswich. The Suggestion Book records in 1908 a complaint that some members not only sported disgustingly batterred straw hats but they wore them inside - in the Reading Room.

Life inside the building was very much a male domain, Females were employed in the kitchens but they were not permitted to pass the half door leading to the old bar.

Originally and until about 1925 no bar existed. Gentlemen didn't go into bars! Drinks were served by stewards who were expected to know the likes and dislikes of all the members. If a drink was required one pressed the "tit", a quite acceptable term for a bell push, a waiter would take your order to the small hatch about 12" square, still existing on the right hand side of the back door. The barman would dispense the drink. Borne on a tray it was carried to the member whose order it was.

Back he would then trail with the money, and return with the change. Not exactly perfection in time and motion but labour was cheap in those days.

The stewards or bar boys uniform consisted of a blue tail coat with silver buttons, trousers to match, worn with white shirts and black ties. In 1922 their scruffy appearance was disapproved and J&J Edwards in Tavern Street were ordered to supply replacements for £2.15.0 a "boy".