Bourne Park /Bourne Bridge/Stoke Hall

These contributions come from Mike O'Donovan, summer 2010, with his own emailed commentary.  Bourne Park lies away from the town centre with main entrances at the end of Wherstead Road and on Stoke Park Drive.

The War Memorial
"Here is a set of photos showing the memorial at Bourne Park. It has three sides and the photos show one side and the inscriptions on that side.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 1 (Photographs courtesy Mike O'Donovan)
The inscription at the bottom (below the crest) reads:
The main text of the memorial is shown next to the photograph of the weather-worn plate:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 2-Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 3

Here are some more from the same memorial, side 2.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 6
Again the weathered metal plate and the full text beside it:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 5   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 8a
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 7
The metal plaque at the bottom reads as follows:
MRS ANTHONY                    S. CORNISH
C.F. CRIPPS                             H.L. JUDD
 E. QUINTON                           H. ROBERTS
P.N SHARPE                           O. MAYES
       F. WHITING                            W.W. SEARLEY'

Kirby Cottage

As a matter of interest one of those listed in the first World War I list is Pte. Nathaniel Kirby, 4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment. The reason I mention that is because there is a building at the bottom of Belstead Road with a wooden plaque and the words 'Kirby Cottage' on it and around the corner it's got a listed house sign. [Toiling up Belstead Road hill away from Stoke Bridge, cast a glance at Kirby Cottage and it's from a different generation from the surrounding houses and sits differently in relation to the roadway; compare with the house called 'Chimneys' on the same side near the top of the hill.]Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 10
[UPDATE 14.12.2012: a long shot of Kirby Cottage (which is listed as 'Lonsdale Cottage' with its listed building crest.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Kirby Cottage   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Kirby Cottage 32012 images
The Listing text for 'Lonsdale Cottage reads: "A red brick building with late C18 or early C19 external features, possibly with an earlier core. It stands at right angles to the road and is gabled and plastered on the road frontage. The east front, to the garden, has double-hung sash windows in flush cased frames with segmental heads. The south end has 1 window range of C20 casements. Roof tiled, with 2 gabled half dormers and 2 chimney stacks, each with 3 diagonally set shafts." Kirby Cottage runs at right angles away from Belstead Road and is parallel  and close to the stables building and Listed vaults of the long-demolished Stoke Hall. It is most likely that this cottage was part of the 18th century Stoke Hall and was used as servants' quarters.

These are the last from the monument [the statement carved into the stone]:

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 9
Surprising really that there is such a lot of history involved which is practically unknown to many people. Sadly, the name of the individual mentioned on the plaque has been removed as you can see from the statement at the bottom. However, the person mentioned is Richard Stokes (1897 - 1957). His mother's family was involved in the engineering firm Ransomes & Rapier and he was a Labour MP. The metal plaque reads as follows:
1927 - 1957
1938 - 1957
1950 - 1951
1950 - 1957

The park gates
The last two images relating to Bourne Park. These are on the gates at the entrance to the Park.
The Prince Henry mentioned was one of the sons of King George V and was born in 1900 and died in 1974. He was one of the present queen's uncles. As a matter of interest he and his wife appear on a 1945 Australian postage stamp. By the way the Ipswich Lettering site keeps getting better. It's a marvellous record of the town."
See our page on More almshouses for more about W.F. Paul.
See our Paul's malting page for the story of the company and its importance to Ipswich.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne Park 4
Grateful thanks to Mike O'Donovan for these examples and the background detail. An anecdotal addition: the garish yellow of the cast iron gate memorials above seem to sum up the current state of Bourne Park: a bit run down. In cycling down the whole length of Constitution Avenue, as we discover it's called, from Stoke Park Drive (see Note below) to the Wherstead Road entrance, one finds a pleasant public park - with good children's play area - bordered by housing, scrubland, Belstead Brook, a main road and a railway line. A bit depressing, those boarded-up wrecks of buildings at the Wherstead Road entrance. They ought to get someone to live in the corner one with the clock (get it to tell the right time...) and sell ice creams and teas from the smaller one.

The Arch / Arch Cottage
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Arch Cottage2013 images
Down to Arch Cottage and the gentleman who lives there was very forthcoming. His cottage was built in the 1700s, when it must have stood in open land with a view of the river at Bourne Bridge (see below). This, of course, was long before the nearby embanked railway (initially the Eastern Union Railway in 1846, terminating in Station Street near Croft Street until the station moved to its present site in 1860) and had two acres of land including the current caravan site. While this gentleman was in the RAF, his father sold the adjacent front lawn to his brother who built a house on the site: Meadow Bank Cottage (visible through the arch, below). He was obviously born and bred there as he remembers the steam trains going by. He loves trains: 'You can set your watch by them'. 
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Arch 4   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Arch 3
The impressive arch which allows public access
through the embankment to the park (and, of course, the two cottages) is worth a look. It bears a stencilled number as with so many railway bridges around the town. But what was Arch Cottage called during the many years before the railway – and the arch – arrived?
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Arch 1

See more details on the railway and Stoke Tunnel on our EUR, Croft Street page.

Stoke Park
The name "Stoke Park" can be confusing: in the early 1900s it was a large estate and the home of Peter Burrell who became Lord Gwydyr in 1870, County Magistrate and High Steward of Ipswich (see our Street name derivations entry for Burrell Road).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Stoke Park periodPostcard of Stoke Park, 1914
An 1885 directory describes Stoke Park – not to be confused with Stoke Hall mentioned above) as a handsome mansion in a well-wooded park of 500 acres, commanding beautiful views of the river. It was the private house of Lord Gwydyr, but was a favourite place (presumably the parkland?) for Sunday School treats and children's outings. It was demolished in 1930 but some of the mature trees apparently still stand on the Stoke Park housing estate around the Bourne Park area to the west of the Orwell. The map below gives some idea of the house and its surroundings, including 'Icehouse Covert'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Stoke Park map
Opposite the Stoke Park Drive entrance to Bourne Park is the small Stoke Park Wood Local Nature Reserve:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Stoke Park siteNow an area of woodland, scrub & wildflower grassland, it had originally been the location of Stoke Park Mansion. Although an earlier house had existed here, the last mansion was built in 1838 by Peter Burrell. In the early 20th century this estate was twice subject to death duties and these events and the lack of an immediate heir may have been the primary reasons why the estate was broken up.*** The mansion was demolished in the 1920s, & no trace of it now remains. However, there is: "Round Lodge, Lodge to Stoke Hall (demolished). c1820. Roughcast and whitewashed brick; thatched roof. Circular plan. One storey. NE side with a timber verandah supported on cast-iron compound lattice piers. Wide eaves under conical roof with a central hexagonal chimney. Pointed-arched doorway to south, externally planked, internally with intersecting Y-tracery. Four 2-light Y-traceried casements at intervals round circumference, that to south-west replaced C20. Interior: dished plastered ceiling. Central fireplace and free-standing flue." [Grade II Listing text]

[***To get an idea of the size of the estate: 'The first death was that of the near centenarian “Peter Robert Lord Gwydyr who died on the 3rd April 1909”. He was born 27th April 1810 and inherited the estate on the death of his father in 1848 “nearly a quarter of a century before he succeeded to the peerage, on the death of his cousin, in 1870”. He is credited with the transformation of Stoke. “During the 60 years (or thereabouts) Baron Gwydyr held the Stoke Park estate the whole district has been literally transformed ... First he undertook the rebuilding of the mansion and the remodelling of the really charming gardens and grounds, this involving expenditure of about 60,000”. Also “the opening of two fine roads leading to the Railway Station – Willoughby Road and Burrell Road – were due to his initiative”. “This estate, which lies just above the Railway Station, has now been partially covered with residences abutting upon roads called Ancaster, Gesteven and Gippeswyk – names which blend the ancient titles of the family with ancient Ipswich” (ref. Obituary East Anglian Daily Times 5th April 1909). His successor was Willoughby Merrik William Campbell Burrell the last Baron Gwydyr who died without an heir on 13th April 1915. His mother had been Sophia Campbell whose father had owned Birkfield Lodge. Following the death of the last baron Gwydyr the estate was offered for sale on 4th July 1918 “By Order of the late Lord Gwydyr’s Executrix”. Apart from the park of 300 acres, the landfs included Mill House, Belstead, Stone Lodge in Stoke, Gippeswyk Hall, and six farms; The Home, Maiden Hall, Gippeswyk, Hill House in Sproughton, Gusford Hall, and Crane Hill. This site was offered for sale as part of Lot 1 the “Freehold and small part Copyhold Residential and Sporting Estate distinguished as Stoke Park ... comprising of A Noble Mansion Standing in a Beautifully Timbered Park ...']

Bourne Bridge
Close to the Bourne Park entrance is the original Bourne Bridge, now by-passed and only open to pedestrian traffic. Mike O'Donovan writes (3 April 2011): "You may find the attached photo of interest. It's of a plaque on Bourne Bridge. The words are now very weather worn, and it's another interesting item of Ipswich history. The inscription reads:

BOROUGH                                                                COUNTY
OF                                                                               OF
IPSWICH                                                                   SUFFOLK

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bourne BridgePhoto courtesy: Mike O'Donovan

The Ostrich public house
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Ostrich period1963 photograph
Bourne bridge marks the boundary of Wherstead parish.  Near the bridge, on the Wherstead side, stands the Ostrich Inn, as it stood at the time of the New England migration.  In those days, however, oysters were still found in Orwell waters, and the name 'Oyster Ridge' had not been corrupted to the name of the exotic bird whose effigy for many years adorned the swinging signboard of the roadside tavern. It's instructive that when this pub was bought and greatly extended in the nineteen nineties it was renamed 'The Oyster Reach'.
Another source suggests:
"Ipswich, the county Town of Suffolk, and the Port itself, is spread out with the Ostrich public house by Bourne Bridge marking the boundary. The Ostrich is four centuries old and  named after part of the crest of the Earls of Leicester who once owned the land on which is stands.  It is also said the name ~Ostrich~ was a mistake caused by a drunken landlord whose slurred speech resulted in the sign writer mis-understanding his orders for the sign to be painted ~The Oyster Reach."
The oldest part of the pub (adjacent to Bourne Hill) dates from the 16th or 17th century, though it has been much altered and added to. According to Alfred Hedges' book, "Inns and Inn Signs of Norfolk and Suffolk", the inn has been in existence since 1612. 'The Ostrich' is Listed Grade II, despite some heavy modern additions and alterations.

More park lettering: Alexandra Park, Christchurch Park (and Mansion) and Chantry Park.


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2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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