More Almshouses

Nethaniah,
Over Stoke
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Nethaniah 12013 images
Fronting Luther Road, just uphill from when it changes from Station Street, and on the corner of Martin Road we find the distinctive almshouses with external staircases and balconies. The two stone tablets set above the central archway tell the story.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Nethaniah 2
'NETHANIAH HOME FOR THE AGED
Erected from funds collected by the
Rev. R.E. WILLIS PASTOR OF
STOKE GREEN CHAPEL
As a home for those connected therewith
THIS STONE WAS LAID ON THE 20 OCT 1890
By MRS. W.F. PAUL'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Nethaniah 3
Mrs W.F. Paul, who laid the memorial tablet in 1890 was married to the founder of the 'Wm Paul Tenements Trust' the name of which appears on a number of Ipswich buildings (see below).
Each word in the upper inscription is separated from its neighbour by a 'decimal point'. Tucked away in the corners of the plaque are the names:
'R L EVERETT & R GREEN
Hon Secs'
'Brightwen Binyon
Hon Archt'
These are carved obliquely at the lower corners, almost as if they were an afterthought. The small characters have suffered from weathering and even on the enhancements below are fugitive. The local architect, Brightwen Binyon (1846-1905), is most famous in Ipswich for the Corn Exchange, but whose work includes Burlington Road Baptist Church, Westbridge Infants School (71-76 London Road, 1874) and Smart Street School.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Nethaniah 4

The lower tablet seems to be later (again there is an inter-word 'decimal point'):
'Two Rooms to be tenanted by members of the Church of
England parishioners of ST Mary Stoke or ST Peters'
The combination of the 'S' and 'T' in 'Saint' is of interest. An unusual form of typographical ligature.
Incidentally, Nethaniah is a personal biblical name meaning: “given of Yah.” Among others of that name was the son of Asaph who served in a company of prophets established by David. They issued their message with harps, psalteries, and cymbals.

Mrs Smith's Almshouses, Elm Street
At 27 Elm Street, opposite St Mary-At-Elms Church, is:
'MRS SMITHS ALMS HOUSES
Erected in the year 1760
for the Benefit of twelve poor Women
of honeft Life and Converfation
of the Age of fifty Years and upward
being Communicants of the Church of England
by Law Eftablifhed'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Mrs Smiths Almshouses[Photograph courtesy Mike O'Donovan]
This building is Listed Grade II: 'A mid C18 red brick building. 2 storeys and cellars. 7 window range, double-hung sashes with glazing bars, in flush cased frames. The windows are widely spaced in the facade. A central 6 panel door has a wood doorcase with moulded architrave, panelled reveals and a flat hood on brackets above a rectangular fanlight with vertical glazing bars. Above the doorway there is a panel inscribed with the words [shown above]. Roof tiled, with 2 square red brick chimney stacks. Church of St Mary at the Elms, No 1 Churchyard (St Mary's Cottage) No 25, Smith's Almshouses & Nos 29 to 33 (odd) form a group.'
Ipswich Lettering: Mrs Smiths Almshouses
This ancient lettering compares with that on the Henry Tooley Almshouses in Foundation Street and the almshouses in Colchester.  However, the buildings themselves are in  remarkably good condition.
(
Just a few yards down the road on the same side is a stone shield bearing the words 'Ipswich Board School'.)
The pleasant red-brick building houses eight well-appointed one-bedroomed flats with a garden behind. In 1720, Mrs Ann Smith, a widow of London, left 5,000 to be used for the benefit of ‘twelve poor Women, of honest Life and Conversation, of the Age of fifty Years and upwards, being Communicants of the Church of England as by Law Established’. The incumbent and churchwardens of St Mary-At-Elms are the trustees. The present almshouses, built in 1760, were refurbished in 2001. A celebration to mark the 250th anniversary of their foundation was held on Sunday June 27th, 2010. 

ST. MARY ELMS, IPSWICH PARISH RECORDS
Book  FB 104/L1/37  1756-1906
These documents are held at Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich Branch
Supplementary information: See Library Catalogues Ipswich 362.5 St Mary Elm
Contents:
Containing:- Copy of Anne Smith's will, 1756.
Copy of scheme for regulation of charity, 1756.
Copy of rules and orders for almshouses, 1759, made 1848.
Notice of opening of almshouses, 1765.
Elections of inhabitants, 1773-1889.
List of inhabitants of Mrs Smith's Almshouses, 1765-1906 extracted from FB 104/L1/37

Plan of north front of Smith's almshouses in St. Mary Elms's parish  FB 104/L1/38  nd.. (18th century)
Plan; Smyth's Almshouses?  FB 104/L1/39  n.d. (18th century)
Book containing copies of rules and orders concerning Smith's Almshouses in St. Mary Elms parish  FB 104/L1/40  1759
Smyth's Charity Account Book  FB 104/L1/41  1778-1791
Statement of accounts of Mrs. Smith's Charity  FB 104/L1/42  1802-3
Agreement between Benjamin Batley Catt and Trustees of Smith's almshouses in St. Mary Elms  FB 104/L1/43  1808
Envelope  FB 104/L1/44  1766; 1828
Draft instructions  FB 104/L1/45  1833
Part of final concord  FB 104/L1/46  16th century

(NB: There is mention in adjacent documents of: "Bundle of papers concerning legacy for almshouses made in Mrs. Ann Smyth's will in 1729".)

Cranfield Court, Chelsworth Avenue
This array of buildings fronts the (very) busy Tuddenham Road roundabout and boasts an attractive brick entrance gate with a lettered tablet.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cranfield Court   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cranfield Court
2013 images
'CRANFIELD
COURT
BUILT AND ENDOWED BY
LILIAN G. CRANFIELD
1939'

From their website: 'Set up in 1939 through the generosity of Mrs Lilian Cranfield and with inspiration from Dr C.F. Williamson, the Cranfield Court Charity is a privately funded and registered charity, which provides rented accommodation for retired people. The charity is for “the benefit of deserving people on low/middle income who are of good character and education”.' Cranfield's milling business was founded in 1884 by John George Cranfield, a pioneer in the early days of steel roller milling, setting up in business on his own account in Ipswich, joined by his brother Thomas. John George Cranfield's widow, Mrs Lilian Cowell Cranfield, survived him by nearly fifty years, and remained a Director of the Company until her death in 1955. Cranfield's ceased trading in 1999. A quiet echo of Cranfield's great days on the Wet Dock can be found on an old lettered sack.

Wm Paul Tenements Trust
This example in Back Hamlet is so easily missed that it counts as 'one that got away'. This is particularly so given that it was not until 2013 that we got round to including the trust's plaque in Felaw Street, even though we knew it was there. The 1924 terrace of houses sits low down behind a hedge in Back Hamlet, so you need to be on foot or bicycle to notice it:
'BUILT
1924
WM. PAUL
TENEMENT
TRUST'

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements 22013 images
William Paul proves quite elusive on internet searches, but William Paul II (as he is more correctly known) and his brother Richard Paul II must be the 'R&W Paul Ltd' to be found on the remaining silo near the Trinity House buoy on Stoke bridge. R&W Paul Ltd were incorporated in 1893. This information is taken from The British Malting Industry Since 1830 by Christine Clark:-

William Fraser Paul (1850-1928)
"On the one hand, he was ambitious and forward-looking … ; a self-made man, he preached the values of personal effort. On the other hand, the harshness and pace of life clearly repelled him. He valued his long-serving and loyal workforce, 'my old servants and fellow helpers in business', and sought to reward them. From an early age, he was active in civic life; a justice of the peace, member of the Ipswich Dock Commission, the Museum and Library Committee and a Trustee of Ipswich Municipal Charities. A staunch Liberal, he served as town councillor (1890-1908), alderman (1909-28) and mayor (1900-1). Notably, during his term of office, he refused to participate in the ceremonies or services of the established church. Wealth brought comfort, not personal extravagance; a growing involvement in agriculture – by the turn of the century he was farming at Freston and Kirton; and a commitment to improve the welfare of the town's citizens. For many years chairman of the public health committee, he instigated the public refuse system and TB sanatorium. For his work at Broadwater, an auxiliary hospital for wounded servicemen which he donated and also administered for the duration of the war, he received the OBE and the Order of St John. In 1914 the William Paul Housing Trust built its first tenements for the poor and aged. Shortly before his death he created Bourne Park in one of the most densely populated districts of the town. His obituarist, with much justification, described William as the greatest benefactor in the history of Ipswich."

A close run thing with Felix Thornley Cobbold, perhaps. W.F. Paul's name crops up in relation to the Girls Ragged School, Rosehill Library and, as mentioned in the passage above, Bourne Park.
See our Paul's malting page for the story of the company and its importance to Ipswich.

"The Trust has 80 [emphasis by this website] sheltered dwellings in management to meet the prime objective of providing Almshouse accommodation for the poor and elderly in the Ipswich area." Although this is the grandest carved tablet of its kind we've found, other examples of the Wm. Paul Tenement Trust can be found in Stoke Street, Felaw Street and Black Horse Lane.


While we are in Back Hamlet, the Victorian terrace facing the entrance to Alexandra Park features only one house in the row to be given a name:
'PARK VIEW'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Park View
Compare with the rather more upmarket but similar style of naming: Norfolk House. (A few yards down the hill from here is Trinity Lodge.)

1-8 Felaw Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements Felaw 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements Felaw 2
'1914
WM PAUL
TENEMENTS
TRUST'
It is just down the road from the famous 'Bake Office' lettering. In the background the Felaw Maltings business and training centre. Note the plural of 'Tenement' (compare with the Back Hamlet tablet above).
For surrounding streets including the nearby Maltings Terrace, plus the story and maps of Felaw Street and environs, see our Felaw Street page.

1-8 Stoke Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements Stoke 1
'WILLIAM PAUL
HOUSING
TRUST
-1954-'
Two sets of houses facing St Mary Stoke Church. Clearly from the tablet above each front door (photographed on a delightful morning when sunlight entered the camera lens and it started to rain), these later additions to the philanthropic housing erected by the Willam Paul Tenement Trust in 1954 have experienced a makeover. The word 'Tenement', perhaps thought to be suggestive of Victorian slums has been replaced on the stone tablets by the word 'Housing'. Research shows that the William Paul Housing Trust was registered as charity in 1960 and was active until at least 2009. The company is listed as being based at Hanover House in Staines and the Trustees as Hanover Housing Association; indeed the 'Hanover' sign appears on at least two of the properties shown here.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements 2

Black Horse Lane
Our researches have thrown up a similar Ipswich image on Flickr; it took a while to track it down. It turns out that we'd walked past it many times before. Firstly, follow Black Horse Lane round to what used to be the rear of Civic Centre:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements Black 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements Black 3
WM PAUL
TENEMENTS
TRUST
1928'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements Black 2
A similar tablet and dated keystone (also the intrusive modern floodlight) can be found above the central entrance facing the rear of the Methodist Church in Black Horse Lane.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements Black 5
   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Wm Paul Tenements Black 4

Cliff Lane Almshouses
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cliff Almshouses 1
2013 images
Simon Knott of this parish describes these as 'Cobbold Brewery almshouses, Cliff Lane, Ipswich' and who are we to question it?
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cliff Almshouses 3
'THESE HOMES
were erected
by Public Subscription
AS A MEMORIAL
TO
HIS MAJESTY

KING GEORGE V.

1938
AND WERE OPENED BY HIS SON
H.R.H. THE DUKE OF KENT
K.G. K.T.'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Cliff Almshouses 2
The tablet on the more recent extension to the left is more eroded:
'THIS PRINCESS ELIZABETH WING
WAS ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION
AS THE WEDDING GIFT OF THE PEOPLE OF IPSWICH
TO
H.R.H. THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH
ON THE OCCASION OF HER MARRIAGE TO
H.R.H. THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH
IN NOVEMBER 1947
IT WAS OPENED BY
H.R.H. THE DUCHESS OF KENT
1949'
The line four from the bottom is hardly readable, but seems to start with 'IN' rather than 'ON', so the precise date of the wedding (20 November 1947) doesn't appear to be specified.


See also Tooley Almshouses in Foundation Street. More almshouse lettering can be found in Colchester.


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2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express written permission