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Robin Bennett

Thanks for such a useful service to us all. Do you or any other contact have any pictures, and/or location details, of the works where Grimwade's, the Cornhill shop and company, made and repaired their garments?
Robin Bennett

Roger Smith

I have been in touch with Peter Grimwade on your behalf, Robin. He tells me that they did not have dedicated premises for this purpose. They had a tailor and cutter in the shop and a workroom upstairs. They made use of outworkers. Mr Grimwade may have a photograph but it will take him some time to find it. David Kindred does not have a photograph. Roger Smith

David Donovan

I am trying to trace my family tree and history and in the 1911 cenus my Gt.Grandfather,s address was 'next the home' Britannia Road, Ipswich. A friend, Paulene Good, who you know from the Fire Brigade, suggested asking you if you have any information? I believe it was the local workhouse ?
I lived in Ipswich until I was 26 years and now live in Portugal which makes it difficult to research locally.
Appreciate any information you can give or point me in the right direction!
Thank you David Donovan

David Kindred

This feature was published in the Evening Star's Kindred Spirits feature in 2003.
LIFE in a Children's Home must have been very difficult with no family to share life's ups and downs with.

Children would often find themselves in an institution after the family had hit difficult times.

It could be following the death of both parents and with no other family to care for them or a single parent left with little or no income to support the children.

The heartbreak of being left alone as a child is difficult to imagine.

Bryan Cloud, who lives near Bristol, appealed through "Kindred Spirits" recently for memories of the Britannia Road Children's Home in Ipswich, where he grew up when he was orphaned in the early 1940's.

I understand the home was originally the St John's Children's Home and was at the corner of Bloomfield Street and Freehold Road.

In the 1930's when children arrived they were stripped, bathed, examined and given a very short haircut.

Arrivals were greeted by an ex army sergeant with a huge waxed moustache. He ordered the children about with a very strict military manner.

Beatings were normal under the strict discipline. Other forms of punishment meant going to bed early without food or extra tasks.

The day started at 6am with a strip wash in a basin of almost cold water in the outside washhouse.

After breakfast of stodgy porridge, a thick slice of bread and margarine and a mug of tea, the children would carry out daily tasks before going to school.

In the evening floors were scrubbed with six boys kneeling in a line with buckets and brushes.

Saturdays always brought a dose of "opening medicine" before going to the washhouse. There was always a queue outside the doorless row of cold seated toilets!

Rex Gardiner, of Booth Lane, Kesgrave, was at the home in the 1940's, when it sounds as if things had improved from the decade before. He can still vividly remember how "sad and hurt" he was when he first went there, but has fond memories of how kind the staff was to him. Rex said.

"In my ninth year, when the Second World War ended, I was put there because my mother and father split up. Even so I have some fond memories of the place. I was at the Britannia Road Home for a couple of years. I did feel sad and hurt, but I soon bucked up when I met the other kids in the same boat. It was strict but the staff were fair".

"I remember Mr Churchyard who marched us to school in Clifford Road every school day. I recall running for the school at Portman Road during the annual schools sports day. The superintendent, who we called "Super", was a good man and his wife was the matron who was also very nice".

"I also remember Mr Battie who was also good with us. We had sport on Saturdays and I remember running and training on a field in Britannia Road which was where flats are now".

"I had a close friend called Roy Barlow who I shared work chores each morning after breakfast and before school we carried hot buckets of water to the toilets outside and scrubbed the seats and swilled the floors. Times were hard for us young ones but it did us no harm and I soon learned to stand on my own two feet".

"I also remember the staff taking us to Rushmere Heath for walks on Sundays and some of the older boys would "bunk off" (run away) but were usually caught and brought back to the home the same day".

"My father remarried in 1947 so I left the home then and went to Landseer Road School. I also met Roy Barbour there and it was good knowing someone at a new school".

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