Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ipswich, Suffolk

Turning a corner – once more

Regular readers will have noticed my liking for buildings that deal stylishly with an acute angle, giving builders the excuse for a tight, neat curve or even a tower. One such reader* has sent me a photograph of this kind of building in Ipswich (a place I don’t know at all well) and as he guessed, it’s very much up my street (or up my acutely converging thoroughfares). It was built in c. 1903 as the premises of H. Sneezum & Co to designs by a local architect, Harvey Winkworth. My correspondent tells me that the original design (of which there’s a drawing in the Suffolk County Record Office) had the building coming to a sharp point, but that this was modified, with the curved wall and pointed roof that we see now.

Pedimented sash windows and fairly orthodox early-20th century shop fronts form a facade that’s made just that bit special by the corner feature with its pointed roof. It stands out, that roof, and I should think Mr Sneezum must have liked the way his roof line stood out from the architectural and retail crowd. Perhaps other locals did too. “I’ll meet you outside Sneezum’s” or “Turn right at Sneezum’s” – I can imagine people saying things like that as they got used to this turret-like feature, standing guard at its corner and becoming something of a landmark. I too am pleased to make its acquaintance.

*Thanks to Bob Kindred for altering me to this building and supplying the picture.

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Postscript In my post above I avoided saying anything about what Sneezum's sold in their large shop. I'd seen online references to them operating as pawnbrokers, also to a shop (but it was unclear if it was this shop) selling clothing. A reader (see comments section) has come across another online reference, which includes an early photograph and says that someone bought a tennis racket, hockey stick, binoculars, and a camera there. A modern business called Sneezums operates as a jeweller and photographic retailer in Bury St Edmunds.


Jenny Woolf said...

Nice building, and I do love the name Sneezum. It sounds like something out of Dickens.

Chris Partridge said...

Lovely spire...and what great name! Sneezums....more about them and an old picture of the shop here

Philip Wilkinson said...

Jenny: Thank you. My thought exactly. Sneezum: Just the sort of person Pickwick might have got into a scrape with.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Chris: Thanks very much for this. I did look online, but didn't find this page for some reason - just another one with a different picture, close-up, which might well have been a different shop though it was hard to tell. And another reference to Sneezum's operating as a pawnbroker, amongst other things. I've added your link to the main post.