Balls (& Gibson) Garage

See Organ Store at The Oak

Barber's shop

Just opposite the entrance to F J Nunn & Sons there used to be a barbers, in a wooden hut, run by two brothers(?) who lived in Eastwood Cottage; when they ceased trading it became derelict, used for a while as an informal youth drop-in centre. Eventually a storm blew down a tree onto it. Previous to the barbershop the hut had been used by a shoemaker. It can just be seen in the distance on the left in this, and on the right hand side of the road in this picture.

Botany Bay Farm

Map Location n22 This was a medium-sized farm of about 50 to 60 acres. In the 1930s and 1940s Alfred Johnson was farmer here, employing two men. Raymond Holloway in 1948, Reginald Cullen in the 1950s, Gerald Green then David Green in the 60s-80s. The farm fields themselves were among those taken over by Dennis Dyball and he established a grain store in the field at the corner of East Wood.

The Cedars

Map Location se29 The Cedars stands on the Cross Street - Warren Lane corner (to the right of this picture.

Church Cottage

Map Location sw07

Church Hall

Just visible on far left of this picture of the school (I'd welcome a better picture, and more reminiscences). It played a significant role in village social life, though it was on the small side. Warmed by a coke burner, and having no toilet, it served several groups. Badminton was severely cramped, and the stage was very narrow.


Map Location n16 Cobbler/barber opposite Nunn's, just showing in this street scene.

Durrant's Saddlery

The house on the corner of Grove Lane, now Yew Tree House, was built by Robert Durrant in 1870 - it has his initials high up on the west gable end. The family occupied the house for 99 years until 1969, when it was sold to a Mr Chenery. Now occupied by Mike Mulley and Beverley Winters, who took it over in about 1982.

Robert and Harriet Durrant had three daughters: Harriet, a schoolteacher for many years at the Council School, Janet (dressmaker) and Olive (milliner).

Eastbury, Chestnuts

Map Location nw27

Eastwood Cottage

Map Location n03 In 1951 there was a Sidney Lord who was rearing poultry here at Eastwood Cottage

"Farm Meadow Cottage"

Map Location nw03 There was still a thatched cottage on this spot when we came in 1988, but it rapidly declined and was eventually demolished to make way for the Farm Meadow housing development. It may be the one referred to by John Redit, speaking of his boyhood when the Redit family occupied Old Farm Cottages.

The Gables

The left of the pair, late 19th c. Miss Caroline Watts lived here for many years.

Mr Green's Hut

Map Location n28 Frank Green (Jean Folkard's uncle) had a little shoe-repair hut on the northern corner of the bacon factory drive, about where the transformer now is (some foundations still visible). Later it became a barber's shop. Jean says: "This was during the war, so I don't remember it myself. It wasn't a cobbler: just a depot, the work being done in Norton; perhaps only my mother and aunt came over to [serve at] Elmswell; perhaps the shop sold tobacco too."

Half-Acre, Grove Lane

Map Location n20

Grove Farm

Map Location n05 This was a small farm with a few dairy cows. It was run by Israel Custerson with one man in the 1930s and 1940s, and from 1948 until the early '70s by Wilfred Rushbrook. Dennis Dyball bought the farmland and the farmhouse became a private residence. In the 1980s, sold about 7 acres to the parish council. This enabled them to establish there the sports field for the Elmswell football team, after their former pitches were lost to housing developments.

Harnessmaker & Saddler

Map Location n17 Robert Durrant was a saddler and harness-maker, on the corner of Grove Lane.

Hill Farm

Map Location n01 Ella Kinsey was born here in 1907. Her father found farming unprofitable, and gave it up in 1917 to become a tax collector; he sold much of the farm to the surrounding farmers, and they moved to Cooks Road.

Dick Burch: " In the 1930s and 1940s Harold Miller farmed this small arable farm of about 30 to 40 acres, with one worker. In those days the landscape here would not have looked so open since there would have been fields fields of merely 5 to 6 acres in extent, all surrounded by thick hedges, both here and all over the rest of the parish. After 1948 Albert Armstrong and then Geoffrey Armstrong had this farm until the early 1970s. The land was sold and Blacks of Bacton who already owned Hardings Farm just to the west, purchased some of it and Rowley Miles of Great Ashfield bought the rest. A horse riding establishment was set up here in about 1985. So here (and also at Willow Farm and at New Hall) we once more have livestock in some of the Elmswell fields."

Homefield Cottage

On 1841 map this cottage was occupied by Reuben Sayer, tailor, and the field behind was named "Home Meadow", both owned by Robert Jackson. Why Home Meadow? Street Farm had Home Field and Further Home Field closer to it than this; and for ownership reasons it can hardly have been the Home Field for White House Farm. The cottage belonged to, and was eventually pulled down by, Frank Nunn from some time after 1909 until about 1946.

We think Caroline Watts lived here in the 1880s, held a two-week mission in 1884, erected a small iron church for 4 years. Perhaps Homefield is in the background of this picture

Kay's, Barbers Shop

Map Location se26 There was a barber's on Wetherden Road, on the south side somewhere near the end of Prescott Drive.

Stan King: The barber was Mr Kay. The house was of brick, but DIY, like a doll's house, owned by Mr Leeks (who also had the PO); later it became a grocer's shop, and May Fox worked there for a time.

Kiln Farm

Dick Burch: A medium sized farm of 89 acres of arable land, employing two farm workers, when Wilfred Prior was the farmer in the 1930s and 1940s.Also pigs, chickens and bullocks kept on this mixed farm. In 1951 Hadlow Wright was running the farm and a small brick making business. In 1951 Hadlow Wright was running the farm and a small brick making business. Soon afterwards George Wright was farming here. Arthur Pink ran Kiln Farm in the 1960s and after his death his widow Mrs Dawn Pink carried on, until Jim Baker bought the farm in the early 1970s. The farmhouse now became a Bed and Breakfast business. The former remains of the brickworks and brick pits in the fields around became overgrown. There was soon not much evidence of it to be seen, just like over at the much bigger Woolpit Brickworks. They used to be close by up the A45 main road, but they had been closed down in the early 1950s. Of course, with the new wide A45 by-pass being constructed here in the late 1970s, it is a bit difficult to remember what this part of the parish looked like As for the Kiln Farm fields they remained more or less the same, except for those along the Elmswell ridge, where they were partly covered by the new housing development in Warren Close.

The Limes

The right of the pair, late 19th c.

Linden Cottage

Map Location nw06 Brian King was very keen on railway memorabilia! The right-hand of the pair is Old Manor House


Next house west of Ivy House on School Road. It appears on the 1814 map (I think). Difficult to get a good picture from the road...


Map Location se20 Until only a few years ago, Mr and Mrs Lufkin had an excellent hardware store in New Road, opposite 'Rannochs'. Sadly, Mr Lufkin died soon after retirement.

At one time there was a radio shop near here, run by Mr Wright, whose wife was sister to Bill Armstrong.

Stan King: Mr Wright ran a radio shop where the Lufkins later had a hardware shop (halfway along new Road, east side).

Mann's Court, once Thedwastre RDC offices

Thedwastre RDC offices in Cooks Road, opened in early 1950's?, now Mann's Court, retirement accommodation. Cooks Road view

Mitford House

Map Location c12

Nethy Cottage

Newson's Coal Office

Map Location c20 North of the railway, next to Jewson's Sack Store - see postcard

The Oak (beerhouse), Oakdene

Map Location n07 There was a beerhouse called 'The Oak' out along Ashfield Road, in this house now called 'Oakdene', next to the Organ Store. A cattle drover Charles Rudland met mentioned staying at The Oak pub when he drove down to Elmswell; it had a side shed along Oak Lane used as a stable etc for guests. See publican list.

In 1933 Ball & Gibson had 'Oakdene Garage' here.

In March 2011 the proprietor of both the Organ Store and Oakdene, Paule Wise, told me that the house was built in 1830 by same builder (he thinks) as did the front of Whitehouse Farm and maybe East View - Woolpit whites and very fine pointing. The Oak was originally owned by the squire of the Lord of the Manor (Tavistock); sold to a lady in 1870 and enlarged by 50% at the north end; two men bought it in 1890, and opened the north end as a beerhouse, later acquired by Greene King. The latter sold it in 1919 with a covenant that it could not be used to sell beer without their permission.

In a barn bordering Oak Lane, Mr Williams started his egg business, moving after a year or so to the New Road site. There was another barn on the Ashfield Road / Oak Lane corner which housed a blacksmithy - Paule pulled it down as unsafe.

The Organ Store itself is a fine building (better seen inside) like a 1920s church hall. Originally a cycle shop (whose? - could have been Herbert Armstrong), later a garage (Balls) until the 1950s. When Paule came in 1977 he used it as a warehouse until 1989.

Olive Cottage

Olive Cottage dates from 1899 (there is a dated brick just below the roof ridge), and was put up by Nathan Warren for his daughter Katherine, who sold to Alice Gertrude Chambers in 1939; she sold to Mr John William Hayward in 1954, and he to the Rudlands in 1960. In the 1911 census there was a Huff couple here, so maybe they were renting from Katherine.

We can just see Olive House on one old photo, and the one to its left is a clay-lump house.... The other half of Olive Cottage used to be called "Sunnyside" - see conveyance. Not to be confused with the one near the PO. There were 2 wells - a drinking water one at the bottom of the garden and a soft water one by the house (it took the drainage water from the house) - the 1939 conveyance describes mutual rights. The soft water well was filled in, for safety, when the cover rotted.

Oliver House, Eagle House

Map Location se01

"Pightle Cottage"

Map Location nw30 My name for a thatched cottage that used to stand where Pightle Close branches off School Road, as seen in this photograph.

According to May Fox, Mrs Scase and Mrs Fuller lived in these cottages when she was born in 1920.

Redit's Smithy

Map Location se19 The 1904 OS map shows a smithy in New Road, just south of Roseacre, and something can be seen on the aerial photo. The 1871 and 1881 censuses show the Redit family as blacksmiths - perhaps this was their place....

Rose Cottage

Map Location n13 Owned in the early 20th c. by Alfred Nunn, Frank's brother.

Rose Cottage, New Road


Map Location c33 NB: in 1939 the left-hand semi with Olive Cottage in Oak Lane was also called Sunnyside.

The Elmers once lived here.

Tin lock-up, School Rd.

Map Location nw31 There used to be a small lock-up shop at the right-hand end of the row of cottages which begins with Tudor Cottages on the left, maybe just visible in this photo, beyond the thatched cottages.

Ella Kinsey: Mrs Hawes shop: in School Road - actually that was the shop I eventually had; when she opened it she was tobacconist, confectioner, sold pop drinks, ice-creams. Had about 4 tables in there where in the evenings the lads of the village used to play cards and drink (minerals). Mrs Davidson had it when the war came, and she found she couldn't get a licence unless she sold everything.

May Fox: Next door was Mrs Hawes who owned the galvanised roof hut shop, general store, made the most beautiful ice cream.

Stan King: little grocer's shop, handy little place.

Jill Jacob: There was a shop in School Road, opposite the Fire Station - a tin hut, selling groceries, and you could get "farthing chews".

Somebody told me it was owned by Mr Leeks, who ran the Post Office.

Victoria Terrace

Map Location c10 No.1 is nearest to the railway, No.5 (currently Margarets Hairdresser) next door to the Old bank House; Mr Jacob's family was at one time in No.1, with a car-repair business adjacent. Jill Jacob: Beany Baker the cobbler moved to No.5 from out along Ashfield Road. A postcard shows 'Aldridge' at no.5.

Another postcard shows a workshop by No.1 which must have been George Jacob's 'Station Garage'.

Vine Cottage

Vine Cottage is on the left, Vine House on the right, and a modern Orchard House at the back. Vine Cottage and two associated cottages were sold in 1913 when Arthur Smith (poultry dealer, 33), Mrs MaryAnn Willingham (school cleaner, 51) and Edward Pyke (blacksmith, 50) were in residence, but which were the two small cottages? Nethy Cottage might have been one, but more likely they have been demolished.

Vine House

Virginia House

Another picture shows the house under construction, probably around 1900, but after the pair Limes/Gables next door to the right. The picture was reproduced in the Bury Free Press in May 1974, the original have been loaned by W J Borley, then living in Woolpit. It was said to have been taken in 1900, and the men standing were named as John Borley (W J's father), Harry King, Herbert Brand, Bert Mulley, Charles Brand, Herbert Nunn and Fred "Bunker" Farrow.

Walnut Tree Cottage

Map Location c08

Willow House, School Road

Map Location nw26 There was an extensive fire here in about 1941, when some of the Baker family lived in Willow House. Photo 2

Willow Wood Farm

This farm was off the 'Hundred Lane' at the far end of Grove Lane, to the south-east of the former wartime airfield. A small farm which lost all but 10 acres of land when the American airbase was built. Before the war, when the agricultural depression made it very difficult for Suffolk farmers to make a living, a Scotsman William Tolfrey came south and bought up this farm. He, with one farm worker, put the fields all down to pasture and began breeding sheep and bullocks. He continued farming here after the war, but in 19948 a C Sharman is listed as resident.. In the early 1950s Archie (Archibald) Reis, whose poultry business (see Cubbit's Farm) had been disrupted by the construction of the airfield runway, was here at Willow Wood Farm.

Winterthorn (Pippins)

Map Location c02

Yew Tree Cottage

In Hawk End Lane, adjacent to Hawk End Cottage. According to information kindly provided by Ian & Sue Hill (letter), the late acquisition of this house by the railway company may well have influenced the exact position of the permanent way, and the new stationmaster lived in this house when the railway was first built.