I was contacted as a member of The Ipswich Society by Tony
Martin. His grandfather was James Mason Martin of the solicitors,
Turner, Martin and Symes. His father was Leonard Martin who
owned a dental practice in Northgate Street, next to the County
Library. The family lived in the house on the floors beneath the
dental practice during the period before and during World War H.
Tony remembers that his father installed an ancient arch in the wall
of the garden. He believes his father obtained the arch from an old
local church. During the war his father also installed a rare concrete
air raid shelter in the garden. Tony remembers using it. Both these
artefacts still exist where they were originally installed by his father
and can be seen in situ.
They can be viewed by entering a gateway in Old Foundry Road
alongside the library in an area which I believe is a car park
for library staff. Tony wondered if the arch and shelter had any
architectural merit and he asked me to contact anyone who might
be interested. I spoke to John Norman of our Society and he
suggested that I contact Bob Kindred. Bob has kindly responded to
my enquiry with the following e-mail.
Thank you for alerting me to this. I was aware of the arch but not
its provenance. The semi-circular arched head to the stonework is
a puzzle as it is not usually associated with architecture apart from
Norman arches - which are usually recognised for their antiquity
and rarely dismantled or removed from the churches with which
they are associated. The wall and arch are curtilage structures
within the curtilage of the Listed buildings in Northgate Street and
I would assume them to be safe from any ill-considered proposals
without our prior knowledge.
The air raid shelter does seem to be an uncommon survivor,
probably because it is of very robust construction and because it
has not been in the way of any proposed extension to the premises
it adjoins. The Council is currently preparing an inventory of
buildings of special local interest and as this may be of historical
significance I will draw the attention of my Conservation Officer
to it. As it is in the Central Conservation Area it could not be
demolished without consent so is currently protected to that extent.
Bob Kindred, Conservation & Urban Design Manager, Ipswich