Memories and Mementos
A Bite of Delicious Heritage
It was just one photograph that my husband took that made all the difference. You know, the sort that sends goosebumps up your arms and shivers down your spine.
We were inspecting. I was there with my young son, clambering up the dilapidated steps of the the once grand gardens of ‘Lakemba’ on Denmark Hill, when he took the shot. There was another staircase there, boarded over, which lead down to where a tennis court used to be below the blue stone retaining walls. I ponder.
The prominent Cribb family, who graced this residence for over 50 years, would have played tennis there during grander times.
He captured my reaction. A nostalgic rush of excitement, a look of pensive anticipation. It was the photograph on reflection, that sealed the deal. We signed on the dotted line, no turning back. Yes we are like many, deeply nostalgic when it comes to authentic period architecture, consumed happily and inspired by a time when detail and craftsmanship were king.
We could spend many a day strolling through the streets of Ipswich’s pounding heritage heart. So come with me for a slow walk to explore a couple of bites of delicious heritage detail we love.
Almondsbury c1883 and Her Children
I’ve always felt that Denmark Hill is a great evolutionary lesson in local architecture. It has, in my opinion, some the best examples of period properties. Quite honestly, you could crawl all over this hill and not only gain some great cardio but be back several times over, and you’d only get to see the tip of the iceberg.
Even some of the most authentic heritage souls (of which many exist in my home town) are surprised to notice a few more details than they expect.
This stone and decorative brick beauty resides on the corner of Park St and McAlister St on the southern slopes of Denmark Hill. Her long and strong lines are balanced by lighter lashings of timber detail in the pediment, fence and verandah spaces. I relish the intimate and tactile details of each finish which work together in harmony. Texture on texture, completely drool worthy and just overflowing with character.
I would suspect it was a ‘forever home’ for George Williams, a well regarded builder of his time, apparently the foreman for Brynhyfryd mansion (now demolished) plus many notable others. This property likely served as a statement of his success positioned nearby the incredible ‘Gooloowan’, the instantly recognizable residence of distinction for one of Ipswich’s most notable forefathers, Benjamin Cribb.
He spread the love of his signature style, reportedly building several houses in this precinct in which his family resided. I like to call these homes, the ‘children of Almondsbury’. Can you find them on McAlister St? They share beautiful brickwork features adding a distinctive old world appeal to the streetscape. Definitely an ‘aha’ moment in design synergy and detail.
Detail Down on Warwick Rd
Walking down Quarry St towards Warwick Rd, I am always taken back by the grandeur of ‘Gooloowan’. An iconic residence c1864, unmistakable in her mansion appeal. I often imagine long tables swathed in beautiful white linen with vintage tea cups and perhaps a dash of champagne under the mature trees in the formal garden. What life may have been like to spend an afternoon like this? I digress.
As Quarry St meets Warwick Rd I love to stop and ponder this decorative timber beauty c1890. It was a glorious era of cast iron lacework where it seemed that locals in this area competed for the ‘most elaborate and romantic facade’ title.
I often swoon over her extensive layers of detail. Iron lace ridge capping, paired eave brackets, twin veranda posts with moulded capitals and plenty of finely carved fretwork in the pediment. The one thing I really treasure about this lady is her cast iron lacework, apparently known as ‘Ipswich lace’ a distinctively local pattern.
Can you find this pattern elsewhere in Ipswich? Take a closer look, not all patterns are created equal.