Photo of Bell

Ipswich Bell

also traded as as: Blue Bell

historical era: Victorian / Edwardian

closed 1873 (another source says 1893)

1 Westgate St

grid reference TM 162 446

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CAMRA Ipswich & East Suffolk branch.

last updated 26/08/2015

Also listed at Cornhill and corner of Cornhill & Westgate St.

Long demolished. This corner was long known as "Bell Corner" and was the scene of laying the first stone of a new pavement in the year 1793, under an act that had been obtained for "paving, lighting, cleansing, and otherwise improving the town of Ipswich****."

Another pub of same name may be mentioned on Museum St.

These premises were listed in the 1844 White's Directory with carriers operating from the inn to Chelmondiston and Shotley. The building was also later called the American Stores before the site was eventually totally redeveloped as Grimwade's gents tailors. Since that shop closed it has gone through many different guises.

A report in the Ipswich Journal*** on 18 Dec in 1802 states that :

To the RAMPANT HORSE Inn (Late The Chequers), St Matthews Street, Ipswich - Thomas PRATT, from the Bell, Cornhill...has now fitted up the above house in a commodious stile.

A report in the Ipswich Journal** in Aug 1825 states :

To be sold by auction, unless previously disposed of by private contract, the Bell, Corn Hill, Ipswich, (along with 6 other Suffolk public houses, Admiral's Head, Blue Coat Boy, Bricklayers Arms in Globe Lane, Porto Bello, George the Third, in Ipswich and the Pye at Stonham). Any person desirous of purchasing all the above houses may be accommodated with a freehold brewery and plant, nearly all new, capable of brewing upwards of 7000 barrels of beer a year; together with an extensive beer and spirit trade, to which may be added the wine trade, with store rooms, vaults, liquor warehouses, hop lofts, two counting houses, stables for 12 horses, with hay and straw lofts, coach house, cooperage, cart sheds, yards, etc. An excellent built malt house, 48 coombs steep, with barley chambers capable of containing 700 quarters, malt shops and granaries that will contain 2000 quarters of malt; a convenient Mansion in front, and cottage adjoining, with another cottage at the back entrance. Possession may be had at Michaelmas or Christmas, or later if required.

A report in the Ipswich Journal** in Mar 1830 states that : Wednesday last died, aged 22, Samuel, son of Mr Haxell, of the Bell Inn, St Mary Elms.

A report in the Ipswich Journal** in Jan 1845 states that :

To be sold by auction, part of the household furniture and effects of Mrs Ellen Doughty, the Blue bell Inn, Cornhill, Ipswich, including tent and French bedsteads, 7 featherbeds and bedding, mahogany double and single chest of drawers, chimney and dressing glasses, a large painting of the Holy Family, set of mahogany dressing tables, horsehair and hollow seated chairs, and sundry kitchen and culinary requisites.

A notice in the Ipswich Journal** in Dec 1845 states that :

Assault. Caution to all rakes.
The following case of assault came before the magistrates, at the Town hall, Ipswich in December 1845. The complainant, a young man, called Charles Redgrave, who had resided at Ipswich during the last 12 months; the defendant was Eliza Woodruffe, barmaid at the Bell public house, Corn Hill. The complainant said that on Friday morning last, at about nine o'clock, he went to the bell for a cup of coffee. The defendant, who was behind the counter, was employed mixing some ingredients for cleaning brasses; he jokingly asked if the mixture was for customers at the bar? She said, "Don't come here talking to me". To carry on the joke he tried to take the cup out of her hand, at which point she seized a poker and a scuffle ensued, during which, she took a knife and cut his knuckles and nose. He left immediately and went to the police house covered in blood. He called, as a witness, one of his companions, William Childs, who said that the incident occurred at 7 o'clock. He said that Redgrave was rather intoxicated, having been out all night; also stating that the complainant would not let go of the cup and received several cuts to his knuckles. The defendant then threw the knife down and ran into the parlour.
In answer to the charge Woodruffe said that at 7 o'clock on the morning in question the complainant and two companions entered the bar in a state of intoxication. They used very indecent language and their actions corresponded. The complainant especially insulted her, stating, "she was only a barmaid, and had a right to put up with any insult offered to her by customers". He then came behind the counter and using indecent language tried to take a cup out of her hand. She told him that if he did not desist she would hit him on the knuckles; and in the scuffle he got cut with the knife. In support of her statement Woodruffe called fellow servant at the Bell, Sophia Smith, who said, that when the three men came to the bar, the defendant ordered them out. The complainant refused to leave, when the defendant took a poker out of the fire, which the complainant seized, and burnt his hand, and dropped it on the floor. At this time the defendant had a knife in her hand with which she was mixing stuff to clean the brasses of the engine; when the complainant seized the cup the defendant "gave him a tap on the knuckles with no intention to hurt him." The complainant and companions used very obscene language and otherwise conducted themselves in a manner highly improper.
The Magistrates dismissed the case; upon which the complainant remarked, "I bow to your superior judgement.

A report in the Essex Standard & General Advertiser**** on 17 Jul in 1867 states that :

Auction of the Bell Inn & American Stores, Cornhill, Ipswich. The capital & well-frequented tavern, also the Fishmonger's Shop & Dwelling House adjoining, as the whole is in the occupation of Mr J.W. SIMPSON.

(Most pub, location & historic details collated by Nigel, Tony or Keith - original sources are credited)

(detailed information from Old inns of Suffolk by Leonard P Thompson)

(** historic newspaper information from Stuart Ansell)

(*** historic newspaper information from Bob Mitchell)

(**** from proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, 1888)