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Ipswich Tankard Inn

previously known as Theatre Tavern


opened 1736 (rebuilt 1802)

closed September 20th, 1961

last owner cobbold

13 Tacket St

grid reference TM 165 444

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last updated 26/08/2015

Demolished and the road has since been widened. The license was surrendered in 1961.

During the Second World War, the Tankard was designated for white GIs under US Jim Crow rules, their black compatriots having the Bluecoat Boy.

It was called Theatre tavern when the Theatre Royal stood alongside. Later the theatre was replaced by a Salvation army citadel (now also demolished).

In 1888 C H Evelyn White**** says of the Tankard:

One of the most noted of Ipswich Taverns is the "Tankard" in Tacket or Tankard Street, which although still standing, is despoiled of its original beauty. Here previous to the transformation into a Tavern, resided Sir Anthony Wingfield, one of the Executors of Henry VIII. The house must at one time have been a magnificent building, and the interior decoration simply superb. Formerly the large room, (that on the ground floor,) was richly wainscoted in oak, and adorned with flower wreaths and other devices ; including the Wingfield Arms, (encircled with the motto of the Order of the Garter,) male and female heads (some of which stand prominently forward,) the monogram H2 & Q. (Henry and Annie) &c. &c. On one of the panels is a curious representation of our Lord's Temptation in the Wilderness, the Tempted and the tempter appearing on the summit of a rock. But the chef d'oeuvre is the chimney piece, a curious and magnificent work of art, which unless seen can scarcely be appreciated and understood. The interpretations of the various subjects thereon depicted, have been as varied as they are certainly strange, probably each and all are wide of the mark. The local histories, both by Clarke and Wooderspoon give full accounts ; the former has an excellent drawing by H. Davy. Some years ago in 1843, the late Mr. J. C. Cobbold had the complete work removed to Holy Wells, where it may be seen very carefully restored to almost its pristine glory, and completely encircling the study. Thus the last portion of this ancient historical mansion disappeared from its original home : it is, however, satisfactory to know that it is likely to be better cared for where it now remains, and certainly will be jealously preserved.

The street appears to have been renumbered at times to take account of the many demolitions and realignments along the north side.

A report in the Ipswich Journal*** on 27 Aug 1743 states :

To be lett, the Tankard Inn in Tankard-Street, Ipswich. Enquire of Mr Henry Betts at the Globe, in Ipswich.

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

Died on the 11th November 1825, aged 74, Mr Hammond, of the Tankard public house in Ipswich.

A report in the Ipswich Journal*** on 17 Dec 1736 states :

Daniel Smith, Painter, is moving to the Tankard in Tankard Street where he continues his Painting Business as usual.

Listed as a theatre bar in 1865, 1869 and 1874

A report in the Ipswich Journal** on Dec-07 in 1878 when J Richardson was the landlord states that :

The Ipswich & Suffolk Licenced Victuallers Association banquet was held at the Waggon & Horses, Old Butter Market. The banquet was well served by George Wright Waggon & Horses, Mr Last the Mulberry Tree and Mr J Richardson of the Tankard.

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

Closure date from Ipswich licensing records.

(census information from Dudley Diaper)

(old PO directory information courtesy of londonpublichouse.com)

(** historic newspaper information from Stuart Ansell)

(*** historic newspaper information from Bob Mitchell)

(**** Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History)