September 2023 Meeting

Archive Views of Sudbury’s Yesterdays:
Talk by Phillip Richardson,
13th September 2023.
Phillip Richardson, a local businessman gave us a very interesting and informative talk accompanied by slides of local scenes.

Phillip introduced himself and told us that he had spent 40 years working in Friars Street. He worked for Norman Green, a firm of accountants. As a boy, he helped with sorting at Clare Post Office and enjoyed canoeing at the age of 11. He remembered flooding in Sudbury, particularly in Acton Square and he recalled the Old Congregational Church in Friars Street being pulled down in 1962 where the Gainsborough tombs were in the catacombs.

It was fascinating to hear that the current Quay Theatre was previously an Electricity Station after World War 1, powered by the engine of a sunken German submarine. He mentioned that the current Mill Hotel was a water-powered flour mill called Clovers Mill. There were many fires in Sudbury: at the Four Swans Hotel in North Street and of course, the large fire that destroyed the Oxfam Shop in Friars Street in 2015.

We learnt that in the 1960s, the Bongo Coffee Shop was located where the Salvation Army shop now stands and the “Railway Bell” pub on Station Road is now a fish restaurant. At the top of York Road stood a large water tower. Phillip worked for the Scouts and the site of the old Scout Hut by the Water Meadows was bought for housing. The “new” site for the Scout Hut near the Quay Theatre was the former location of the Gas Works so the site had to be capped due to the contaminated soil. Phillip helped with this work. This was of particular interest because Sudbury History Society meetings were held in the Scout Hut for many years.

A fascinating talk with interesting photos of bygone Sudbury. Many thanks, Phillip.

Photo: The severity of the 1987 flooding is well captured in this photograph taken in June that year! On the right are the former premises of Brown and Fenn the funeral directors – later used as a store by Acton Square Building Supplies and then rebuilt as a private residence. Source: .

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