Bramford Road, Ipswich – Then and Now
An Arnold Bennett Kind of Town
When Colin returned to Ipswich in 1947, he found a town still recovering from the effects of the war. “In those days I always felt that it was like a town from the north that had somehow slipped down a couple of hundred miles and got here! It was a very Arnold Bennett kind of town.” Colin Moss: Life Observed.
Bramford Road in the early 1950s (Photo David Kindred)
During those early years in Ipswich, Colin often felt very lonely and isolated “because I was divorced when I came out of the army … and Ipswich is not a town where you make friends easily.”
Bramford Road, Ipswich at Night (c 1950)
Colin found lodgings at Orwell Lodge, 233 Bramford Road, on the corner of Tower Mill Road, opposite the Bramford Road post office. He shared the house with Miss Jolly, the landlady, and her two unmarried brothers. “I had my own lounge and bedroom, and lived there for about thirteen years, by which time I was gradually getting integrated into Ipswich society, but not with much ease.”
Bramford Road marked an unhappy period in Colin’s life. It did though prove to be a wonderful source of inspiration for many drawings and paintings. As Andrew Clarke (Arts Editor of the East Anglian Daily Times) commented in an article in 2010, “As an artist, Colin drew and painted what he saw around him. His work functions not only as great art but also as a valuable social document about what life was like in Ipswich and across the country from the late 1940s …”.
Bramford Road Today
In the mid-1990s, after a gap of more than 30 years, Colin decided to go back and visit Orwell Lodge. The house was now derelict and in a sad state of disrepair, as his painting below shows. The week after Colin had returned to Orwell Lodge, the house was sold. The house was then quickly demolished and replaced with a modern, three-storey block of flats.
Orwell Lodge, Bramford Lane (1995)
The block of modern flats that now stand at 233 Bramford Road
Photography – Michael Jolly