Monday, May 29, 2006

Eastgate Street Bury St Edmunds


No running today instead we did further work on our family tree. Last week I visited the Suffolk Records Office and got myself a readers card.

You need some form of identity which has proof of your address to do this but other than this there is no charge. We have started to trace my maternal side of the family and it turns out we are all eastenders! Well not quite but it does seem that many of us lived in Eastgate Street in Bury St Edmunds.

My great grandfather Henry Nunn who was born in 1862 was a fishmonger who lived at 130 Eastgate St. His father William was also a fishmonger and he lived at 123 East gate Street. After various runs along this street it was clear that neither of these properties is still standing. Up in the Records Office there are boxex of records and clippings from newspapers relating to most roads in Bury. From this I managed to establish that the originals houses were replaced with the current elederly peoples homes as part of a slum clearance back in the 1960's - this stretches between the road up to the Vinefields and the former Eastgate School.

Todays visit centred on the Fox public house. The Fox dates back in records to at least 1480 and may have originally been a resting home for visiting monks to the St Edmundsbury monastery from France . The sign outside the pub of a fox dates back to 1936 and was designed by a Mr Basil Oliver. It was entered by Greene King in an Inn Signs Exhibition in London though how it fared I don't know.

The Fox was often used a billet for soldiers back in the 18th century, by act of parliament inkeepers couldn't refuse soldiers a bed and keep.If you visit the rear of the pub you can still get an impression of what were once substantial stables enough for 100 horses which were regularly on site in the late 19th century.

My maternal relatives the Nunn's had big families as was normal for the age. Many of the children of Henry and William Nunn when they left home also lived in Eastgate Street. Eliza Nunn when she married lived at a certain 20 Mustow Street in 1873. Today I managed to establish that 20 Mustow Street would have been the last house in Mustow Street before you are in East gate Street. In fact 20 Mustow Street is no longer there, next door 19 is but we couldn't see No 20. However on closer inspection it is clear that No 20 is now part of the Fox Inn. No 20 is directly adjacent to the new Eastgate Sign. I took a picture looking out of the pub whilst the diners were having there dinner which would have been Eliza'a living room if I am right.

You can see the outline of the original house which is now part of the pub at least that is how it appears. However this only leads to more questions. As I believe the original houses of Mustow Street up to Cotton Lane were pulled down to widen the roads back in the 1920's. So when did the Fox acquire No 20 Mustow Street?

Further up Eastgate Street another relative William Nunn was living at 37 Eastgate Street. Which was then a shop. On the census records William is shown as a general dealer so what would he have been selling? Presumably fruit and veg but more questions. No 37 East gate Street is still there. William married a Lucy and had 6 children between 1892 and 1900. They must have been fairly well to do part of the family as they also had a servant girl living there a girl called Florence Scales and a visitor living there called Alice Marsh. So there were 10 occupants in this house which seems to be the norm for then.

When William had his shop at 37 Eastgate Street from 1868 he would have been right on top of the railway line. In 1865 Great Eastern Railways opened a new line from Bury St Edmunds to Long Melford and there was a new railway station with a platform called Eastgate. The train line would have run pretty much where the A14 flyover bridge is now. The Eastgate Station was only open to passsengers until 1909. It seems the railway continued in operation for goods until the 1960's before Nice's Works was built on this site which opened in 1968. More questions as to where exactly the Eastgate Station would have been but I imagine it would have roughly been where the Bowling Alley is now.

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