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In the 17th and 18th centuries Ipswich was a town with attractive gardens. The population of the Borough in 1800 was under 12,000, a decrease of at least a thousand on the figures given in earlier records of 1689,1695 and 1755, when however many females were not registered. The number of houses was about 2,000. The town had hardly expanded beyond the old walls and ditches. The merchants' houses, many dating from Tudor times. had their gardens which were carefully attended. There were also gardens where herbs and plants were grown for the medical profession. Coyte's Gardens survives in name only as a small access lane between Princes Street and Friars Street. These Botanic Gardens were destroyed when Princes Street was made. Dr. Coyte was an eminent botanist. A relative of his of that period, c. 1800, was the Rev. James Coyte, a local entomologist, as recorded in Donovan's Natural History of British Insects, 1792-1813. In the 19th Century, when Ipswich began to expand rapidly, many market gardens and small orchards were created on the outskirts of the town. especially on the eastern fringes. Many persisted well into the present Century, supplying their produce to the local shops. My parents had such a property, for a short period, in Britannia Road before the First World War. when there were open com fields and a windmill opposite. In the remaining fragment of the old thorn hedge in front of the house, the male Hop still survives. Nearby is a small colony of Soapwort. much reduced due to the annual application of weed killer to the pavements and verges by the highway authorities. F. W. Simpson, 40 Ruskin Road, Ipswich. Suffolk IP4 1PT.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 18 part 4.

Old Ipswich gardens  
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