PloughingStradbroke has been very fortunate indeed in having had its history recorded over a long period by some exceptional photographers and artists. Placed for safe-keeping in the Suffolk Record office by Geoffrey Smith, the original glass plates were rediscovered and digitalised in time for a great display in the church on Millennium Day, January 1st 2000. Since then many more old photographs have come to light and others have been specially taken over the last twenty years to record the changes steadily taking place year by year in the Village.

This special talk was first prepared for an occasion in Ipswich where most of the audience did not know Stradbroke at all and had in fact probably never even been here. It may therefore be of specIal interest to people who have recently come to live here and who would like to know more about the history of Stradbroke over the past 150 years.
Of course, all those who have lived here all their lives and who have been to many of the earlier shows which I have given since the very first one soon after the Millennium day itself are very welcome indeed. You may have seen many of the photographs before but simply linking them together with recent ones in a new way gives us all an important insight into our Stradbroke as it is today.
Friday March 3rd at 7.30 in the Community Centre. Admission £3. Bar Open.
(Proceeds towards the new Play Area)

Frank WardThe Village Sign, usually called 'The Bishop' has been in place for just about 50 years. It was paid for initially by 'The Stradbroke Players' then our active amateur dramatic society.  The sign was designed by Frank Ward, a skilful artist born in the village in 1914, the fourth of nine children and who remained in touch with his family and Stradbroke until his death in 1998.

The oak for the post and the figures were given by Mr Peck, the owner of the almost derelict Stradbroke Rectory at the time. In the past, the Rectory had been a magnificent and impressive house but had by then fallen into considerable disrepair. Some of the rooms were even used for rearing chickens! Soon afterwards, it was demolished and the extensive gardens were used for the houses in what is now Bishop's Way and Woodfields. The red brick garden wall of the Old Rectory on Wilby Road still survives and the house just inside it is helpfully and accurately named 'The Bishop's View'. The two figures on the sign were two of the very few famous people who have lived in Stradbroke. 


The Bishop was Bishop Grosseteste who was reputedly born in Town House (now Lavender & Jude) in 1168. There is a plaque to his memory in the porch of the building. It states that he became Bishop of Lincoln in 1235 and died in 1253. There was a Teachers' Training College in Lincoln and since 2012, a University which bears his name. The younger man at his feet was an itinerant poet, James Chambers who died and was buried in Stradbroke Churchyard. He was born in Soham in Cambridgeshire in 1748 and a book of his 'Poetical Works' was published in Ipswich in 1820. He begged for food and shelter in Stradbroke and the district around and in return wrote poems for his benefactors. He called himself a 'poetaster'. He therefore missed the chance of meeting Bishop Grosseteste by a little more than 500 years! Such is artistic license! However, he would surely have delighted in being represented on the Stradbroke Village Sign! The original oak sign gradually deteriorated and by 2005 it was no longer possible to repair it. To replace it in seasoned oak would have cost too much and so moulds were taken from the original carvings and a fibreglass replacement sign was made. It was completed in Colchester by Ken Morgan and then transported back to Stradbroke.  Newly bright and cheerful, it was placed back on the original post in July 2006.

Bishop2Sadly, by the end of 2015 our village sign had become rather shabby and was in very much in need of repainting. After some research by Don Darling, the Parish Council appointed Wayne Townsend, a local professional sign-writer to bring it back to its original condition as best he could. When 'The Bishop' was taken down in January 2016 it became very clear just how bad a state it was in. The fibreglass was sound but the whole painted surface had faded badly. Different kinds of mould and moss had established a foothold and on top of that, the sign was well covered with a layer of bird droppings.

With the help of a high pressure spray at a local car wash, the dirt and the old paint was completely removed. The fibreglass surface was then ready for a good coat of primer, a crucial and necessary step in order to ensure the new top coat would bind properly. Using some of the original photographs as a guide, Wayne matched and added the base colours.Finally, he completed the fine details,especially the Bishop's cloak, the shading on the boy's smock and the marbled effect on the base.


Bishop3As you can see from the photographs, he made a splendid job of it. Frank Ward would have been delighted that the design that he did all of 50 years ago was again restored to its full glory.


Stradbroke has two Pubs, six Shops, two Hairdressers and visits by two Catering Vans.

Whitehart large

1. The White Hart, Church Street: 01379 384 915

A variety of meals from sandwiches to steaks are served every day at lunchtime and during the evening except for Monday lunch and Sunday evening.
A traditional roast lunch is served every Sunday.

2. Stradbroke Antiques & Coffee Shop, Queens Street:  01379 388 447QueensHead

This former ancient pub at the heart of the village was called at various times in its long history 'The Queen's Head' or 'The Queens Posting Hotel'. It closed last year and after extensive refurbishment, its beams, walls and linked spaces are now reopened as a setting for displaying a wide range of different antiques, with old clocks a speciality. Do come and browse through what there is on display or have a coffee and cake in the coffee shop.


Closed  Tuesdays. Open: Mon-Sat 10.00 a.m.- 4.30 p.m.   Sunday; !0.30 a.m.- 4.00 p.m.




3. The Ivy House, Wilby Road: 01379 384 634

Fresh local food is served six days a week.  It is closed on Tuesdays. If you would like to see  more details about the Ivy House Pub and restaurant and some typical menus, please follow the link to

G.Bakers4. Stradbroke Bakery, Queens Street: 01379 384 226

Home-made bread, cakes and pastries, groceries, home cooked meats,take away snacks and a range of newspapers. We also specialise in Wedding Cakes and those for special occasions.



 5. Lavender & Jude, Church Street: 01379 384 208

Do call before your next special occasion. Wedding Dresses, Evening Wear, 'Mother of the Bride' oufits, Jewellery and other accessories. Open Tues-Friday 10.00 a.m.-2.00 p.m....or by appointment.



6. Rolfe the Butcher, Queens Street: 01379 384 251

Prime quality fresh meat and poultry from your local supplier.
Freezer supplies.


G. Spar Dec 2014

 7. The Spar Shop, Church Street: 01379 388 547

Since it was refurbished and restocked, the Spar   is open seven days a week from  7.00 a.m. until 9.00p.m. It offers a very good range of Foodstuffs, Wines, Newspapers, Beers & Spirits. Lottery tickets can be purchased on site.


Poochshop8. Pooch Beauty Parlour, Queens Street: 01379 384 645
Maintaining the health and cleanliness of your pets.
All breeds and sizes welcome
Ears/eyes cleaned and nails clipped
Hand stripped when appropriate
Clipped and scissored to breed standard or to the owner's specific requirements. 'No Clippers' bath and tidy-up
A 'Before and after' Facebook Page can be created for you.


Pooch Notice

January 2018.     The Pooch Parlour has now moved to the Old Stables behind the Queens Head and can now offer a greater range of Products for your pets.  Do come and see what we have!






Lilly J jpeg 9. Lily J's Hair Studio, Church Street:  01379 38424

Stradbroke now has a fully equipped hair studio at its heart. In it, Laura offers a full range of different styles cuts, washes and colours for routine occasions  and also for  special events and for  very special occasions indeed.  Do drop in to the studio for a brochure and price list and also to discuss what in on offer.  Otherwise, please phone 01379 384 244.


ChipVan Church10. Ben's Fish & Chips

 On Thursday evenings from 5.00 p.m. Ben's  mobile van comes to Stradbroke and parks just outside Lavender & Jude's or the Spar Shop, depending on  the space. For details of exact times, for more details and to place orders, phone  Ben on 01953 681009


11.  Beefed Up Catering

No photograph this time but this well-equipped Mobile Van parks outside Spar or Lavender & Jude every Tuesday evening from 4.45 p.m. until 7.30 p.m.

Their menu consists of a variety of different burgers: Including !00% Beef, Chicken Fillet, Chilli and Pulled Pork to name but a few. They also serve children's meals, vegetarian options and have gluten free buns if you need them. Do phone 074827 45850 at any time to find out exactly what is available  or to pre-order and so avoid queuing.

PostOfficeServicesStradbroke's new Post Office is in the Library and is open whenever the Library is open. It offers a full Post Office service as is listed in the photo. If you want more information, please drop in or speak to Maureen.

Opening Times

Monday and Tuesday:  2.00 pm to 5.00 pm
Wednesday:                  Closed all day
Thursday:                      9.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm
Friday:                           2.00 pm to 5.00 pm
Saturday:                       9.00 am to 1.00 pm
Sunday:                         Closed all day.


Letters can of course be posted in the letter box in Queens Street at any time.  Collection times are shown below:  

Mon-Fri:   4.30 pm
Sat:          11.00 am
Sun:          No collection

New Kissing Gates

Gate1 Gate 2


At Wootten Green there had always been two difficult stiles, one very high, which gave access to the Wilby Road from Horseshoe Farm. They were necessary because the meadow was often the home for several horses. The stiles have now been replaced by two metal 'Kissing Gates' which are much easier to use and which can still keep the field secure for horses. Do try them out!

The gates were donated by Suffolk County Council and the work of installing them done by members of the Stradbroke Chartitable Trust.

Stradbroke is very fortunate in having some twelve miles of public footpaths. They are in good condition and most are cut either twice or three times a year by the Parish Council and by Suffolk County Council.  If you experience any problems, please contact Stradbroke's Footpath Warden, Dennis Merritt (01379 399382)

Please keep dogs under control and clean up after them.  There are red bins at strategic points around the centre of the village.

There is a free leaflet showing all the paths and copies can be found in the Church and at the Medical Centre.  Alternatively you can download one here. Footpath Leaflet