Queen’s Road, Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds Town Council met on May 3rd 1887 and agreed to re-name the existing Upper Brown Road to Queen’s Road in honour of Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee on June 20th. So on the next day Queen’s Road came into existence and Lower Brown Road became York Road.

The Brown element came from George Brown of Tostock Place, Tostock. He was a bit of a lad when young and whilst in the army he eloped with the daughter of wealthy James Crowe of Lakenham, Norwich, when she was at school in the city. Leaving the army, George with his father-in-law and brother-in law James Sparrow who had married his wife’s sister Ann, formed a bank in 1801 known as The Suffolk and Essex Bank. Their premises were those of the former Spink and Carss’s bank in Buttermarket that had gone bust.

Brown as the managing partner lived here until 1812 when he built Tostock Place, with an estate befitting his standing in the area. As was common in those days he had the road diverted, known as New Road today. Later the bank was joined by two other notable families, the Bevans and the Oakes. That business in Buttermarket eventually became Lloyds Bank in 1919.

As an astute business-man he bought several properties and no doubt land. In 1855 the Borough purchased off the executors of his will of 1838, over eleven acres of land at the end of Field Lane for £2,276 to become the new cemetery. This was because the Great Churchyard had been closed, as were many others, by an act of parliament that prohibited graveyards in urban areas.  Subsequently the Borough purchased more nearby land known as the Westfield Estate; it was sold off in large individual plots with lengthy gardens in some cases, building starting in the 1880’s.

Still a very desirable part of the town in which to live many of the properties have been extended over the years though Queen’s Road suffers from that modern street scourge, parking. The Victorians and Edwardians did not need off road parking, cars being a rarity.

Some tradesmen lived in the houses they constructed, for instance builder and carpenter George Barbrooke built nos.8 and 9 but left a gap between them (now filled in) so he could store his ladders. He was also responsible for no.10 in 1886. Here in 1907 clerk Henry Hinnels lived. He had obtained a mortgage of £425 from the Trustees of the Royal Oddfellows Pride Lodge which was quite a sum of money then, though nothing like the value nowadays! It passed into the ownership of Godfrey and Mable Hinnels in 1955 and when she died in 1975 the house was put on the market.

Adjacent to this property with its 130-foot-long garden is a small track with an old brick and flint barn that was thought to be a dairy at one time. It has now been successfully converted into dwellings. At the top of this track horses used to be kept in a meadow sandwiched between the cemetery and Queens Road.

Further along part of no.23 was removed to allow access to a small development on the meadow now called Cherry Tree Close. Up the road at the rear of no.43, where the coal, coke and wood yards of S Frewer were, there was just sufficient gap between him and his neighbour at no.44 to trade. This was built in 1887 and was later to become the grocery and provisions store of Alfred Howlett, then Queens Road Post Office. Alfred’s son Brian ran it until it sadly it closed on June 18th 2003.