Building record IPS 771 - West Villa, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

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West Villa. Part of the former Ipswich Workhouse.


Grid reference Centred TM 191 450 (28m by 66m)
Map sheet TM14NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

2014: West Villa is a substantial red-brick and slate-roofed building adjoining Woodbridge Road to the north of Ipswich General Hospital. It was extensively refurbished in 1995 as a hostel for homeless families but was formerly a detached block of Ipswich Workhouse flanking its main entrance. The northern section survives from the original workhouse built between 1896 and 1899 and can be recognised on an architects’ drawing of 1899 showing a bird’s eye view of the whole complex. This block of 31.5 m in length is understood to have contained receiving wards and tramp cells along with a porter’s lodge, although the present detached porter’s lodge adjoining the gate is a slightly later addition. The building was extended to the south by a further 20m in c.1910, and three wings were added to the rear (west) in or about the 1930s. The main workhouse was converted into a hospital in 1955. The original internal layout has been extensively remodelled. The main entrance appears to occupy the same position as in 1899 and is linked to the northern gable by an ostensibly original axial passage. This passage contained a high ceiling supported by brick arches that may have divided a series of tramp cells on the west from a large ward lit by three tiers of windows on the east. Small areas of cream-painted brickwork remain exposed to give some indication of the austere, institutional surfaces of the 19th century. Given the extent of its internal alterations the building’s chief historic interest currently lies in its imposing and characterful exterior which remains largely original. Its decoration in the latest French Art Nouveau style reflects the affluence and architectural currency of late-Victorian Ipswich, particularly in the fine northern gable adjoining Woodbridge Road with its impressive window surround and terracotta volutes. The tiered windows of the single-storied range were unusual and sophisticated for their period but unfortunately the upper tier has been lost (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2015. Historic Building Record: West Villa, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, IPS 771.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Dec 16 2016 12:26PM

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