Historic Court Discovered

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August 2nd 2019
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The 18th Ipswich Scout group formed in 1926. Since 1936 it has been based in a property on Cliff Lane, Ipswich. Originally the property formed part of the Cobbold Family estate, known locally as ‘Holywells’.

In 1935, following the demise of a senior family member ‘John Dupuis Cobbold’, the estate was broken down into ‘lots’ and sold off to various individuals and bodies. ‘Holywells Park’ was purchased by Lord Woodbridge (Arthur Churchman) and gifted to the town of Ipswich in 1936. At this time a farm was located on the boundaries of the park, and being part of the parcel land gifted to the town. ‘Ipswich Borough Council (IBC)’ rented the farm to a local dairy farmer. Little was known about a ‘hall’ shaped building tucked inside the woodland between the park and farm, and council records indicate a request by the farmer to create a cowmen’s house. However since the farmer was behind with his rent the request was turned down. Subsequently the Scout master of a newly formed group (Mr Pickersgill) requested use of the semi derelict building, to which the council agreed at 10 shillings per year.
In recent years the group has been struggling to raise funds due to the constrained financial climate. A change in management has resulted, with newcomer Mr Painter examining all aspects of the group. An early question was raised to a letterhead/stationary discrepancy. Why is the premises referred to as a ‘Rackets Court’?

Research has subsequently indicated that the building has very little history, and the group has been unable to date its construction. A few cryptic clues remain in council records indicating the building was originally referred to as a ‘Squash rackets court’. The Cobbold family were renowned rackets champions, with wins at Eton and Cambridge. This is commonly believed to be the reason behind the building subsequently being referred to as a ‘Rackets Court’, however the building is unsuitable for games of rackets since it is predominantly wood. Recently however it has been discovered that a building identical in construction and size was located at ‘Catton Hall, Norwich’ in 1897. This buildings construction date is also unknown, but fits a time frame when x-Eton pupils were migrating towards the game of squash. At this time, squash had no formal rules or court dimensions. It is assumed that since JD Cobbold was a member of ‘Lords Cricket Club’ who also had a similar building, that a ‘home court’ was constructed.

With the advent of this news the group is hoping for support in the renovation of the building to preserve its heritage for the game of Squash. Should any party or group be interested then please contact John Painter.