Photo of Waddling Duck

grid reference TM 232 432

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CAMRA Ipswich & East Suffolk branch.

last updated 21/01/2020

Foxhall Waddling Duck

historical closure era: Victorian / Edwardian

closed approximately 1844 though possibly later

Hall Rd aka Waddling Duck Ln

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It was flanked by a belt of trees and had a large back garden at the end of which once stood a cottage. Behind the beer house was the landlords house and both had separate entrances. The beer house had two chimneys, one served the copper where the beer was brewed and the other a large brick oven. Last landlord was David Brown**, who in addition to serving ales had a sideline selling "bloaters" from a horse and cart.

At one time the beer house was owned by John Cobbold, a member of the Ipswich brewing family, who also had an estate in Foxhall which included 23 acres of hops. A field in Foxhall is still known as the "hop grounds" the probable site of these gardens. These hops may also have been used at the Waddling Duck.

Reputedly in about 1844** the Waddling Duck attracted a lot of people because it was outside the 3 mile limit of Ipswich (in those days if you wanted refreshment and lived over 3 miles away from the pub you could be served at any time for up to 20 minutes i.e. outside normal beer house opening hours 5am until 12 midnight). It also attracted undesirables and was often raided by the police who prosecuted abusers of these drinking laws. Reputedly trade was very brisk on Sundays, with most drinkers gathering across the road (by law they were not allowed to drink their refreshments on the premises) and took to sitting on the bank and making ribald remarks about people who happened to pass.

Mr Cobbold's bailiff, who was a regular church worshipper, took an extremely poor view of these characters maligning both him and his womenfolk as they walked home from church on Sunday and after a couple of complaints the license at the Waddling Duck was withdrawn and never restored, and the property was then restored to a private dwelling.Many thanks to Wally Reeve who recounted this tale and for a while also lived in the building - the story was also reproduced in the Kesgrave & Rushmere Community News (Dec 2009).

The building has since been demolished; a modern house stands behind where the pub had been.

The 1844 closure date may be incorrect, as an unnamed beerhouse is shown at this location on this old OS map from about the end of the 19th century. larger map

old OS map

(** A David Brown is listed as a farm bailiff in Kelly's Directory in 1892 and also a David Brown is listed as a nearby beer retailer in Kelly's Directory in 1900, whilst a William Brown is listed back in the 1844 White's Directory. A Walter T Cobbold (gent) is also recorded locally in 1844, whilst Captain Earnest George Prettyman MP was the principal landowner in the area in 1900 (living at Orwell park) so there may be some confusion over dates or names related to this interesting tale).

Note. Landlord information from 1871 to 1901 is speculative, but the beer retailer's location deduced from the censuses appears to be correct. Only two pubs are known in Foxhall and this information is not for the Shepherd & Dog, which is explicitly identified in the directories and censuses. (This conflicts with the suggested closing date of "approximately 1844", although the 1851 and 1861 censuses only list the Shepherd & Dog so this could be a reopening or another nearby establishment.)

(Most pub, location & historic details collated by Nigel, Tony or Keith - original sources are credited)

Old OS map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.