A look at life in Bury St Edmunds 1855 - 1955

News from the Bury Free Press

News from the Bury Free Press

Bury Free Press reader Mrs P M Marshall has sent us a copy of the Suffolk Century Story which depicts the paper’s coverage of the period between 1855 and 1955.

And her accompanying letter gives us an insight into life in Bury almost a century ago.

Mrs Marshall is now in her 90th year and wanted the treasured memorabilia to be entrusted to safe hands.

The special edition supplement carries a copy of the first edition of the Bury Free Press which was published on Saturday July 14 1855 .

Inside there are stories and photographs of happenings over the years including one when police applied to purchase stop watches to catch speeding motorists and one in which a Royal sporting party bagged 1,077 pheasants in a day at Fornham Park.

Schooldays were tough with one diarist in 1886 looking back 20 or 30 years and recording that one class was given the grand total of 23,450 lines in one week for some boyish prank at Bury Grammar School.

In 1911 the town had three cinemas and you could visit children’s matinees for as little as one old penny.

The supplement also recorded the creation of the new diocese of St Edmundsbury in 1914 while elderly folk living in Great Barton recalled the days of brandy smuggling.

Advertising in the supplement were two business which today continue to thrive, Glasswells and Greene King.

In 1855 the town had five brewers, 10 malsters and six coopers with many public houses brewing their own beer but by 1955 the breweries had amalgamated to become Greene King.

Mrs Marshall, who was born in Brandon, attended West Suffolk County School in Northgate Street. Her father owned a timber mill in Culford with his uncle under the name of Challis & Butcher and her brother and his wife owned the sewing machine shop Ashby’s in Hatter Street.

A special memory she has is of a man playing music using a bow and handsaw outside Woolworths - still seen today.




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