Tag Archives: Scole Inn

The Ipswich Journal

Ipswich gained its local newspaper, The Ipswich Journal, in 1720, founded by John Bagnall who had recently moved from London to Ipswich. In common with most other provincial newspapers, the news was mostly digested from London sources, with very little local information. Gradually, notices of local events appeared, and then the crucial ingredient for a successful newspaper, and the source that makes old papers interesting to a modern audience, advertising. In the first few issues, the only advertisement was for Bagnall himself and his printing office.

By 1721, Bagnall was including ads from other, paying, customers, such as this one from March 1721 for William Craighton.

Along with the newspaper, Bagnall printed and published a few local books, including John Kirby’s Suffolk Traveller in 1735. Bagnall continued publishing the paper for almost twenty years, until his business was taken over by William Craighton in 1739. Craighton restored the original title of the newspaper (Bagnall had re-titled it the Ipswich Gazette) and got a new type-face for it. The format and content remained much the same. Craighton published several books, the industry having picked up pace since the 1720s and 1730s. Among his publications were Kirby’s Historical Account, and the first edition of the Method of Perspective. Craighton died in 1761, and the newspaper and printing business continued under his sister, Elizabeth Craighton, and nephew, William Jackson. Jackson bought out Elizabeth Craighton’s interest in 1769, but in the 1770s he ran into financial difficulties, joined the East India Company, enlisted with Clive in India and was never heard of again.

Meanwhile Elizabeth Craighton had restarted the newspaper with the help of another nephew, Stephen Jackson, and a different printer. Under various proprietors the Ipswich Journal continued until 1902, when it closed citing lack of advertisers and competition from more recent daily newspapers and monthly magazines.

The local newspaper may not have been used much for local news, but it was seen as a valuable medium for advertising, especially for books. Kirby had numerous advertisements in the paper, and we shall meet some of them. To whet your appetite, here is a rather charming ad from 1740 for Kirby’s Scole prints.

Watson, S.F. Some materials for a history of printing and publishing in Ipswich, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, 24, 3 (1946/1948), 182-227.

Wiles, R.M. Freshest Advices. Early Provincial Newspapers in England, Ohio State University Press, 1965.

The Inn at Scole

One of Joshua Kirby’s earliest known works is a depiction of the White Hart Inn at Scole in Norfolk, just across the border from his native Suffolk.  The White Hart Inn was a coaching inn that was famous for its enormous sign that stretched across the road, was large enough for coaches to pass underneath, and contained a mass of carving, mostly life-sized.  The sign was supposedly built in 1655 for James Peck, owner of the building, at the astronomical price of £1057. John Fossey engraved Kirby’s depiction and the prints were issued in 1740.  The engraving measured 17.5″x22″ and included detailed representation of the sign with all its figures at a scale of half an inch to a foot. After Kirby’s death, the engraving was reprinted in Volume 2 of M.J. Armstrong’s 10-volume History and Antiquities of the County of Norfolk (1781).

Kirby's Scole Inn

Part of Kirby’s Scole Inn, showing the sign

The Inn was also known for having had a large round bed that could accommodate up to 40 people.

The building still exists, and is still an Inn, although sadly the sign is no more (nor is the bed).

Scole Inn now