Town Clerk of Ipswich 1925 – 1946


Born: 26th September 1880, Ipswich.


Father: John Moffat, born 21st November 1850, Ipswich. John Moffat died 26th October 1932, at his residence 108, Rectory Road, Ipswich. Laid to rest Ipswich Old Cemetery, Section O.


Mother: Clara Moffat (nee Taylor), born 17th January 1856, Ipswich – daughter of Henry Taylor, a plumber and Mary Ann Taylor (nee Crisp), of Bath Street, Ipswich.




1881   Melbourne Villas, Wherstead Road, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich.

Alexander was a year old and living his parents.

John, 30, a Commercial Clerk – Woollen Draper.

Clara, 25.

1 female general domestic servant.


1891   May Villas, Rectory Road, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich.

Alexander was 11 years old and living with his parents and brother.

John, 40, a Ledger Clerk – Grocer.

Clara, 35.

Archibald, 6.


1901   May Villas, 108, Rectory Road, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich.

Alexander was 21 years old, a Clerk. He was living with his parents and brother.

John, 50, Clerk – Stationers.

Clara, 45.

Archibald, 16, a Clerk.


1911   61, Gainsborough Road, Ipswich.

Alexander was 31 years old, a Solicitor – Borough Council. He was married and head of the household.

Katherine, 27.

John, 1.


On the 11th April 1908, at the Friars Street Chapel, Ipswich, Alexander married Katherine Mary Hamblin, born 4th September 12883, St. Helen’s, Ipswich – daughter of Robert and Matilda Hamblin, of 19, Gippeswyk Road, Ipswich.


Katherine’s brother, John Edward Hamblin lost his life during the First World War. John was ranked a Lieutenant, of the Suffolk Regiment, 12th Battalion, he was killed in action on the 24th March 1918, aged 32. John is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. He was a widower with two young children. Robert and Matilda Hamblin became guardians of Amy and Robert.



Alexander was the Town Clerk for Ipswich Brough Council. During the Second World War Alexander was a Co-ordinating Officer – Civil Defence. He and Katherine were living at their family home – 8, Parkside Avenue, Ipswich.

Katherine, unpaid domestic duties.

1 other.

widowed mother – Clara Moffat.

2 female domestic servants.


On Thursday, 27th February 1908, the Mayor of Ipswich, Harry Raffe received a deputation representing about 200 unemployed Trade Unionists. Harry was attended by the Town Clerk, Mr. Will Bantoft and Mr. Alexander Alfred Moffat, of the Town Clerk’s office, who met with the deputation in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Town Hall. At the request of the Mayor, Mr. Francis James Ellis, a jobbing compositor and Mr. Robert Frederick Jackson, a stonemason submitted the programme which they wished to have carried out. First was an application to the Right Hon. John Burns for a grant, and it was pointed out that if other towns were able to get assistance, surely Ipswich might too. Next to work which might be found in Ipswich for the unemployed, Francis Ellis mentioned the provision of public urinals and of shelters at the various tramway terminal. Francis Ellis felt that an improvement might be made at Stoke Bathing Place, and that was a great deal of work which wanting doing at the Town Hall. Francis continued to say that if Ipswich Council saw their way to providing work, they would ask for the maintenance of an eight-hour day, and for pay at the Union rate for the district, even if they only worked three or four days in the week.

        Mr. Robert Jackson

Harry Raffe responded to say that personally, he was willing to do all he could, but before considering these propositions in detail, there were two questions to be answered – where was the money to come from, and would the Council agree to it? They must remember that it was the money of the ratepayers that they were spending. Furthermore, it must be clearly understood that no responsibility rested with the Council to find work for the unemployed and that the Council had NO FUNDS at their disposal for such a purpose. Harry suggested that if there were able-bodied men among the deputation they should apply for work at the Hadleigh Road, where 70 more men could be put on tomorrow. There were already engaged carpenters, painters, bricklayers, shoemakers, and so on. Francis Ellis and Robert Jackson protested! The Mayor responded by saying that he could not recognise the Trade Unionists or I.L.P. as such at all in the matter; they were there simply as unemployed ratepayers and in the same position as other persons. The Council could not make differences between the ratepayers, he, therefore, did not hold out any great hope of the Council taking action on their behalf in the way suggested.

In reply, Francis Ellis made a remark which led to a rather heated discussion between himself and the Mayor! The possibility of obtaining a grant from Mr. John Burns through the medium of the Distress Committee was debated at some length. Robert Jackson sounded the Mayor on the advantage of the piece-work system. Harry replied that he wished to be fair to both the ratepayers and the employed. Robert Jackson answered strongly to say that the Mayor’s behaviour that morning strengthened them in the idea of trying to get some of their own men onto Ipswich Council!

The deputation withdrew, thanking the Mayor for his time and in reply the Mayor promised to lay their programme before the Council, who would receive them at their meeting if they thought fit. E.A.D.T. – Friday, 28th February 1908


On Wednesday, 25th March 1908, a special meeting of the Ipswich Town Council was held at the Town Hall. The Mayor, Harry Raffe presented a report regarding a deputation from unemployed Trade Unionists, which had waited upon him on Thursday, 27th February. Mr. Francis Ellis had suggested that the Ipswich Corporation should employ Trade Unionists who were out of work and should pay them Union rate of wages for an eight hours’ day, he suggested the provision of public urinals, the provision of shelters at the various tramway termini, improving the Stoke Bathing Place, and in doing work at the Town Hall. The deputation also suggested that masons ought to be employed to lay flag pavement at Union rate of wages, instead of the paviours who were now employed in laying the flags on piecework. The deputation had admitted that the paving work was well done by the present Ipswich staff. Harry told the Council that he had pointed out that two questions at once arose – where was the money to come from to meet the proposed expenditure? – and would the Council at the present time sanction the outlay? Francis Ellis and Robert Jackson’s reply was that it should be paid for out of Mr. John Burns’ fund. Harry told the meeting that he pointed out to the deputation that no responsibility rested with the Council to find work for the unemployed. Any money which they expended would have to be raised by a rate, and rates could only be made for the purposes authorised by an Act of Parliament. He continued to tell the Council that he had offered at once to take 70 men upon the Hadleigh Road development scheme. This offer was declined by the deputation, who had stated that it was an insult to offer Hadleigh Road work to Trade Unionists! Harry had then stated that he could not make any distinction between Trade Unionists or members of the Independent Labour Party and other ratepayers who were in need of employment. The deputation then asked for their views to be put before the Council and asked that their application should be made to the President of the Local Government Board for a share of the grant made by Parliament for the relief of distress arising from lack of employment. Harry told the Council that as they had declined to accept work on the Hadleigh Road, I informed them that I could not see my way to make any application to the President of the Local Government Boar, but I would place their views before the Council. The Mayor then told the gathered gentlemen that he did not intend to say anything further.

Alderman Robert Stocker Paul said the Estates Committee had no plans of spending any money on either the Town Hall of the Stoke Bathing Place, if they did it would be put out to tender – the only fair way of spending the ratepayers’ money.

Alderman Frederick Turner said the Public Health Committee had arranged to build one urinal at the bottom of Long Street and they had applied to the Local Government Board for sanction to borrow the money. The permission had yet to be received.

The action taken by Mayor Harry Raffe to approve was moved by Alderman Robert Stocker Paul and seconded by Alderman Edward Colby Ransome and unanimously agreed to.

E.A.D.T. – Thursday, 26th March 1908

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