The Inn standing on the historic north east side of Fore Street, opposite the east end of Salthouse Street, was not always known as the Lord Nelson. Until sometime between 1790 and around 1805 it was called the Noah’s Ark, which was often abbreviated to Ark.
The earliest reference to the Noah’s Ark is 1672, during the reign of Charles 11, when the local Headboroughs (head of the administrative district) ordered William Stephens to repair his pavement. The fact that the Noah’s Ark was an Inn rather than just a tavern or alehouse is confirmed by an entry in the borough records of 1696, where a payment to the Landlord is recorded for billeting a soldier or soldiers.
In 1715 the landlord was again in trouble with the Headboroughs when he was accused of having ‘muck’ in the vicinity of his Inn.
An advertisement of 1790 was the last reference traced of the name Noah’s Ark. In 1801 when Lord Nelson was appointed High Sheriff of Ipswich and it is likely that the name was changed to The Lord Nelson around this time in his honour.
The building, originally two timber framed cottages, has been awarded Grade II Listed status by the Department of the Environment. In 1996 the building underwent complete refurbishment in a style appropriate to it’s age and location.