Ipswich: Old Customs House

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The Customs House, Ipswich © David Gill

The Old  Customs House on the Wet Dock in Ipswich was completed in 1845 by J. M. Clark (who had won a competition to build it). It has a Tuscan portico, and a clock tower at the north-west corner. The Customs House was adjacent to the wet dock part of the developments in Ipswich designed by Henry Robinson Palmer (1795-1844) in 1837 and opened in 1842.

Blue Plaques in Suffolk

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Blue Plaques in Suffolk. Source: RSA Heritage Index

The RSA Heritage Index is using the erection of blue plaques as one of the indicators of heritage in a locality (‘Cultures and Memories’). I realise that these numbers could be out of date. The Ipswich Society lists 22 for Ipswich (see Open Plaques), whereas the Bury Society lists 8 for Bury St Edmunds. Other parts of the county also mark individuals, e.g. AldeburghWoodbridge.

Ipswich, Wet Dock

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Ipswich Marina © David Gill

The port of Ipswich can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon period. Traces of the medieval town peep through, notably the medieval churches such as St Clement that lies to the north of present marina. The Isaac Lord building (now a quayside pub) is a former 17th or 18th century brick maltings with kiln.

The Wet Dock, designed by H.R. Palmer, was opened in 1842. A number of warehouses associated with this phase can still be seen. Palmer also designed the dock facilities at Port Talbot and Neath in South Wales, and at Penzance in Cornwall.

The commercial Wet Dock is now largely used as a marina.

See also here.

The Future of Suffolk’s Heritage

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UCS and the Wet Dock, Ipswich Marina © David Gill

The HLF announced today that it had awarded £538,100 to the Stage 1 funding of ‘The Hold’, the working title of the new Heritage Centre that will include the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk Record Office (‘New Suffolk Heritage Centre wins HLF support‘, HLF Press Release, May 23, 2016). The Heritage Centre is a collaborative project between Suffolk County Council and University Campus Suffolk (to be known as the University of Suffolk from 1 August 2016).

The second stage of the project will be for £10.3 million to allow the construction of the new centre on the UCS North Campus (to the north of the Waterfront Building).

The aim of the project is ‘to create a flagship heritage facility to protect and promote the county’s archives, provide state of the art learning facilities, and engage more people in the history of Suffolk through an ambitious programme of community activity’.

The Stage 1 grant has been welcomed by New Anglia LEP (‘Proposed New Heritage Centre Receives Over £0.5million Grant‘).

Cliff Brewery, Ipswich

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Cliff Brewery, Ipswich © David Gill

Today’s Heritage Walk visited the outside of the Cliff Brewery in Ipswich. The brewery, founded by Thomas Cobbold, was established in Ipswich in 1746. The doorway on the north side includes some reused architectural features.

The brewery is currently a building ‘at risk‘, and is in the Victorian Society’s Top Ten Most Endangered Buildings list.

There are hopes that the building, currently owned by Pigeon Investment, will be used for new accommodation, a museum, and retail areas (“Ipswich Tolly Cobbold brewery: New homes plans go on show“, BBC News January 21 2016).

Heritage Walks: St Helen’s

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St Helen’s, Ipswich © David Gill

The third of the Heritage Walks took place in Ipswich today. The first had a look at the Ipswich marina, and the second at Holywells Park (where the heritage students have been involved in the HLF funded project). Today we visited St Helen’s one of the medieval churches on the east side of the town centre. This was restored in 1835, and extended in 1874-75.

We then crossed Alexandra Park, taking in views of Ipswich and the Orwell Bridge, before having a look round Holy Trinity (1835).