From transit to tapas and trinkets

Coal Drops Yard has now opened behind King’s Cross Station, London. Whilst snagging jobs are still being completed, and with retail units still to fill, the site remains a work in progress in a rebirth that has seen the area’s legacy of historic buildings change from hosting goods yards and activities associated with the railways and canals, to retail and catering outlets at the ‘craft’ and ‘high end’ of the commercial spectrum. New architectural interventions have been added, such as the striking new roof over the west side of the coal yard, and in fully redundant plots brownfield redevelopment is seeing new office and retail blocks with strong design signatures distinctly of their time. Residential blocks combine old and new forms, including the striking Gas Holder blocks of flats.

Following the successful heritage-led redevelopments previously of the main King’s Cross and St. Pancras Stations, the whole area is now a fascinating amalgam of old and new, and epitomises our shifting relationship with places of transit which now tempt us to dwell longer rather than pass through.

Ipswich: Old Customs House


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.

Heritage Winter Walks


Custom House, Ipswich © David Gill

A group of us went on a heritage “winter walk” as part of a well-being initiative at work. We had a walk round the Wet Dock that now forms part of the marina at Ipswich. The dock was planned by H.R. Palmer in 1837 and opened to shipping in 1842. A new entrance  at the south end was created in 1881. This was crossed by a swing bridge to carry the railway (1903).

On the north side of the dock is the Old Custom House, designed by J.M. Clark and completed in 1845.

To the right of the Custom House is Waterfront House, originally a grain store. This was converted in 1986/7 as part of the initial regeneration of the Ipswich waterfront.

Heritage-led Regeneration – UCSheritage seminar

UCS Ipswich Campus

The first of our #UCSheritage seminars this year will be led by our brand new lecturer in Cultural Tourism & Heritage Management, Dr Geraint Coles. Previously the Development Manager for the Chesterfield Canals Partnership, Geraint has longstanding experience of the opportunities and challenges of large-scale heritage projects.

Here’s what he’s going to be talking about:

“Heritage-led regeneration”

Regeneration is the process of renewal, reinvention and reconstruction which seeks to bring about a lasting improvement in the economic, physical, social and environmental condition of an area. 

Heritage is often a major driver for such regeneration projects – through both the adaptive re-use of heritage buildings, structures and localities or through the economic benefits generated by the heritage contained within new buildings. 

The way that heritage is used (and misused) in regeneration is the subject of this seminar – It explores the key factors which govern such projects and the ingredients which lead to economic and social development while protecting, retaining and strengthening a communities “sense of place” while avoiding “Disney-fication”. Particular emphasis is placed upon the need for community engagement, the formation of public-private partnerships and upon engaging and encouraging the active leadership of heritage professionals in the creation and shaping of places.

The seminar will take place on Weds 9th October at 4.30pm, at the Waterfront Building, UCS Ipswich.

To register to attend, please contact Julie Barber: or 01473 338181