Progress for the Park
Ipswich's greatest asset is its parks. So we were told in childhood
if we were brought up
here. The parks were said to be the one incontestable superiority we had
over the Other Place up the A140. All the more welcome therefore that the
procedure of getting grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund seems to be
progressing well. The aim is to win 75% funding for a £4.2m restoration of
Christchurch Park. That would include the restoration of park shelters,
cleaning up the Wilderness Pond and Round Pond, tree planting, a new
refreshment kiosk and repairing footpaths and edging. But those footpaths
and edgings, and indeed the grass itself, will need to be more carefully
protected when ground-churning events like last November's funfair and
fireworks take place. Christchurch Park is our premier park because of its
wonderful central location and its Mansion, and therefore justifies special
investment. But it's dangerous to allocate nearly all of the biggest events
to this one park.
Suffolk College organised its usual enjoyable graduation ceremonies last
October, with an interesting range of celebrities also receiving honorary
degrees. John Motson, now doyen of BBC football commentators, recalled his
football-starved years at Culford School and forbidden attractions of
Portman Road. Having graduated to the commentary box, he enjoyed reporting
on Ipswich games. But slightly sheepishly (it's that coat) he remembered two
gaffes. "Paul Mariner has now scored 35 goals, exactly twice as many as last
season." And at the Wembley play-off in 2000, "Tony Mowbray with the last
kick of the game scored with a header."
Unearthing the past
Suffolk archaeologists haven't had many opportunities for big digs in
Ipswich since the Buttermarket Shopping Complex site in 1988. But 2002 was
better. They have investigated a Saxon cemetery in Elm Street and, more
visibly, the site at the junction of Franciscan Way and Wolsey Street where
some 30 skeletons dating from the 13th century were found. This site,
originally intended for Fisons shiny black granite office block, has been
re-scheduled for flats. The owners seem to have changed their minds, put it
up for auction and then withdrew it when it failed to reach the reserve
price. Surely buyers aren't scared of 800 year old remains?
Bin it thoughtfully!
Some of your Committee members have been pleased to be new recipients of
brown bins for recycling vegetable matter. The bins have been very useful
for disposing of all those autumnal dying off plants. Seeing the black bins
surprisingly empty brings home the value of recycling - our Council will pay
far less in Landfill Tax and the useful stuff will become useful compost.
True, it was easier to dump it all into one black bin but we must
play our part.
Follow that cat
The gallery at the High Street Museum has been used imaginatively to depict
the history of Ipswich. Going round clockwise, you can follow the
development of our area from the earliest beginnings to the founding of
Gipeswic and to almost the present day. It's sketchy history, but the well
chosen artefacts can inspire a deeper study - by both children and adults.
The children's 'guide' is the cartoon Ipswich Cat. Not quite sure why a cat.
But he works, and even members without children or grandchildren could enjoy
the display. And while there, you might feel happier now that the Ipswich
Museums have regained national registration, vital for winning outside
funding. We all know how provincial museums desperately need more financial
It won't SIT still
Suffolk College has announced the launch of the Suffolk Institute of
Technology (SIT), one of only 18 in the country. It will provide courses in
telecommunications, computing, digital art and business skills - all of
which will help to spread new skills into the local and national business
community. The aim is to recruit 700 students over the next three years. Our
local economy should benefit in many ways.
Cover, issue 150