What a fantastic weekend we had for this ever-popular annual event. Twenty-one
buildings participated including the recently refurbished and re-ordered
Museum Street Methodist Church.
I spent the whole weekend visiting most of the properties with Tony Hill,
who had agreed to video record the event. Our idea was to produce an hour
long video highlighting interesting features of the buildings which could
then be shown to disabled persons in future years; several of the properties
are quite inaccessible to disabled people. We also hope that the video will
be of interest to members generally.
David Stainer of the Tourist Information Centre was well pleased with the
number of visitors over the weekend, and the two principal attractions of
Isaac Lord's and The Old Sun Inn proved as popular as ever. New at the
latter was the opening up of the original frontage where Sheila of Atfield
and Daughter had re-laid cobbles and flints to create a most pleasing open
space within the courtyard. We met historian John Webb there (author of The
Great Tooley) who reminded Doug Atfield that the name "Sun Inn" used in
early deeds might only have been the name of the house.
I had never joined one of the Ipswich School tours, which I found quite
fascinating. For those who have missed out, the Ipswich Town Library housed
in the Headmaster's study and the four John Piper windows in the library
Some 180 visitors called in at the Gatehouse, and Roger Wolfe, Jill
Freestone and their team had a continuous flow of visitors at St Peter's,
some 450 over the two days, most of them showing great interest in the
details of the church and the historical exhibitions there. The Suffolk
Record Office had more visitors than before for their tours of the Strong
Room but were disappointed at the lack of takers for their bus service using
a vintage bus to the Transport Museum.
It was interesting to see the Ipswich Institute's Admiral's House, now fully
utilised and including an attractive restaurant. Upstairs Bob Forster was
taking a painting class and there was a general buzz of activity - as indeed
there was at most other places during this enjoyable weekend.