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Newsletter, October 2003 (Issue 153)

Heritage Open Days


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 impress particularly.

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.

TOM GONDRIS

    Front cover of issue 153 Cover, issue 153

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