The Executive Committee of our Society has recently been discussing the lack
of an Ipswich historical society -- a grouping whose interest would lie in
exploration, whether individually or by collective ventures, of the manifold
aspects of Suffolk's county town.
There are, of course, well established bodies like the Suffolk Institute of
Archaeology and the Suffolk Records Society whose scholarly remit embraces
Ipswich, and specialised interest groups have increasingly come to
supplement and to augment their work on Ipswich -- the Archaeological Trust,
The Maritime Trust, the Ipswich branch of the Family History Society, the
Transport Museum and so on. Among this input, that of our own Ipswich
Society should by no means be discounted. Our concern for civic amenity and
environmental advantage continually engages us in historical enquiry.
Engaging in research at all levels in Suffolk's local history has never been
more widely pursued than it currently is, and thriving local societies
abound in our many communities, which accommodate all levels of aptitude and
the whole range of interests and enthusiasms.
Ipswich has not always lacked such a body. As far back as 1947 a branch of
the Historical Association (a national body) was formed in the town
designated The Ipswich Historical Society, and flourished to a greater or
lesser extent until 1982. Its demise was occasioned by the advancing years
of the membership, a drop in attendances at its lectures and courses (which
were open to all) and perhaps no less pertinently the limitations of school
history syllabuses, with very little take up of what the IHS offered.
The thinking of the Executive Committee is that if there were sufficient
interest within our membership there could be formed a history group as a
sub-group of our Society. The principle on which the 1947 IHS was launched
continues to be relevant -- that "while lectures and talks are necessary to
raise awareness, reliance should be placed on more active participation in
local research and study". If, on the evidence of our many community based
local history societies, we were able to incorporate all ages, levels of
aptitude, and almost an infinite range of interest and enthusiasms, it seems
hard to believe that such an Ipswich venture could not similarly thrive.
Interested members should contact the editor initially, and not the writers
of this note, who while still active and ready to participate as
"joiners-in", consider themselves too long in the tooth to organise such a
group. The Society needs those active, enthusiastic history buffs that it
knows are out there. Roll up, roll up!
Bill & Ruth Serjeant