The letter by Shirley Sadler about the paucity of information concerning the
manufacturing industry in Ipswich was most pertinent. She acknowledged the
work that we do at the Ipswich Transport Museum in preserving plans,
photographs and documents relating to these industries and also the actual
exhibits relating to companies such as Ransomes, Rapiers, Cranes and
Early this year we were pleased to accept a fully restored example of a very
high specification compressor built by Reavells in Ipswich in 1968 for the
then new nuclear submarines. They were built regardless of cost. It was
poignant that the restoration was carried out on a voluntary basis by a team
of workers at Compair Reavell so it will survive as a tribute to them as well
as to the company.
Recently the Ipswich Transport Museum lost its company secretary and
publicity officer and restoration planner, Peter Bannister, aged just 57. He
left a generous bequest to the Museum and plans were developed to use this
money as 'seed funding' to secure a major Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the
Museum. A necessary pre-requisite for such an application is to have at
least 30 years remaining on any lease. Ours runs out in 2026 so we
approached Ipswich Borough Council to negotiate an extension. Imagine our
disappointment when we learned that they could only extend it by a few years.
Why? Well, IBC owns all of the land surrounding the Transport Museum,
including Holywells School. IBC anticipate that this will re-locate,
providing them with an opportunity to re-develop the entire area.
Faced with this difficulty, the Transport Museum have used Peter's bequest to
purchase an industrial unit in Quantum Park, Whitehouse Road, Ipswich which
will be used as a store. This will allow the existing storeroom at Cobham
Road to be re-developed as further exhibition space.
In the meantime the clock remains ticking towards 2026. It has been
suggested that the former tram depot in Constantine Road might become
available but that has three problems. The first is that it, and much of the
land around it is owned by Ipswich Borough
Council, so we could face the same problem in the future. The second is that
Ipswich Buses still operate from this site and have no current plans to move.
The third is that the site will require considerable expenditure in order to
provide accommodation to the same standard that we have at present in Cobham
In parallel with these developments we have been working closely with Ipswich
Museum in High Street in conducting a collections review. This is expected
to lead to their collections of transport and industry being transferred to
the Ipswich Transport Museum. A large number of such items are presently
held on loan at the latter as Ipswich Museum does not have the space to store
or display them. A transfer of ownership would make logical sense but will
probably need Council approval. Such a transfer would not prevent items
being loaned back to Ipswich Museum for temporary exhibition purposes.
Hon Archives Manager, Ipswich Transport Museum