...it's our town

Listed Buildings
of Ipswich Wolsey's Gate (Grade I)

Newsletter, April 2013 (Issue 191)

Letters to the Editor

Promoting Ipswich
from Linda Erith

In my opinion, Sir Stuart Rose was totally wrong to suggest moving the market from the Cornhill. It is the market that gives the town centre vibrancy and if anything it should be extended. The Christmas Market brought a real festive feel to the town and I thought the Christmas tree and lights were innovative and a great success and I'm sure attracted additional shoppers to the town centre.

In order to build on this success we need to promote Ipswich as a tourist attraction by exploiting its history and its famous son, Thomas Wolsey. This can be done by encouraging tour operators to organise day excursions or weekend breaks to Ipswich. A Wolsey themed weekend break could include a guided walk taking in St Lawrence's Church with the newly restored bells, Wolsey's statue and gateway and perhaps a visit to the New Wolsey Theatre, with plenty of free time allowed for shopping.

Newmarket Holidays do in fact have coach trips to this area but the excursions are predictably to Lavenham, Southwold and Jimmy's Farm with never a mention of historic Ipswich, even though the brochure states the hotel will be in the Ipswich/Felixstowe area. Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk and should be promoted as such. Cambridge market sells T-shirts advertising its tourist attractions. Why don't we follow suit?

Remembering Peter Underwood
from Trevor Hart

I read the tribute to Peter Underwood in the most recent issue of the Newsletter with great interest. Peter fuelled my lifelong interest in town planning (I currently work at the planning school at Newcastle University), not so much through his teaching of Geography as by persuading me and a few other pupils at Northgate to become a free workforce for the recently formed Ipswich Society - I remember a study of the potential to pedestrianise Butter Market - and also by stressing how important it was that, in the early 1960s, everyone became engaged with the proposals for the expansion of Ipswich.

Reading the tribute prompted me to delve in my 'archive' of material about the expansion proposals - the Vincent & Gorbin and Shankland & Cox reports and their coverage in the local papers - and I discovered a little curiosity - some publicity material produced by the developers of Greyfriars. I've enclosed a copy of this in case someone who is more familiar than I am with recent developments in Ipswich might make a little piece out of it for the Newsletter. It is about fifty years since work began on the studies for an expanded Ipswich - but as a planner it is a little humbling to be reminded just how views of utopia can change.

Dream on re Ipswich Museum Service
from Ray Atkinson

Ken Nichols' letter (Issue 190) dreaming about the local museum service and your own footnote re Peter Underwood's concept for a Gipeswic Centre lead me to suggest that the Society should strenuously pursue these matters with the 'powers-that-be'. As may be known, since c 2007 the Ipswich Museum Service has been managed in partnership with Colchester. The architects and stewards of this relationship will argue that it has been a considerable success inter alia in adding the Ipswich Art School and in acquiring some major additions for the collections. What they may choose to forget is that, at Ipswich, a number of key members of staff have either left or have lost their jobs. Those that remain could be forgiven for feeling that this town would be better served by a return to local control, in order to restore the facility to curate, conserve and produce further excellent exhibitions for future generations of schoolchildren, tourists and locals.

As someone who has had the privilege and pleasure of working for the Museum as a volunteer for a number of years, I have been trying for the last 8/9 months to alert those with potential influence as to the perceived deterioration of such a key part of the town's cultural heritage. Sadly, there has been little positive response so far, except for support from the Society's own representative on the Friends of Ipswich Museums committee.

Notwithstanding current financial realities, I am sure that the Society's weight behind the dreams of Ken Nichols and Peter Underwood could help considerably in persuading elected politicians, senior council officers, local media and even potential sponsors that this is too important an issue to let slip.

    Front cover of issue 191 Cover, issue 191

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