Ipswich facts for kids

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Ipswich
Borough of Ipswich
Town and Borough
Top down: Christchurch Mansion, Willis Building, water tower, Ipswich Waterfront, Ipswich Town Centre, Sir Bobby Robson Bridge
Top down: Christchurch Mansion, Willis Building, water tower, Ipswich Waterfront, Ipswich Town Centre, Sir Bobby Robson Bridge
Ipswich and surrounding area
Ipswich and surrounding area
Ipswich within Suffolk and England
Ipswich within Suffolk and England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent Country England
Region East of England
County Suffolk
Borough Ipswich
AreaRanked 292nd
 • Town and Borough 15.22 sq mi (39.42 km2)
Population (2011)
 • Town and Borough Ranked
133,384
 • Urban 180,000 (approx)
 • Ethnicity 90.5% White
3.9% S.Asian
2.1% Black
1.1% Chinese or Other
2.4% Mixed Race
ONS code 42UD

Ipswich (Listeni/ˈɪpswɪ/) is the county town of Suffolk, England, located on the estuary of the River Orwell, about 60 miles (97 km) north east of London. The town has been continuously occupied since the Saxon period, and its port has been one of England's most important for the whole of its history.

Ipswich is a non-metropolitan district. The urban development of Ipswich overspills the borough boundaries significantly, with 75% of the town's population living within the borough at the time of the 2011 Census, when it was the fourth-largest urban area in the United Kingdom's East of England region, and the 42nd largest urban area in England and Wales. In 2011, the town of Ipswich was found to have a population of 133,384, while the Ipswich built-up area is estimated to have a population of approximately 180,000

The modern name is derived from the medieval name Gippeswic, probably taken either from an Old Saxon personal name or from an earlier name of the Orwell estuary (although unrelated to the name of the River Gipping). It has also been known as Gyppewicus and Yppswyche.

History

Roman settlement

Ipswich is one of England's oldest towns, if not the oldest. The claim has also been made of the Essex town of Colchester, but that town was abandoned for some time, leaving Ipswich to claim to be the oldest continuously inhabited town in England. A large Roman fort, part of the coastal defences of Britain, stood at Walton near Felixstowe (13 miles, 21 km), and the largest Roman villa in Suffolk (possibly an administrative complex) stood at Castle Hill (north-west Ipswich).

Middle Ages

The modern town took shape in Anglo-Saxon times (7th–8th centuries) around Ipswich dock. As the coastal states of north-western Europe emerged from the collapse of the Roman Empire, essential North Sea trade and communication between eastern Britain and the continent (especially to Scandinavia, and through the Rhine) passed through the former Roman ports of London (serving the kingdoms of Mercia, the East Saxons, Kent) and York (Eoforwic) (serving the Kingdom of Northumbria).

Gipeswic (also Gippelwich)) arose as the equivalent to these, serving the Kingdom of East Anglia, its early imported wares dating to the time of King Rædwald, supreme ruler of the English (616–624). The famous ship-burial and treasure at Sutton Hoo nearby (9 miles, 14.5 km) is probably his grave. The Ipswich Museum houses replicas of the Roman Mildenhall and Sutton Hoo treasures. A gallery devoted to the town's origins includes Anglo-Saxon weapons, jewellery and other artefacts.

Ipswich Ancient House
Ancient House is decorated with a particularly fine example of pargeting.
Ipswich St Nicholas St
Timber-frame buildings in St Nicholas Street

The 7th-century town was centred near the quay. Towards 700 AD, Frisian potters from the Netherlands area settled in Ipswich and set up the first large-scale potteries in England since Roman times. Their wares were traded far across England, and the industry was unique to Ipswich for 200 years. With growing prosperity, in about 720 AD a large new part of the town was laid out in the Buttermarket area. Ipswich was becoming a place of national and international importance. Parts of the ancient road plan still survive in its modern streets.

After the invasion of 869 Ipswich fell under Viking rule. The earth ramparts circling the town centre were probably raised by Vikings in Ipswich around 900 to prevent its recapture by the English. They were unsuccessful. The town operated a mint under royal licence from King Edgar in the 970s, which continued through the Norman Conquest until the time of King John, in about 1215. The abbreviation 'Gipes' appears on the coins.

King John granted the town its first charter in 1200, laying the medieval foundations of its modern civil government.

In the next four centuries it made the most of its wealth, trading Suffolk cloth with the Continent. Five large religious houses, including two Augustinian Priories (St Peter and St Paul, and Holy Trinity, both mid-12th century), and those of the Greyfriars (Franciscans, before 1298), Ipswich Whitefriars (Carmelites founded 1278–79) and Ipswich Blackfriars (Dominicans, before 1263), stood in medieval Ipswich. The last Carmelite Prior of Ipswich was the celebrated John Bale, author of the oldest English historical verse-drama (Kynge Johan, c.1538). There were also several hospitals, including the leper hospital of St Mary Magdalene, founded before 1199.

During the Middle Ages the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Grace was a famous pilgrimage destination, and attracted many pilgrims including Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. At the Reformation the statue was taken away to London to be burned, though some claim that it survived and is preserved at Nettuno, Italy.

Around 1380, Geoffrey Chaucer satirised the merchants of Ipswich in the Canterbury Tales. Thomas Wolsey, the future cardinal, was born in Ipswich about 1475 as the son of a wealthy landowner. One of Henry VIII's closest political allies, he founded a college in the town in 1528, which was for its brief duration one of the homes of the Ipswich School. He remains one of the town's most famed figures.

Neptune Marina, Ipswich at night
Neptune Marina Quay, Ipswich

Early-modern era

During the 14th to 17th centuries Ipswich was a kontor for the Hanseatic League, the port being used for imports and exports to the Baltic.

In the time of Queen Mary the Ipswich Martyrs were burnt at the stake on the Cornhill for their Protestant beliefs. A monument commemorating this event now stands in Christchurch Park. From 1611 to 1634 Ipswich was a major centre for emigration to New England. This was encouraged by the Town Lecturer, Samuel Ward. His brother Nathaniel Ward was first minister of Ipswich, Massachusetts, where a promontory was named 'Castle Hill' after the place of that name in north-west Ipswich, UK. Ipswich was also one of the main ports of embarkation for puritans leaving other East Anglian towns and villages for the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the 1630s and what has become known as the Great Migration.

The painter Thomas Gainsborough lived and worked in Ipswich. In 1835, Charles Dickens stayed in Ipswich and used it as a setting for scenes in his novel The Pickwick Papers. The hotel where he resided first opened in 1518; it was then known as The Tavern and later became known as the Great White Horse Hotel. Dickens made the hotel famous in chapter XXII of The Pickwick Papers, vividly describing the hotel's meandering corridors and stairs. The building now houses branches of Starbucks and Cotswold Outdoor.

In 1797 Lord and Lady Nelson moved to Ipswich, and in 1800 Lord Nelson was appointed High Steward of Ipswich.

19th and 20th centuries

In 1824 Dr George Birkbeck, with support from several local businessmen, founded one of the first Mechanics' Institutes which survives to this day as the independent Ipswich Institute reading room and library. The building, at 15 Tavern Street, has been the site of the library since 1836.

In the mid-19th century coprolite (fossilised animal dung) was discovered; the material was mined and then dissolved in acid, the resulting mixture forming the basis of Fisons fertiliser business.

The Tolly Cobbold brewery, built in the 18th century and rebuilt in 1894–1896, is one of the finest Victorian breweries in the UK. There was a Cobbold brewery in the town from 1746 until 2002 when Ridley's Breweries took Tolly Cobbold over. Felix Thornley Cobbold presented Christchurch Mansion to the town in 1896. Smaller breweries include St Jude's Brewery, situated in an 18th-century coach-house near the town centre.

Ipswich was subject to bombing by German Zeppelins during World War I but the greatest damage by far occurred during the German bombing raids of World War II. The area in and around the docks were especially devastated. Eighty civilians died by enemy action in the Ipswich county borough area during the latter war. The last bombs to fall on Ipswich landed on Seymour Road at 2 a.m. on 2 March 1945, killing 9 people and destroying 6 houses.

Central livery and bait stables
Former stables, reflected in the glass panels of the Willis Building

The Willis Building is a glass-clad building owned by Willis. Designed by Norman Foster, the building dates from 1974, when it was known as the Willis-Corroon building. It became the youngest grade I listed building in Britain in 1991, being at the time one of only two listed buildings to be less than 30 years old.

In September 1993 Ipswich and Arras, Nord Pas-de-Calais, France, became twin towns, and a square in the new Buttermarket development was named Arras Square to mark the relationship.

21st century

Ipswich has undergone an extensive rebuilding and a gentrification programme, principally around the waterfront. Though this has turned a former industrial dock area into an emerging residential and commercial centre, its completion was at the expense of much of the town's industrial and maritime heritage and in spite of efforts made by a local civic group, The Ipswich Society. Much of this development is residential, marketed to affluent DINKs. As such, some have considered it incompatible with Ipswich's existing socio-economic mix.

Ipswich Market day at Town Centre
Ipswich market day

On 13 March 2007 Ipswich was awarded the cleanest town award.

Ipswich remains a 'town' despite a few attempts at winning 'city' status. It does not have a cathedral, so the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is based at Bury St Edmunds, the former county town of West Suffolk.

Districts

Cmglee Ipswich aerial
Aerial view of Ipswich in 2008

The Ipswich docks area ("the waterfront") is now devoted primarily to leisure use and includes extensive recent development of residential apartment blocks and a university campus. Businesses operated from the dock include luxury boats and a timber merchant. Other industries have been established to the south of the wet dock.

The Ipswich Village Development, begun in 2002 around Russell Road, is home to Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council.

Holywells is the area around Holywells Park, a 67-acre (27 ha) public park situated near the docks, and the subject of a painting by Thomas Gainsborough. Alexandra Park is the nearest park to the waterfont's northern quay, and situated on Back Hamlet, adjacent to University of Suffolk.

Chantry is a housing estate and park to the town's south-west.

Districts outside the town centre include Bixley Farm, Broke Hall, California, Castle Hill, The Dales, Gainsborough, Greenwich, Kesgrave (which is actually a separate town situated in Suffolk Coastal District), Maidenhall, Pinewood, Priory Heath, Racecourse, Ravenswood (built on a former airfield), Rose Hill, Rushmere, Springvale, St Margarets, Stoke, Warren Heath, Westbourne, Whitehouse and Whitton.

To the east of the town is Trinity Park near Bucklesham the home of the annual Suffolk Show, a typical county show. The 'Trinity' is the name given to the three animals native to the county of Suffolk, namely Red Poll cattle, the powerful Suffolk Punch horse and the black faced Suffolk sheep.

Culture

12 - Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran playing at Ipswich Arts Festival 2010

Ipswich is home to many artists and has a number of galleries, the most prominent of which are at Christchurch Mansion, the Town Hall, in Ancient House and the Artists' Gallery in Electric House. The visual arts are further supported with many sculptures at easily accessible sites. The Borough Council promotes the creation of new public works of art and has been known to make this a condition of planning permission. The town has three museums - Ipswich Museum, the Ipswich Transport Museum, and Christchurch Mansion.

The New Wolsey Theatre is a 400-seat theatre situated on Civic Drive. Although the Wolsey Theatre was built in 1979, The New Wolsey Company took on the management and running of the Wolsey Theatre in 2000, opening its first production in February 2001.

DanceEast, which has the primary aim of advocating innovation and development of dance in the East of England is now resident in their new premises as part of the waterfront development . They are building new premises as part of the waterfront development. These are the first custom built dance facilities in the East of England at a cost of around £8 million.

The Eastern Angles theatre group is based at the Sir John Mills Theatre in Ipswich, named after the famous actor who lived in Felixstowe as a child. In 2012 it celebrates its 30th anniversary. The group engages in rural tours and seasonal performances.

The Ipswich Arts Festival, known as 'Ip-art' has been the town's annual summer arts festival since 2003 and seen a developing and varied programme of events from visual arts, performing arts, literature, film and music, notably a free music day in Christchurch Park.

The Ipswich Jazz Festival is a jazz music and arts festival started in 2015 in partnership with the Ipswich Arts Festival and mixes established jazz talent, rising stars and regional players. It also features art and photography exhibitions, film screenings and workshops held in venues across the town.

Key Arts is an artist-run space using the redundant St Mary at the Quay Church on the waterfront. They hold a comprehensive programme of events and residencies during the year and have been running since 2006.

Norwich remains the regional centre for TV broadcasting, but both BBC East and Anglia TV have presenters and offices in Ipswich. The town has five local radio stations, BBC Radio Suffolk covering the entire county, where the East Anglian Accent can be heard on its many phone-ins, the commercial station Heart East Anglia which was founded in 1975 as Radio Orwell covering the A14 corridor in Suffolk, and Town 102 which was founded in 2006 and is the first full-time commercial station specific for Ipswich. The younger audience is catered for with Suffolk-based Kiss 105-108. Ipswich Community Radio was launched in 2007.

The town's daily newspaper is the Ipswich Star a sister title to the county's daily newspaper the East Anglian Daily Times.

Buildings

Foster - Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters Ipswich
Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters in Ipswich, was one of Norman Foster's earliest commissions.
Former Town Hall, Ipswich - geograph.org.uk - 1461160
Ipswich Town Hall
Endeavour House, home of Suffolk County Council - geograph.org.uk - 1305044
Endeavour House home of Suffolk County Council is a modern addition to the town

In addition to the Christchurch Mansion and Ancient House, Ipswich in the 21st century has some important cultural buildings including the New Wolsey Theatre and the Regent Theatre – the largest theatre venue in East Anglia where, in the 1960s, the Beatles performed when it was still known as the Gaumont.

There are several medieval Ipswich churches but the grandest is St Mary le Tower, rebuilt by the Victorians. Holy Trinity Church by Ipswich Waterfront is one of the few churches in the country which was built during the reign of William IV and whilst the outside looks plain, the interior is quite spectacular. The world's oldest circle of church bells is housed in St Lawrence Church.

The former East Suffolk County Hall is in the centre of Ipswich. It is listed as a building at risk by the Victorian Society. The Town Hall remains in use as an arts centre and events venue; it dates from 1866 (architects: Bellamy & Hardy of Lincoln).

Modern buildings include Endeavour House (headquarters of Suffolk County Council and formerly home of the TXU Corporation, Grafton House (home of Ipswich Borough Council) and Ipswich Crown Court, all located on Russell Road (Ipswich) in the area known as the Ipswich Village Development, which includes Portman Road stadium. The stadium has hosted England under-21, under-23, and international soccer matches, as well as rugby union and hockey matches.

In the Waterfront area The Mill is the tallest building in East Anglia, reaching 23 storeys.

On the north-west side of Ipswich lies Broomhill Pool, a Grade II listed Olympic-sized lido which opened in 1938 and closed in 2002, since which time a campaign to see it restored and re-opened has been run by the Broomhill Pool Trust. On the southern side of Ipswich is historic Belstead Lodge, now the Belstead Brook Hotel.

Transport

Ipswich is located close to the A14 and the A12 roads; it is also on the Great Eastern main line from London to Norwich, the East Suffolk line to Lowestoft and the Felixstowe branch line. There are two railway stations, Ipswich and Derby Road. It is an hour from Stansted airport, 40 minutes from Harwich international port and is also on Sustrans's National Cycle Route 1 and National Cycle Route 51. The port of Felixstowe is a major container port 12 miles (19 km) to the east.

The town's railway engine shed opened in 1846 and closed in 1968. Ipswich is still a signing-on point for loco crews and a stabling point.

Bus services in Ipswich are operated by Ipswich Buses, First Norfolk & Suffolk and several smaller companies. Town services mainly operate from Tower Ramparts bus station and regional services from the Ipswich Old Cattle Market bus station

Ipswich formerly had a municipal airport to the south-east of the town, which was opened in 1929 by the Ipswich Corporation. The airport was controversially closed in 1996 by Ipswich Borough Council. The site was redeveloped for housing as the Ravenswood estate.

Climate

Ipswich experiences an oceanic climate, like the rest of the British Isles, with a narrow range of temperature and rainfall spread evenly throughout the year. One of the two nearest for which data is available is East Bergholt, about 7 miles (11 km) south west of the town centre and at a similar elevation, and similar river valley/estuary situation. The average July maximum of 23.2c(73.7f) is the third highest for a major settlement in the country, behind London and Colchester, illustrating the relative warmth of the area during the summer part of the year.The record maximum is 35.2c(95.4f), set during August 2003. Typically 24.9 days of the year will record a maximum temperature of 25.1c (77.2f) or above, and the warmest day of the year should reach 30.0c(86.0f), on average.

The absolute minimum is -16.1c(3.0f), set in January 1963, although frosts have been recorded in all months except July, August and September. In an average year, 55.33 nights will report an air frost. The lowest temperature to be recorded in recent years was −14.5 °C (5.9 °F) during December 2010.

As with much of East Anglia, rainfall is low, averaging 569.3mm in a typical year, with 103.8 days of the year reporting over 1mm of rain. All averages refer to the period 1971–2000.

The weather station at Levington is even closer than East Bergholt at 9.4 kilometres (5.8 mi) from the town centre further down the river estuary on the way to Felixstowe. It has a slightly more marine climate than East Bergholt, with slightly lower highs and milder lows throughout the year in the 1981-2010 average period. It is slightly less prone to frosts, averaging 35.5 such occurrences in a calendar year. Sunshine levels at 1707.7 hours per annum are relatively high for the British Isles, but not abnormal for southern parts of England.

Climate data for East Bergholt, elevation 7m, 1971–2000, extremes 1960-
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.9
(60.6)
18.1
(64.6)
23.1
(73.6)
25.6
(78.1)
28.9
(84)
33.5
(92.3)
35.0
(95)
35.2
(95.4)
31.5
(88.7)
29.0
(84.2)
20.6
(69.1)
15.9
(60.6)
35.2
(95.4)
Average high °C (°F) 7.3
(45.1)
7.5
(45.5)
10.4
(50.7)
13.5
(56.3)
17.5
(63.5)
21.2
(70.2)
23.2
(73.8)
23.0
(73.4)
20.1
(68.2)
14.9
(58.8)
10.3
(50.5)
7.9
(46.2)
14.7
(58.5)
Average low °C (°F) 0.9
(33.6)
0.8
(33.4)
2.3
(36.1)
3.5
(38.3)
6.2
(43.2)
10.0
(50)
12.3
(54.1)
12.2
(54)
9.8
(49.6)
6.6
(43.9)
3.1
(37.6)
1.6
(34.9)
5.8
(42.4)
Record low °C (°F) −16.1
(3)
−13.9
(7)
−11.1
(12)
−5.8
(21.6)
−4.0
(25)
-1.1
(30)
2.3
(36.1)
2.2
(36)
0.0
(32)
−5.5
(22.1)
−8.4
(16.9)
−14.5
(5.9)
−16.1
(3)
Precipitation mm (inches) 52.14
(2.0528)
34.07
(1.3413)
41.63
(1.639)
42.06
(1.6559)
41.80
(1.6457)
51.86
(2.0417)
35.50
(1.3976)
49.12
(1.9339)
51.31
(2.0201)
58.14
(2.289)
56.25
(2.2146)
54.52
(2.1465)
569.31
(22.4138)
Source: KNMI

Twin towns

Ipswich is twinned with Arras, France

Images for kids


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