I'm sure Ipswich Society members could answer the question above - and
perhaps wonder why it's even asked. But three seemingly trivial
personal experiences prompt me to write.
Coming back from a nice lunch on the Waterfront and talking to a
stranger on a bus I said how enjoyable it was that such a warm sunny day
had made the Waterfront seem like the South of France. "You've been to
Felixstowe, then?" "No, the Waterfront at the Dock."
"0, I see. The Dock. My father used to work there but I haven't been
there for ages."
Next, overheard in Butter Market. A group of youngish men were enjoying
their drinks outside and asked a red-coated Street Ranger what was worth
seeing in Ipswich. The helpful answer was, "Well, you could walk down
to the Waterfront. It's about twenty minutes from here." Twenty
minutes! An able bodied person could do it easily in ten minutes; it's
that close. But if you are only used to glimpsing the Waterfront from a
car in Star Lane or Key Street/College Street it might seem a long way
from the town centre! But it isn't!
Finally, and again overheard. Six young people were arriving on the
quayside having walked down beside Salthouse Harbour Hotel. "Wow! Does
this connect up with the sea? - spoken with an American accent. "I
don't think so. It's been dug out so people can float their boats on
it"- and that with a local accent! "I don't see the point of that,"
said the American, quite reasonably, as I walked away out of earshot. I
hope our local man was a straight-faced leg-puller, but my impression
was he didn't know! (A much more common mistake is to think that this
is the river, when in fact the river by-passes the dock in the New Cut.)
Dance East and then next year the Witchbottle Theatre (Red Rose Chain at
Regatta Quay) plus more restaurants and more coming and going of
students will all help to bring the Waterfront into the public's
consciousness. But at present this part of town hardly exists for many
townspeople. Amongst the measures needed is a regular and frequent bus
service linking the town centre with the Waterfront. My conclusion is
that I do like the name 'Waterfront' but we shouldn't forget the word
'Dock'. Remember how many people still referred to our trolley buses as
'trams' right to the end!