St Mary-at-the-Quay has had a chequered recent history. One of the twelve medieval churches in Ipswich and the middle of the three dockland churches, it was perhaps a surprise when news was published that the building was to be saved, given the sorry state of the fabric and the fact that it was originally built on marshy ground - a problem faced by 2014's archeologists there with trenches filling with water. It ceased to be used as a regular place of worship after World War II, although it remains consecrated. Many will recall the building used by the Ipswich Boys Brigade from the 1950s to the 1970s and, more recently, as home to the Key Arts group of visual and creative artists.
In November 2012, The Churches Conservation Trust (which owns the building) and Suffolk Mind secured a £3.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant for St Mary-at-the-Quay after two years of work on the bid.
The church will be converted into a Wellbeing & Heritage Centre: 'Quay Place', that will provide a quiet and beautiful sanctuary in a busy, historic market town. It should have a flexible and welcoming community space which is open to all. It will offer wellbeing and heritage activities, a centre for local events, complementary therapy as well as a cafe. The project obtained funding on the basis that it will: restore and rejuvenate an ancient building, create a sanctuary with a sensory medieval garden, reinstate significant heritage features making them accessible to all, link wellbeing and heritage in an innovative way, tell the diverse history of Ipswich waterfront in an engaging and interactive way and provide restored and modern facilities for community wellbeing and heritage activities. There will be a glazed extension and mezzanines within the church, as shown on the visualisation image. The project is due to be completed by autumn 2015. For more information about Quay Place email firstname.lastname@example.org