The Open Days (10-11 September 2011) were very successful according to the feedback I have received from the participants. It was certainly helped by the fine weather that weekend, despite the relative lack of publicity from the local newspapers.
The Magistrates' Court, new this time, was very popular with at least 200 visitors. A mock trial was held, plus a visit to the cells, which according to my grandchildren were horribly fascinating. Also new was Gippeswyk Hall, home to Red Rose Chain, and Suffolk New College who organised guided tours. Both venues were very pleased and surprised at the number of visitors.
St Stephen's Church, the Tourist Information Centre, were fully booked for their tours. Over 1,300 people visited the Centre. The Willis Building had 991 visitors, an increase on previous years. It also had a coffee table, enabling visitors to have a light lunch or snack whilst there. St Peter's Church, heritage centre and concert/ rehearsal venue, had 500 visitors. The Town Hall had three tours this year, which attracted extra numbers. Isaac Lord's Machine Room, extremely popular but limited in viewing numbers, had 250 visitors.
One of the major attractions was the vintage bus travelling between Ipswich School and the dock area. This was supplied by Ipswich Transport Museum and the conductor on board was very popular with the children and visitors from various parts of the country and some from overseas. 270 passengers travelled on the bus, which was completely free.
I should be very interested in any feedback from members regarding the Heritage Open Days and also suggestions about any buildings within Ipswich which they would be interested in viewing for this year's event.