In October 2015 the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket became the winner of the 2015 title of Suffolk Museum of the Year at this year's Awards ceremony, organised by the Association for Suffolk Museums and sponsored by the East Anglian Daily Times. Since 2012 Abbot's Hall and its walled garden have been open in addition to the extensive parkland and exhibits. Mentioned in dispatches were Bentwaters Cold War Museum and Southwold Museum. More than 3,500 people nominated a favourite museum for the title and those shortlisted all received framed certificates including Felixstowe Museum, Lowestoft Maritime Museum, Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds and Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich.
A Tale of Three Cities, our special supplement written by Mark Ling and published with the April 2015 Newsletter, has provoked much discussion about the place of Ipswich in the region. It is now available to consult on the Ipswich Society website (www.ipswichsociety.org.uk). Just go to the April issue (199) in the Newsletter section and open the last item in the list.
Mark's campaign, www.greateripswich.org, continues apace: “Under Devolution Suffolk plans, there will be major changes to local government, particularly regarding economic development, infrastructure, health, education and delivery of services. These changes will have a direct effect on the Ipswich and Felixstowe areas; they will impact your company, your employees and the infrastructure in which you operate. This is an important time for our corner of East Anglia, and your voice really matters.”
50th anniversary celebration
Ipswich Transport Museum's 50th birthday was celebrated in November with a cavalcade of restored vehicles from the Museum's fascinating collection in Cobham Road. The buses and fire engine travelled from the Cornhill to the Museum. The volunteers who restore the vehicles and run the Museum deserve great credit. Well worth a visit.
It is often said that Ipswich does not have individual, independent shops as Bury St Edmunds and other local towns do. Ipswich is just chain shops, charity shops, pound shops and coffee outlets, apparently. (The latter applies to all towns and cities today.) However, for those who have not explored Ipswich beyond the main drag, the town has well over 170 individual shops (and counting). The size and quality of these businesses vary a lot, but they are all unique to Ipswich. It is amazing how many shops there are in the town when you start looking.
Tim Leggett has been photographing these shops and adding them to our Facebook page in batches of 42 (the maximum Facebook allows). It's an interesting challenge to try to identify their locations in Ipswich. Tim writes: “Ipswich knocks spots off Bury for individual shops, but most visitors never venture beyond the pedestrianised areas to find them, just as most visitors to Ipswich are totally unaware of Christchurch Park, a few steps away, where you could put the Abbey Gardens and forget where you left them!” (www.facebook.com/ipswichsociety)