Above: Visitors on the roof garden, Providence House (Birketts) in Princes Street. Photograph by Tim Leggett

I’m very pleased to report that Ipswich had yet another successful Heritage Open Days weekend. Of course, the fabulous weather over the weekend of the 14 and 15 September helped so I’ve decided to take credit for that as well; you’re welcome!

The event seems to grow year on year and this year we had forty venues and attractions open. There were also guided walks by our friends from the Ipswich Tourist Guides Association, starting from the TIC in St Stephens Lane and an extra guided walk led by the Stowmarket Ramblers, setting off from Christchurch Mansion. Let’s not forget the Ipswich Transport Museum bus: always popular and a great way to get from the town centre to Broomhill Lido and Library.

A special welcome to our new participants in 2019: St Mary at the Elms, St Mary Le Tower, both wonderful churches, along with Tower House, Birketts in Princes Street and Suffolk ‘energy from waste’ out at Blakenham.  Thank you all for taking part.

Also, to old friends soon to return: Arlingtons, Christ Church United Reformed Baptist Church, The Royal Hospital School at Holbrook and Ipswich Cemeteries.  You were all missed.

As ever, our friends at Willis Towers Watson were very popular (and a great place for lunch).  Of course, they had competition this year, from nearby Birketts, for the best roof-top view.  They both get a rosette for a great skyline view of the town. I’d also like to give a very honourable mention to The Ipswich Building Society at Mutual House. Love the period costumes. I very much hope everyone enjoyed the day – the town was buzzing.   

A big thank you to everyone who agreed to open their doors. And thank you to all the wonderful stewards, those leading guided walks or driving buses. Many, many thanks to the volunteers from the committee and membership of the Society for your assistance before and on the day. Thanks also to Ipswich Borough Council for their valuable assistance in designing the layout of the book and to the team at the Tourist Information Centre.

Finally, thank you to all of you, the residents of Ipswich and our welcome visitors. Your enthusiasm and enjoyment of the weekend makes it all worthwhile.

See you all next year.

Neil Thompson, Ipswich Society Heritage Open Days Coordinator