Tesco has backed out - as part of their national retrenchment. The imposing interior staircase is still intact despite the clearance which was started. However, the building can't be Listed because the existing structure is entirely of the 20th century. No news yet about what was to be Tesco's big site on the riverside in Commercial Road (Grafton Way), near the railway station.
Window on the Waterfront
Ipswich Maritime Trust's latest display in the window at the (Cranfield's) Mill includes the drawings of the port by Edward Caley in 1837. He was soon to be in charge of the creation of the Wet Dock under the eye of Henry Palmer, engineer and designer. Caley was then aged 20 when the work began. 'Aspiration' might be new political jargon, but it certainly existed in early Victorian days! The Trust is enjoying good co-operation with the Port authorities.
Ipswich was a 'warehouse port' for the great trading ports of the Baltic in the later Middle Ages. Ipswich could join the Hanseatic heritage group (currently based in Lubeck) as is the case already in Kings Lynn. Such a move would help to re-enforce the growing popularity of Ipswich for visiting boats. Visitors used to come from Holland and Belgium but increasing numbers come now from Germany, Scandinavia and France.
Other welcome visitors
It's instructive how a major cultural attraction can work wonders. The year-long loan of Constable's Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831, together with a new Constable purchase and other loans has already attracted 20-30% more visitors, more of whom come here now after visiting Flatford.
Gateway to the Waterfront
This could be a suitable name for an area which is currently our greatest eyesore (yes, even worse than the 'Wine rack'- and that should be progressed later this year). Starting from the Stoke Bridge end, the three sites of St Peter's warehouse (burnt out), Paul's concrete silo and Burtons have all been derelict for years. We welcome IBC's purchase of the latter at a knock-down price and hope it will stimulate concerted action to develop this big site. It is crucial to the attraction and reputation of the whole Waterfront.
It was heartening to see the Reynolds exhibition at UCS arranged by his family in March. His originality and craftsmanship were remarkable and no less striking 18 years after his death. He must have been a founder member of our Society and it is his clever logo on the masthead of our Newsletter.
If you think that Ipswich is a sleepy static town you might be surprised that in the last decade it has been the 8th fastest growing town in the UK, 'beaten' only by Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Swindon, Luton, Cambridge, London and Northampton. Even more surprising perhaps is that Ipswich is ranked 10th for employment, proportionately.