The black and white ‘marble’ (actually limestone) pavement is said to have been brought from Italy by the Fonnereaus, former owners of Christchurch. Felix Cobbold gave the house to the town on the condition that the marble pavement and the wainscoting of the Hall be retained as far as practicable.

The old Ipswich Corporation Ducking Chair, the Town Stocks and the Globe were removed from the High Street Museum to the Mansion in about 1905. The two Glass Cases contain a loan collection from the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington. They were removed from the Museum to the Mansion as space was needed at High Street with the arrival of the Rhinoceros.

In the centre of the floor, between the two showcases, is a table presented by Mr R.C. Steward, which had once stood in the hall of Thurleston Lodge. The top was made from the octagonal sounding board taken from above the pulpit of St Mary-le-Tower when the building was being restored in the eighteen-sixties. The sounding board was handed back to this, the municipal church, in 1923, where the Town Council could continue to keep an eye on it when they worshipped.

On the further wall, the large painting (64 by 84 inches) is ‘Corfe Castle’ by local artist Frederick G Cotman, presented by the artist in 1897. By the 1950s Christchurch Mansion was crammed with furniture, paintings and carvings. Pressure on accommodation was partly overcome by, in 1956, disposing of certain material, under the Ipswich Corporation Act of 1948. It included this painting, sold for £3, ‘to cut up and make into smaller pictures’.

Bob Markham

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