Cornfields in town
Les Bicknell's 50m x l0m picture depicts cornfields and clouds and will cover the outside of the Corn Exchange while IBC's 1 million repairs to the roof and walls take place for the next six months. But let's not call it a 'shroud' as some have done. It's a celebration of work being done on an immensely valuable building - Ipswich's 'village hall' housing so many different events and arts organisations, in particular our Film Theatre. But people attending those events do need a canopy over the entrance especially in times of bad weather.
The bells of St Lawrence
Ipswich has many unique features. One of them is the world's oldest complete and original set of five church bells (made in 1450-1480) in the tower of St Lawrence's. (Next oldest, 50 years younger, is at St Bartholomew the Great in London.) But while the church itself has been magnificently refurbished, the bells must be lowered to a new platform so as to be safely rung. 50,000 is needed for this worthy project. Donations can be sent to Dr John Blatchly, 11 Dalton Road, Ipswich, IP1 2HS, cheques being made out to Birketts LLP, Solicitors for Ipswich Historic Churches Trust.
The 'war' of Upper Brook Street
Replacing gas mains and some other services seemed to go on for ages. But you've only to look in the trenches to see great corroded iron pipes and the need to connect with modern plastic to get some idea of the problems. However, the finished job with new paving across the whole street should look good. But some of the pavement was be-gummed within days. If only chewers would bin their gum! And perhaps one day it will be fully pedestrianised.
Cuts - against the zeitgeist
The spirit of the times demands that public transport be increased and improved to persuade more people out of their cars, but Ipswich Buses are having to curtail the No 2 service and reduce the frequency of some others. This is partly because SCC has awarded the Park & Ride contract to First Eastern Counties (saving a relatively small sum) and IBC is being financially tougher on Ipswich Buses. Short -sighted!
Saved - our first museum
Even now, many Ipswich people don't know why Museum Street is so called when the Museum is in High Street! But the original museum is in Museum Street opposite the Methodist Church. One of the first in the country, it opened in 1847 'particularly for the benefit of the working class' as Professor Henslow said at the time. After years of shameful neglect by previous owners, it will soon become Arlington's restaurant owned and run by Ken and Liz Ambler, members of the Society and winners of an Award for their conversion of the electricity substation in Duke Street to Mortimers Fish Restaurant (now Loch Fyne).
We are delighted that this historic building will be restored and put to excellent use.
Ipswich on film
Members of our Society's executive attended the launch (at the TIC and Hollywood Film Theatre) of a new DVD, 'Ipswich Past: As our Parents Knew It'. It features many aspects of our town during the last century, including quite a lot of footage shot by Don Chipperfield, our late member who also organised many of our continental trips. But there is much unfamiliar material as well. Copies are obtainable from the Tourist Information Centre.