This issue of the Newsletter is due to reach you shortly after the official opening by the Mayor, Glen Chisolm, of the Society's long-awaited 'Fore Street Facelift 1961' exhibition at the UCS Waterfront building. Such are the exigencies of writing, publishing and distributing our Newsletter, that one has to indulge in a little crystal-ball gazing when composing an Editorial such as this, to assume that all will have gone well and that the exhibits have been a great success and attendances exceeded our expectations. So... well done all round. If you haven't had a chance to see the exhibition yet, do try to view it before the last day, Friday 16 October. We will include some images from the show's launch in the next Newsletter, no doubt.
The Heritage Open weekend (12-13 September) organised by the Ipswich Society has once again shown the historical gems to be found in our town. Our Treasurer, Graham Smith, has done a great job with organisation and publication of an attractive booklet and, as ever, huge thanks must go to the volunteers who helped to distribute publicity, attend at venues and make the weekend such a success. It is not acknowledged often enough that the Ipswich Society is an entirely voluntary organisation - and a very active one, to boot - which thrives because of the enthusiasm, passion and dedication of a large number of 'ordinary people' (that is, extraordinary people, of course) for the past, present and future of Ipswich.
This town wears its history and heritage very lightly; some would say too lightly. We see very little around our famous Wet Dock, or on Stoke Bridge to acknowledge that this was the first crossing-point which could be established on the Orwell and the place to establish the first Anglo-Saxon town, arguably the crucible of the English language. Merv Russen's found article on page 12 about Suffolk place names reminds us of the source of 'Ipswich' - at least, one of them - and brings to mind the late Peter Underwood's still-unrealised dream of a Gippeswyc Centre to celebrate the town's origins and rich history. It didn't happen during the so-called 'good times' of the 1980s, 1990s or the 2000s when money was, allegedly, more plentiful. Perhaps this post-2007 recession/austerity period is the time to establish this much needed resource at a site adjacent to the Wet Dock which would act as a major draw to residents and visitors alike. There are suitable buildings sitting empty for a number of years which would make an excellent heritage centre. Despite those whose default setting seems to be to deride Ipswich, our town is a major draw to visitors of all sorts, many of whom are delighted to discover the open secrets of its history. This is a major contributor to the Ipswich economy, too. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the Anglo-Saxon kiln which Keith Wade literally unearthed on the site now occupied by the Buttermarket Shopping Centre? Come on Ipswich, let everyone in on the secret.