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Ipswich ( ) is a non-metropolitan district and the county town of Suffolk, England on the estuary of the River Orwellmarker. Nearby towns are Felixstowemarker in Suffolk and Harwichmarker and Colchestermarker in Essex. The town of the same name overspills the borough boundaries significantly, with only 85% of the town's population living within the borough at the time of the 2001 Census, when it was the third-largest settlement in the United Kingdom's East of England region, and the 38th largest urban area in England.

As of 2007, the borough of Ipswich is estimated to have a population of approximately 128,000 inhabitants.

History

Under the Roman empire, the area around Ipswich formed an important route inland to rural towns and settlements via the Orwell and Gippingmarker. A large Roman fort, part of the coast defences of Britain, stood at Felixstowemarker (13 miles, 21 km), and the largest villa in Suffolk stood at Castle Hill (north-west Ipswich).Ipswich is one of England's oldest towns, and took shape in Anglo-Saxon times as the main centre between Yorkmarker and Londonmarker for North Seamarker trade to Scandinavia and the Rhinemarker. It served the Kingdom of East Angliamarker, and began developing in the time of King Rædwald, supreme ruler of the English (616-624). The famous ship-burial and treasure at Sutton Hoomarker nearby (9 miles, 14.5 km) is probably his grave. The Ipswich Museummarker houses replicas of the Roman Mildenhall Treasure and the Sutton Hoo treasuremarker. A gallery devoted to the town's origins includes Anglo-Saxon weapons, jewellery and other artefacts.

The seventh-century town, called 'Gippeswick' was centred near the quay. Towards 700 AD, Frisian potters from the Netherlandsmarker area settled in Ipswich and set up the first large-scale potteries in England since Roman times. Their wares were traded far across England, and the industry was unique to Ipswich for 200 years. With growing prosperity, in about 720 AD a large new part of the town was laid out in the Buttermarket area. Ipswich was becoming a place of national and international importance. Parts of the ancient road plan still survive in its modern streets. After the invasion of 869 Ipswich fell under Viking rule. The earth ramparts circling the town centre were probably raised by Vikings in Ipswich around 900 to prevent its recapture by the English. They were unsuccessful. The town operated a Mint under royal licence from King Edgar in the 970s, which continued through the Norman Conquest until the time of King John, in about 1215. The abbreviation 'Gipes' appears on the coins.

King John granted the town its first charter in 1200, laying the mediaeval foundations of its modern civil government. In the next four centuries it made the most of its wealth, trading Suffolk cloth with the Continent. Five large religious houses, including two Augustinian Priories (St Peter and St Paul, and Holy Trinity, both mid-12th century), and those of the Greyfriars (Franciscans, before 1298), Ipswich Whitefriars (Carmelites founded 1278-79) and Blackfriars (Dominicans, before 1263), stood in mediaeval Ipswich. The last Carmelite Prior of Ipswich was the celebrated John Bale, author of the oldest English historical verse-drama (Kynge Johan, c.1538). There were also several hospitals, including the leper hospital of St Mary Magdalene, founded before 1199. During the Middle Ages the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Grace was a famous pilgrimage destination, and attracted many pilgrims including Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. At the Reformation the statue was taken away to London to be burned, though some claim that it survived and is preserved at Nettunomarker, Italy.

Around 1380, Geoffrey Chaucer satirised the merchants of Ipswich in the Canterbury Tales. Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, the son of a wealthy landowner, was born in Ipswich about 1475. One of Henry VIII's closest political allies, he founded a college in the town in 1528, which was for its brief duration one of the homes of the Ipswich Schoolmarker. He remains one of the town's most famed figures.

In the time of Queen Mary the Ipswich Martyrsmarker were burnt at the stake on the Cornhill for their Protestant beliefs. A monument commemorating this event now stands in Christchurch Parkmarker. From 1611 to 1634 Ipswich was a major centre for emigration to New Englandmarker. This was encouraged by the Town Lecturer, Samuel Ward. His brother Nathaniel Ward was first minister of Ipswich, Massachusettsmarker, where a promontory was named 'Castle Hill' after the place of that name in north-west Ipswich, UK.

The painter Thomas Gainsborough lived and worked in Ipswich. In 1835, Charles Dickens stayed in Ipswich and used it as a setting for scenes in his novel The Pickwick Papers. The hotel where he resided first opened in 1518; it was then known as The Tavern and is now known as the Great White Horse Hotel. Dickens made the hotel famous in chapter XXI of The Pickwick Papers, vividly describing the hotel's meandering corridors and stairs.

In 1824, Dr George Birkbeck, with support from several local businessmen, founded one of the first Mechanics' Institutes which survives to this day as the independent Ipswich Institute Reading Room and Library. The elegant 15 Tavern Street building has been the site of the Library since 1836.

In 1797 Lord and Lady Nelson moved to Ipswich, and in 1800 Lord Nelson was appointed High Steward of Ipswich.

In the mid-19th century Coprolite was discovered, the material was mined and then dissolved in acid, the resulting mixture forming the basis of Fisons fertilizer business.

Modern Ipswich

Ipswich has undergone an extensive gentrification programme in recent years, principally centred around the waterfront. Though this has turned a deindustrialized dock area into an emerging residential and commercial centre, it is being completed at the expense of much of the town's industrial and maritime heritage and in spite of efforts made by a local civic group, The Ipswich Society. Much of this development is residential and is marketed at high net-worth individuals in the DINKY demographic. As such, some have considered it incompatible with Ipswich's existing socio-economic mix. It could therefore be considered to be aimed at encouraging economic migration to the town, particularly as a commutable satellite town of Londonmarker.

The Tolly Cobbold brewery, built in the 19th century and rebuilt 1894–1896, is one of the finest Victorian breweries in the United Kingdom. There was a Cobbold brewery in the town from 1746 until 2002 when Ridley's Breweries took Tolly Cobbold over. Felix Thornley Cobbold presented Christchurch Mansionmarker to the town in 1896.

The town centre contains the glass-clad building owned by Willis, properly called the Willis Buildingmarker but still often called the "Willis-Faber building" by locals, as the company Willis Corroon themselves used to be called Willis Faber. Designed by Norman Foster, the building dates from 1974. It became the youngest Grade I listed building in Britain in 1991 and at the time one of only two buildings to be listed and be under 30 years of age.

Ipswich is set to be the main hub for University Campus Suffolkmarker, which will give Suffolk its first university, though it is essentially a collaborative project between Suffolk College (a local further education college) and two other regional universities. It is hoped that within a decade, a University of Suffolk in its own right will become established out of UCS.

In September 1993 Ipswich and Arrasmarker, Nord Pas-de-Calais, France, became twin towns, and a square in the new Buttermarket development was named Arras Square to mark the relationship.

On 13 March 2007 Ipswich was awarded the cleanest town award.

Ipswich remains a 'town' despite a few attempts at winning 'city' status. It does not have a cathedral, so the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is based at Bury St Edmundsmarker the former headquarters of West Suffolk.

Districts

The Docks are is now devoted primarily to leisure use and includes extensive recent development of residential apartment blocks and the new University College. Fairline Boats and Spirit Yachts operate from the dock as does a timber merchant. Other industrial uses dominate to the south of the wet dock.

Holywells is the area around Holywells Parkmarker, a 67 acre (27 ha) public park, situated near the docks, that was painted by Thomas Gainsborough.

Chantry is the name of a housing estate and park to the South-West of Ipswich. Its schools include Chantry High School and the Chantry Infant and Junior Schools which have merged, and been renamed 'The Oaks'. Another school that can be found in the outskirts of Chantry is St Joseph's Collegemarker.

Other districts outside the town centre include Bixley Farm, Broke Hall, California, Castle Hill, The Dales, Gainsborough, Greenwich, Kesgrave (which is actually a separate town situated in Suffolk Coastal District), Maidenhall, Pinebrook, Priory Heath, Racecourse, Ravenswood, Rose Hill, Rushmere, Springvale, St Margarets, Stoke, Warren Heath, Westbourne, Whitehouse and Whitton.

To the east of the town is Trinity Park near Buckleshammarker the home of the annual Suffolk Show one of the County shows in United Kingdom. The 'Trinity' is the name given to the three animals native to the county of Suffolk, namely Red Poll cattle, the powerful Suffolk Punch horse and the black faced Suffolk Sheep.

Culture

Ipswich is home to many artists, with galleries at Christchurch Mansionmarker, the Town Hall, a gallery in Ancient Housemarker and the Artists Gallery in Electric House being the more prominent. The visual arts are further supported with many sites of sculpture with easy accessibility. The Borough Council promotes creation of new public works of art and has been known to make this a condition of planning permission.

The town houses Ipswich Museummarker and the Ipswich Transport Museummarker.

Performing arts are well represented with Ipswich being home to DanceEast which has the primary aim of advocating innovation and development of dance in the East of England. They are building new premises as part of the waterfront development. These will be the first custom built dance facilities in the East of England at a cost of around £8million.

The Eastern Angles theatre group are based at the Sir John Mills Theatre [14890] in Ipswich, named after the famous actor who lived in Felixstowe as a child.

Since 1991, there has been an annual arts festival called Ip-Art [14891] which brings together many events across art disciplines and different venues, notably a free music day in Christchurch Parkmarker, which in 2006 had over 50 different acts performing over 7 stages.

Key Arts [14892] is an artists run space using a disused church on the waterfront. They hold a comprehensive programme of events and residencies during the year and have been running since 2006.

Norwichmarker remains the regional centre for TV broadcasting, but both BBC East and Anglia TV have presenters and offices in Ipswich. The town has three local radio stations, BBC Radio Suffolk covering the entire county, where the East Anglian Accent can be heard on its many phone-ins, the commercial SGR-FM which was founded in 1975 as Radio Orwell covering the A14 corridor in Suffolk and Town 102 which was founded in 2006 and is the first full time commercial station specific for Ipswich. The younger audience is catered for with Suffolk based Kiss 105-108. On 15 August 2007, Ipswich Community Radio launched full-time after successfully gaining a licence in early 2006.

The town's daily evening newspaper is the Evening Star which is the sister title to the county's daily morning newspaper the East Anglian Daily Times.

Buildings

In addition to the Christchurch Mansion and Ancient House, Ipswich in the 21st century has some important cultural buildings including the New Wolsey Theatre and the Regent Theatremarker - the largest theatre venue in East Angliamarker where in the 1960s The Beatles performed under its former name the Gaumont.

There are several medieval Ipswich churches but the grandest is the Victorian St Mary le Tower. The world's oldest circle of church bells is housed in St Lawrence Churchmarker.

Modern buildings include the new Suffolk County Hall in the area known as Ipswich Village close to Ipswich Town's Portman Roadmarker stadium. The stadium has hosted England under 21, under 23 and full international matches in addition to an England hockey game.

On the north-west side of Ipswich lies Broomhill Poolmarker, a Grade II listed Olympic-sized lido which opened in 1938 and closed in 2002, since which time a campaign to see it restored and re-opened has been run by the The Broomhill Pool Trust.

The tallest building in Ipswich, "The Mill", was topped out in November 2008, it's purpose is accommodation for the university students.

Politics

Ipswich Borough Council offices, on Russell Road
Ipswich is governed locally by a two-tier Council System. Ipswich Borough Councilmarker fulfils District Council functions such as refuse collection, housing and planning and Suffolk County Council provides the County Council services such as transport, education and social services.

Between 1979 and September 2004 Ipswich Borough Council was under Labour control but the town is now governed by a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

The town is covered by two parliamentary constituencies – Ipswichmarker, which covers about 75% and is represented by Labour MP Chris Mole, and Central Suffolk & North Ipswichmarker, which covers the remaining 25% and is represented by Conservative MP Michael Lord.

In April 2006 the borough council initiated public discussions about the idea of turning the borough into a unitary authority (Ipswich had constituted a county borough from 1889 to 1974, independent of the administrative county of East Suffolkmarker, and this status was not restored by the Banham/Cooksey Commission in the 1990s). Ipswich, Norwichmarker, Exetermarker and Oxfordmarker united to campaign for unitary authority status for the four towns, hoping to use the window of opportunity presented by the October 2006 Local Government White Paper. In March 2007, it was announced that Ipswich was one of sixteen shortlisted councils and on the 25 July 2007, the Secretary of state announced that she was minded to implement the unitary proposal for Ipswich, but that there were 'a number of risks relating to the financial case set out in the proposal', on which she invited Ipswich to undertake further work before a final decision is taken. Early in December plans were thrown into doubt as the Government announced that it had 'delayed' the unitary bids for Ipswich and Exeter. In July 2008 the Boundary Committee announced their preferred option was for a unitary authority covering Ipswich and the south-eastern corner of Suffolk (including Felixstowe).

Industry

4 Fairline Yachts outside Fairline's Ipswich testing facility
Industry around Ipswich has had a strong agricultural bias with Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Ltd, one of the most famous agricultural manufacturers, located in the town. It is notable that the world's first commercial motorised lawnmower was built by Ransomes in 1902. There was a sugar beet factory at Ipswich for many years; it was closed in 2001 as part of a rationalisation by British Sugar.

The British Telecom Research Laboratories were located to the east of the town in 1975 at Martlesham Heathmarker. They are now a science park called Adastral Parkmarker. The area was originally RAF Martlesham Heathmarker - a WW2 airfield from where Douglas Bader fought. However, some senior locals confirm that Douglas Bader never flew from Ipswich/Martlesham.

Ipswich is one of the Haven ports and is still a working port, handling several million tonnes of cargo each year. Prior to decommissioning, HMS Grafton was a regular visitor to the port which has special links with the town and the county of Suffolk. HMS Orwell, named after the river, is also closely linked with the town. With the rise in popularity of the town around the Neptune Marina and the Wet Dock a number of ship and boatbuilders have become established, in particular Fairline Yachts are a significant employer.

Transport

Ipswich sits close to the A14 and the A12marker roads; it is also on the Great Eastern Main Line from London to Norwichmarker, the East Suffolk Line to Lowestoftmarker and the Felixstowe Branch Line with three railway stations (Ipswichmarker, Westerfieldmarker and Derby Roadmarker). It is an hour from Stansted airport, 40 minutes from Harwich International Portmarker and is also on Sustrans's National Cycle Route 5 and National Cycle Route 51. The Port of Felixstowemarker is a major container port 12 miles to the east.

Sport

's sole professional football team are Ipswich Town, who were established in 1878 and play at the 30,300 capacity Portman Roadmarker Stadium. They have a strong rivalry with Norwich City F.C. Ipswich Town was home to the two most successful England managers, Sir Alf Ramsey (who is buried in the Old Cemetery in the town) and Sir Bobby Robson. They won the League Championship in 1962 during Ramsey's reign and an FA Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1981 under Robson. They currently play in English football's second-tier league, the Football League Championship. Ipswich is also home to minor-lower league football team, Ipswich Wanderersmarker and many others in the Suffolk and Ipswich Football League.

Ipswich Gymnastics Centre is one of only three fully Olympic accredited gymnastics facilities in the United Kingdommarker The resident club has also been home to international gymnasts.

Speedway team, the Ipswich Witches, have ridden at Foxhall Stadiummarker on the outskirts of Ipswich since 1951. The Witches have won the national league title four times, and the national cup five times. The stadium is also regularly used for Stock car racing. Ipswich had a racecoursemarker which ran a mix of flat and National Hunt races from 1710 to 1911.

The town has representation in both codes of Rugby. It has two amateur Rugby Union teams, Ipswich RUFC who play in London 3 North East League, and Ipswich YM RUFC (a third side Orwell RUFC, formerly Ransomes RFC having folded some time in the 1980s) and an amateur rugby league side, Ipswich Rhinos, who play in the Rugby League Conference.

Ipswich is home to TeamIpswich Swimming. Formed in 1884, as Ipswich Swimming Club, the club is based at the town's 'Crown Pools', but also uses other pools in the town. The club have been Suffolk champions for several years running and have experienced high finishes in the Speedo league. TeamIpswich Swimming's most successful member is World Championship gold medallist Karen Pickering.

Climate

Ipswich 2006 serial murders

A serial killer or spree killer responsible for the murders of five women in Ipswich gained notoriety in late 2006, as the Ipswich Murderer. The five women were identified as sex workers; their bodies were found in December 2006. Suffolk Constabulary formally linked the murders in their investigation.

Steven Gerald James Wright, who had previously worked at the Port of Felixstowe, was arrested at his house in Ipswich on 19 December. On 21 December, Wright was formally charged with the murders of Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Tania Nicol, 19, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29. He appeared in Ipswich Magistrates' Court on 22 December 2006 and was remanded in custody until 2 January 2007 to appear in Ipswich Crown Court where he was remanded in custody for a second court appearance, held on 1 May 2007. At that hearing he pleaded not guilty to all five murders. His trial began in Ipswich on 14 January 2008. The jury returned a guilty verdict on 21 February, and the next day, Wright was sentenced to life imprisonment by Mr Justice Gross, who recommended that he should never be released from prison, on the basis that the murders resulted from a "substantial degree of pre-meditation and planning".

Famous residents

Probably the most famous person born in the town is the Tudor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. The artist Thomas Gainsborough and the cartoonist "Giles" worked here, Horatio, Lord Nelson became Steward of Ipswich, and Margaret Catchpole began her adventurous career here. Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson were both successful managers of Ipswich Town F.C. It is also purported that Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales was born here. Ipswich is also home to the current world's heaviest man, Paul Mason - weighing in at 70st. Ipswich is also home to Academy Award-nominated English actor Ralph Fiennes.

References in popular culture



References

  1. List of English cities by population from Census 2001 figures
  2. K. Wade, 'Gipeswic - East Anglia's First Economic Capital 600-1066,' in N. P. Salmon and R. Malster (Eds), Ipswich From the First to the Third Millennium (Papers from an Ipswich Society Symposium), (Ipswich Society, Ipswich 2001), 1-6, at pp. 3-4.
  3. S. J. Plunkett, Suffolk in Anglo-Saxon Times (Tempus, Stroud 2005), 130-133, 201.
  4. Wade 2001.
  5. Wade 2001, 5.
  6. R. Malster, A History of Ipswich (Phillimore, Chichester 2000), 13.
  7. J. J. North, English Hammered Coinage (Spink and Son, London 1980), Volume I: Early Anglo-Saxon to Henry III, 'Mint Towns' (page 194), Ipswich, Suffolk: Edgar to John. Example figure:Aethelred II first hand type, Plate X no. 23, Cat. 766 & p. 120.
  8. Geoffrey Martin, 'The Medieval and Early Modern Borough' in N. P. Salmon and R. Malster (Eds), Ipswich From the First to the Third Millennium (Papers from an Ipswich Society Symposium), (Ipswich Society, Ipswich 2001), 7-17.
  9. Text of charter (translated into English) and image of 1200 Town Seal, see J. Wodderspoon, Memorials of the Ancient Town of Ipswich (Pawsey (Ipswich): Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans (London) 1850), 'Ancient Incorporation of the Town', pp 75-130, at pp 75-85.
  10. Malster 2000, 41-45.
  11. B. Zimmerman, 1899, 'The White Friars at Ipswich', Proc. Suffolk Institute of Archaeology 10 Part 2, 196-204, at p. 199.
  12. Wodderspoon 1850, 331-332.
  13. Malster 2000, 43-47, 63-67.
  14. Malster 2000, 67.
  15. J. M. Blatchly, A Famous Antient Seed-Plot of Learning (Ipswich School 2003), 27-41.
  16. Draft proposals for unitary local government in Norfolk and Suffolk Boundary Committee
  17. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2690244/70-stone-Briton-Paul-Mason-is-worlds-heaviest-man.html


External links

Ipswich institutions



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