Borough reveals unusual inquiries at tourist centre

David Stainer, manager Ipswich Tourist Information Centre.

David Stainer, manager Ipswich Tourist Information Centre.

Ipswich’s Tourist Information Centre in St Stephen’s church exists to help give visitors advice about the town and to help them find out the best places to visit.

However occasionally its staff are asked questions that they struggle to respond to – and this year’s crop is no exception.

Staff were totally unable to respond to the question: “Years ago, when I was visiting Ipswich, I bought some Pink Powder which cleared my pond. Do you know what it was? I’d like to buy some more.”

However they rang around garden centres to find out what he was talking about and the assistant was able to advise the customer what the pond-cleaner was called and where it could be bought.

Another inquiry was slightly more difficult to sort out. A caller from Hampshire said: “I have a 45-ton railway breakdown crane, in full working order built, in 1944, by none other than Ransomes of Ipswich.

“If you would like to come and get it you can exhibit it in Ipswich.”

Ransomes and Rapier were well-known for making railway cranes and there are several preserved around the country – however they take up a lot of space.

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Tourist centre manager David Stainer said he told the Ipswich Transport Museum about the offer – but suspected that the size of the crane would make it much too large for them!

An e-mail came in from the Toowoomba Fine Arts Association asking for a guided tour of the town. That was clearly meant for the tourist office of the “other” Ipswich – in Queensland, which is about 40 miles from Toowoomba.

Mr Stainer said: “We often get enquiries for each other by e-mail. In fact we’re now on first-name terms with our counterparts in Australia because we’re always passing inquiries to each other.

“I know they had an inquiry from football fans asking which would be the best hotel to stay in after the Cardiff game!”

A slightly sadder request was: “I’m house sitting in Ipswich and one of the pets has died. Is there a Taxidermist in Ipswich?”

What is not known is what the reaction of the homeowners was when they returned to find that their pet had not only died but had been stuffed as well!

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