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Gallery - Kindred Spirits: Portman Road stadium puts Ipswich on the world map

PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 May 2015

Ipswich Town Football Club from the air in 1978.

Ipswich Town Football Club from the air in 1978.

Dave Kindred

Say Portman Road and most people think of Ipswich Town Football Club but the area of town now home to the club was once marshland, writes David Kindred.

Portman Road and Princes Street were built in the mid 19th Century on drained marshes and a cricket ground and sports field was created south of the junction with Portman’s Walk (now Sir Alf Ramsey Way).

Crowds gathered on the sports field on June 2, 1888 for the opening ceremony when there was a balloon display.

The Ipswich Association Football Club was formed on October 16, 1878 with matches played at Brooks Hall, off the Norwich Road. The Ipswich Football Club, who played rugby at Portman Road, merged with the soccer club in 1888.

Ipswich Town Football Club turned professional in 1936. Some features of the early years were still in use in the 1960s with the club’s offices and changing rooms still in a wooden former cricket pavilion and the “chicken run” stand, for supporters along the Portman Road side, still in use.

Action at Portman Road in the 1950s.Action at Portman Road in the 1950s.

Now huge stands and floodlights dominate the skyline around what was from the middle of the 18th Century a sports field where the thousands living in the town centre gathered for a mixture of events.

Our gallery looks back at some of the many events that have taken place at Portman Road in the past 126 years.

Did you take part in any of the events featured, like the junior school sports days? Email David Kindred

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