Days Gone By - How the Ipswich docks have changed over time
PUBLISHED: 12:11 10 April 2019
Ipswich Maritime Trust Archive
Photographer and local history enthusiast David Kindred has gathered pictures from the Ipswich Maritime Trust.
I have enjoyed mixing photographs from my own archive along with those from the vast file of photographs at Ipswich Star newspaper’s Ipswich office, to prompt memories of Days Gone By. My thanks to everybody that has contributed memories and photographs to my weekly features.
For this last set of photographs from me I feature photographs from the archive of the Ipswich Maritime Trust, which was formed in 1982 to “to educate the people of Suffolk in all matters maritime”.
The Trust’s Image Archive now contains thousands of images of the history of Ipswich Dock port and river.
The wet dock was officially opened in 1842, just a few years after the invention of photography, so the archive has images from the very early days through to the present.
The picture shows a wall at the grain silo at the dock which collapsed in 1897, spilling hundreds of tons of grain in to the dock and blocking the quay. The following is an extract, written in Victorian style, from the London Corn Circular of March 1897: “An unprecedented incident has occurred in Ipswich.The front of a large warehouse or silo burst from the weight of wheat stored within. Tons of grain ran onto the quay, which was wholly blocked, and much of it over the quay into the dock.
“Messrs Cranfield Bros have adjoining their steam flour mill a large warehouse, with an elevation of some 80 feet and walls two feet thick, but there were no floors or piers to equalise the weight. girders ran from side to side, but not from back to front.”
The photograph below was sent recently to the Ipswich Maritime Trust from Australia.
The picture, taken from the island site, features the Custom House, which opened in July 1845 and cost £4250.
The clock was added to the tower in 1867, which puts this photograph between the two dates.
The next picture is of New Cut in the 1860s and shows the paddle steamer Alma loaded with passengers.
The service ran six days a week.
An advertisement of June 1863 said, Will leave Alma Wharf, Ipswich at 9 0’clock. Calling at Harwich and Walton-on-Naze, returning from London Bridge Wharf daily at 9.30.
The last sailing ship to deliver grain to Ipswich Dock was the clipper Abraham Ryberg in 1939.
The ship had sailed from Australia February 18th and berthed at Cliff Quay in June 18th, where part of the cargo was unloaded.
The ship moved into the dock on June 30th. This photograph was taken July 16th, 1939, as Stronghold, the Ipswich Dock Commission tug, towed the ship out through the lock. The ship will shortly feature in the Trust’s next Window Museum display on Ipswich and the Great Grain Race.
A panoramic view of the port at Ipswich from the top of a gas holder at the gas works in 1953.
The engineering works of Ransomes and Rapier is in the top right corner.
The Stoke Bathing Place extended into the river close to Ransomes and Rapier’s works. Cliff Quay is top left and the lock into the dock is in the right foreground.
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