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Days Gone By - How the Ipswich docks have changed over time

PUBLISHED: 12:11 10 April 2019

This photograph was taken from the Custom House around the First World War period. A huge sailing ship was moored in the centre of the wet dock. Barges were unloading grain for Ipswich mills  Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

This photograph was taken from the Custom House around the First World War period. A huge sailing ship was moored in the centre of the wet dock. Barges were unloading grain for Ipswich mills Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

Ipswich Maritime Trust Archive

Photographer and local history enthusiast David Kindred has gathered pictures from the Ipswich Maritime Trust.

The original lock to the dock was from New Cut. A new lock (where it is now) was officially opened July 27th, 1881. This photograph was taken as the paddle steamer, Glen Rosa, arrived in the lock with official guests  Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVEThe original lock to the dock was from New Cut. A new lock (where it is now) was officially opened July 27th, 1881. This photograph was taken as the paddle steamer, Glen Rosa, arrived in the lock with official guests Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

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.

Sailing ships moored at Public Warehouse Quay on the island site around 1920 on either side of the original lock entrance  Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVESailing ships moored at Public Warehouse Quay on the island site around 1920 on either side of the original lock entrance Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

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.”

Picture: HARRY WALTERS/IPSWICH MARITIME TRUSTPicture: HARRY WALTERS/IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST

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.

Picture: CONTRIBUTEDPicture: CONTRIBUTED

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.

Kindred 9 April-19_ (5)Kindred 9 April-19_ (5)

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.

Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVEPicture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

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.

Picture: FRANK SYMONDSPicture: FRANK SYMONDS

Workers with stacks of timber at the dock in the late 1920s. The wagon in the foreground belonged to contractors who were based at 27 Key Street. Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE/ FROM JENNY CATCHPOLEWorkers with stacks of timber at the dock in the late 1920s. The wagon in the foreground belonged to contractors who were based at 27 Key Street. Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE/ FROM JENNY CATCHPOLE

The island site in the 1970s. The Ipswich Maltings Company buildings, which were badly damaged by fire in September 1970, were being demolished. The Felaw Street Maltings are on the right  Picture: FRED BRIDGESThe island site in the 1970s. The Ipswich Maltings Company buildings, which were badly damaged by fire in September 1970, were being demolished. The Felaw Street Maltings are on the right Picture: FRED BRIDGES

Timber being unloaded at Timber Quay in the 1920s  Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVETimber being unloaded at Timber Quay in the 1920s Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

The island site from a silo around 1900. The engineering works of Ransomes Sims and Jefferies and the gas works are in the background  Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVEThe island site from a silo around 1900. The engineering works of Ransomes Sims and Jefferies and the gas works are in the background Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

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A busy day in the tidal St. Peter’s dock. This photograph was taken from the south side of the old iron Stoke Bridge some years before a fire destroyed Burton’s warehouse in 1911. The tower of St Mary at the Quay Church is between the masts in the centre  Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVEA busy day in the tidal St. Peter’s dock. This photograph was taken from the south side of the old iron Stoke Bridge some years before a fire destroyed Burton’s warehouse in 1911. The tower of St Mary at the Quay Church is between the masts in the centre Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

Barges sailing through the lock in the 1890s. Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVEBarges sailing through the lock in the 1890s. Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST ARCHIVE

Barges at Flint Wharf in the 1930s. The silos in the background at Albion Wharf and St Peters Wharf belonged to R and W Paul and Cranfield Brothers  Picture: WILLIAM LOVELLBarges at Flint Wharf in the 1930s. The silos in the background at Albion Wharf and St Peters Wharf belonged to R and W Paul and Cranfield Brothers Picture: WILLIAM LOVELL

They've just been donated to IMT archive by Ruth Serjeant.  Picture: RUTH SERJEANTThey've just been donated to IMT archive by Ruth Serjeant. Picture: RUTH SERJEANT

A view across some of the roof tops of Ransomes Sims and Jefferies Orwell works from the gas works at Ipswich dock in 1953. Neptune Quay is in the background. Picture: FRANK SYMONDSA view across some of the roof tops of Ransomes Sims and Jefferies Orwell works from the gas works at Ipswich dock in 1953. Neptune Quay is in the background. Picture: FRANK SYMONDS

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