Gallery: See what Old Waterloo House looked like before Debenhams moved in with historic photo exhibition of Ipswich

A new exhibition is being held at the Ipswich Records Office featuring old photographs of Ipswich.

A new exhibition is being held at the Ipswich Records Office featuring old photographs of Ipswich. Emma Sealy discovered the photographs in their storage. - Credit: Archant

Their faces stare out from the past as a testament to times gone by.

Long forgotten people who once lived and worked in our town are once again seeing the light of day thanks to an exhibition at Ipswich Record Office.

Ipswich Remembered was a series of exhibitions put on in the 1970s featuring old photographs dating from the dawning of the photographic age.

And today the street scenes and pictures of people at work and play are once again on display.

Emma Sealy, public service manager at Ipswich Record Office, in Gatacre Lane, said: “The record office used to be in County Hall and that is where the exhibitions were held.”

Staff at the Ipswich Record Office were sorting through some old stores when they discovered the photographs used in the exhibitions.

Emma said: “We decided we would have a look again at the exhibitions as they hadn’t been looked at for more than 20 years. They are a fascinating snapshot of life in Ipswich in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.”

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Around 60 pictures make up the exhibition which is displayed at the record office until June. Images include the arrival of the stuffed rhinoceros – known affectionately as Rosie – at Ipswich Museum, pictures of various streets such as Angel Lane, Felixstowe Road and the Old Cattle Market, and buildings including Ipswich prison, Ipswich tannery and Old Waterloo House – now Debenhams.

Emma added: “We have thousands of pictures in our collections and this is just a small example of what we have got.

“The selection is taken from three exhibitions of Ipswich Remembered held on three occasions in 1975, 1979 and 1987.”

The exhibition includes a number of fascinating Ipswich street scenes – such as Northgate Street, Fore Street and the long pulled down tenements on Tower Ramparts as well as photographs of daily life including girls in Edwardian hats, the final works on the town hall clock, boys at work in Churchman’s tobacco factory, trolleybuses and civic events.

Pictures have been taken from the collections of 19th Century Ipswich photographers such as William Vick, Robert Burrows and Richard Dykes Alexander.

The exhibition will run at the Ipswich Record Office until late June.

There will be an open day at the Ipswich Record Office on Saturday, May 11, from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

The event will include strong room tours with archivist Louise Kennedy, archive displays and representatives from local and family history groups and organisations. There will also be a book sale in aid of the Friends of Suffolk Record Office.

Do you have old photographs of Ipswich? Email

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