Historic sundial returns to Ipswich’s Christchurch Park after nearly 100 years

An Armillary sphere sundial has been restored and is now sitting pride of place in the butterfly gar

An Armillary sphere sundial has been restored and is now sitting pride of place in the butterfly garden in Christchurch park and is in memory of John Blatchly MBE. - Credit: Archant

A historic sundial absent from Christchurch Park for almost 100 years has been restored to its former glory – and has now been dedicated to author and historian Dr John Blatchly.

An Armillary sphere sundial has been restored and is now sitting pride of place in the butterfly gar

An Armillary sphere sundial has been restored and is now sitting pride of place in the butterfly garden in Christchurch park and is in memory of John Blatchly MBE. Ipswich Mayor Roger Fern cut the ribbon. - Credit: Archant

The armillary sphere sundial was last present in the Christchurch Park arboretum in the early 1920s, but fell into disrepair after a revamp of the rock gardens resulted in it being moved to the back of Christchurch Mansion.

And having spent decades redundant at the back of the mansion, a dedicated fundraising project was launched by the Friends of Christchurch Park in June to bring it back to life.

Yesterday, more than 50 people gathered for the official ribbon cutting of the restored monument.

David Miller, chairman of the Friends of Christchurch Park, said: “We are really happy to see it back, it’s been quite a lot of hard work but we are really pleased after a gap of nearly 100 years it has returned.”


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Ipswich School, The Lord Belstead Charitable Settlement, the Ipswich and Suffolk Club, Ipswich Society, Coes, Friends of Christchurch Park and the Friends of Ipswich Museums all helped fund the £6,500 project alongside Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and a host of individual donations, with the sundial honouring former Ipswich School headmaster, author and historian Dr John Blatchly MBE, who died in September 2015.

Paying tribute to Dr Blatchly at the ribbon cutting ceremony, Ipswich mayor Roger Fern said: “This is a remarkable installation and it serves, quite rightly, in memory of Dr John Blatchly, but I also think it is a celebration of John Blatchly’s life and all the activities he undertook.

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“He was a lovely man, a lovely human being, extraordinary talent and each of us has special memories as to what John Blatchly was, and continues to be, in our town.”

Julian Gibbs, chairman of the borough council’s central area committee, added: “This is a memorable tribute to a memorable man. We are proud to support the friends in their project to renovate this sundial, which will form a lasting attraction to visitors to the park.”

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