Ipswich: Civic society joins call to raise town’s historic profile

A Ransomes and Rapiers office block facing the River Orwell.

A Ransomes and Rapiers office block facing the River Orwell. - Credit: Archant

THE town’s civic society has joined the calls to raise the profile of our heritage – but with a call for its industrial importance not to be overlooked.

Apprentices at Ransomes and Rapier taken in 1976.

Apprentices at Ransomes and Rapier taken in 1976.

Ipswich Society chairman John Norman, said most members felt that the heritage of England’s oldest town had been overlooked for far too long.

He said: “There are 600 listed buildings in the town which is based on its medieval streets. If we were like Norwich or Cambridge we would really want to shout about the history of the town.”

But while its role as the first Anglo-Saxon – or English – settlement is vital, Mr Norman said it was important not to forget the more recent heritage of Ipswich.

He said: “From the early years of the industrial revolution Ipswich has been a very important industrial centre.


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“It was very important for the manufacture of agricultural machinery and other heavy engineering – and in clothing manufacturing.

“In many ways Ipswich was a bit like a northern industrial city transplanted into this corner of rural East Anglia.”

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He said that focusing on the town’s heritage was vital to make it a more attractive place for businesses, and for people who may be looking to move into the area.

“We still hear some people who are suspicious about talking the town up too much – they are worried about an influx of tourists, but it is vital for the town’s development,” he added.

Ipswich was home to major engineering companies like Ransomes, Ransome and Rapier, Crane, and Cocksedge.

It was also home to clothing company Phillips and Piper – and William Pretty’s corsets were sold throughout the world.

Examples of many of the products made by engineers in the town are now on display at the Ipswich Transport Museum in Cobham Road.

n How could Ipswich do more to boost its heritage? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email starletters@archant.co.uk

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