Ipswich is a ‘working class enclave’ but has fighting spirit – UCS lecturer

A view over Ipswich Town centre from the top of the Axa building in Civic Drive. Picture: Paul Nixon

A view over Ipswich Town centre from the top of the Axa building in Civic Drive. Picture: Paul Nixon Photography

Nigel Ball, who has taught graphic design at University Campus Suffolk since 2007, “highlighted the pitfalls” of the town in a personal blog post.

A UCS lecturer who has lived in Ipswich for more than 18 years has branded the town a “poor cousin” when compared with centres like Colchester and Norwich.

Nigel Ball, who has taught graphic design at University Campus Suffolk since 2007, “highlighted the pitfalls” of the town in a blog post written as part of his Graphics Interruptions project.

He said Ipswich often loses out to larger towns with a “richer cultural life” – claiming the town “will never match the likes of Cambridge and Colchester” due to its lack of history.

“Ipswich is a working class enclave in a county of great wealth.


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“As a result it is ripe for gentrification and the only thing holding this ever-present threat at bay is the dire train service to and from London,” said Mr Ball in his post.

“The town has always been a poor cousin to other towns within the wider Eastern region, and I think that’s how many of its inhabitants feel: neglected in favour of the money that surrounds it.”

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And he claims a comment made by Suffolk musician Brian Eno last year “hangs over the town.” Speaking to a national newspaper, Mr Eno said he thought the best thing to do with Ipswich was to “drive through it.”

But Mr Ball admitted he has fond memories of the town, and is proud of the bands and public figures it has produced.

“In the time I’ve lived here I’ve become loyal to this backwater town. I like the fact that once local thrash punk rockers Extreme Noise Terror were invited by arch-situationists the KLF to perform with them at the Brit Awards in 1992,” he added.

“I’m proud that the once mighty Cowell’s printers developed the craft of fine-illustration printing from the Buttermarket in the town centre, which resulted in Babar the Elephant being inked here.

“And my earliest memories of Ipswich are of its once vibrant local music scene that I used to travel to from Essex.”

This vibrancy has since been lost, claims Mr Ball, as “all the decent venues” have been knocked down, and turned into car parks or “theme pubs.”

But he said he believes in Ipswich’s “fighting spirit” – and believes the next generation will lift the town into the 21st Century, changing the area for the better.

You can find Mr Ball’s blog at dubdog.co.uk

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