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See how the Wet Dock transformed Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 19:00 30 September 2020

The new exhibition in the Ipswich Maritime Trust Window Museum, tracing the story of the Wet Dock Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVE

The new exhibition in the Ipswich Maritime Trust Window Museum, tracing the story of the Wet Dock Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVE

IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVE

Ipswich Maritime Trust has opened a new exhibition in its Window Museum on the Waterfront - showing how the Wet Dock transformed the town.

This photo taken from the top of the Gasometer by David Kindred in 1977 shows the Wet Dock in the final years of its commercial working life. Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVE/DAVID KINDREDThis photo taken from the top of the Gasometer by David Kindred in 1977 shows the Wet Dock in the final years of its commercial working life. Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVE/DAVID KINDRED

The trust’s latest display is the 20th at the IMT Window Museum on Albion Quay. It was originally planned to go on show in April, but was delayed because of coronavirus lockdown.

The exhibition tells the story of the development of Ipswich Dock - a bold Victorian vision to create what would be the largest of its kind in Britain.

Completed in 1842, the Wet Dock brought great prosperity to the town, and was soon surrounded by manufacturing and agricultural industries trading throughout the world from their quays and wharves.

This This "Prospect of Ipswich" from the 1830s is included in the new Ipswich Maritime Trust Window Museum exhibition Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVE

IMT director Stuart Grimwade said: “The display aims to celebrate the remarkable role of the dock in creating the Victorian wealth of the town.

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“It’s hard now to appreciate just what an important industrial role it played for well over 100 years, and of course it continues to play today in an entirely different way never dreamed of by its builders.

One of the items featured in the new exhibition about the history of Ipswich Wet Dock at Ipswich Maritime Trust Window Museum Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVEOne of the items featured in the new exhibition about the history of Ipswich Wet Dock at Ipswich Maritime Trust Window Museum Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVE

“The display includes a ‘Grand Future Vision’ of this new role produced in 1982 when the dock was almost derelict and its useful life seemed over. This was the year that the trust was formed.”

Fascinating images on show range from an 1830s panorama of the town before work on the dock started to a grand futuristic vision of what the old dock could become, drawn up in 1982, which saw the birth of the Maritime Trust.

MORE: How the Ipswich docks have changed over time

Before that plan was prepared there had been proposals drawn up by the Ipswich Dock Commission in 1971 to fill in a large part of the dock for a lorry park - which fortunately never happened.

One of the items featured in the new exhibition about the history of Ipswich Wet Dock at Ipswich Maritime Trust Window Museum Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVEOne of the items featured in the new exhibition about the history of Ipswich Wet Dock at Ipswich Maritime Trust Window Museum Picture: IPSWICH MARITIME TRUST IMAGE ARCHIVE

The display also features examples of the beautiful models made by trust director Ben Bendall, who sadly died recently. As a tribute to him, the trust’s next display will feature many more of his models of dock area buildings and ships.

The IMT is also currently involved in a project together with the Ipswich Society, to restore the historic quay names around the Waterfront.

If you would like to help with future displays at the Window Museum, call Des Pawson on 01473 690090. For more information about the trust’s work, visit its website.


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