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Christchurch Mansion visitor figures up by 20,000 in one year - this is the reason why...

PUBLISHED: 09:28 07 January 2020

Claire Turnham of the Victim of Viagogo group outside the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion  Picture: ARCHANT

Claire Turnham of the Victim of Viagogo group outside the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion Picture: ARCHANT

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Ed Sheeran and Elmer the Elephant have helped visitor numbers skyrocket at two key Ipswich tourist spots, new figures reveal.

Launch of the Ed Sheeran, Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion - Colin Davidson's portraits are a key element of the event   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLaunch of the Ed Sheeran, Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion - Colin Davidson's portraits are a key element of the event Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Data for April-October last year showed there were 45,015 visitors to Christchurch Mansion - well up on the target 27,000 and nearly double the same six months in 2018.

At Ipswich Museum and Art Gallery, 40,951 people went through the doors - more than 11,000 people up on the year prior and above the 26,000 target.

According to the council, the success of the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition and the Elmer trail last summer had helped bring people in to the venues.

Councillor Carole Jones, museums portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council, said: "The mansion and museum are continuing to attract a wider and more diverse audience - not only from Ipswich and Suffolk but from further afield.

Ed Sheeran with photographer Mark Surridge at the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich  Picture: Nic MinnsEd Sheeran with photographer Mark Surridge at the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich Picture: Nic Minns

"The mansion has benefitted from both the Ed Sheeran exhibition and the Elmer trail and has welcomed visitors from Australia, the United States and all over Europe and the UK.

"Not only are we cementing our reputation as somewhere that attracts and hosts national and international exhibitions but we are also getting better at telling people about it.

"In addition, we are seeing more schoolchildren at our venues and we really welcome this.

"This is great for Ipswich and I want to thank the museums service staff, volunteers and our dedicated Friends for all working together to make this success story happen."

The Ed Sheeran, Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion has pulled in the punters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Ed Sheeran, Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion has pulled in the punters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Alongside the exhibition and Elmer trail, the mansion and museums put on a host of events during school holidays to help encourage people in, such as yoga for kids and arts and crafts activities.

School visitor figures had also increased by around 1,000 at the museum and more than doubled at the mansion, marking a significant improvement on the declining numbers of the previous few years.

However, despite the increase in pupils, the income generated from school admissions and hirings were significantly down.

According to the council, this was due to the number of teacher-led visits which are free of charge.

One of the elephants in the Elmer Trail, outside Christchurch Mansion.
Picture: DAVID VINCENTOne of the elephants in the Elmer Trail, outside Christchurch Mansion. Picture: DAVID VINCENT

A council spokesman added that a review was underway on income from hiring venues, such as marketing of weddings, to help boost income there.

Cllr Carole Jones, museums portfolio holder said the venues were attracting international visitors. Picture: SU ANDERSONCllr Carole Jones, museums portfolio holder said the venues were attracting international visitors. Picture: SU ANDERSON

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