Ipswich: Postcards from the ledge capture the town in an earlier era

IPSWICH: Having a lovely time. Wish you were here! Or at least wish you were here... about 30 years ago!

Town MP Ben Gummer popped into a newsagent in the town to buy a paper and these postcards of the town he represents caught his eye.

Only they don’t so much show the town he represents as much as the town that his predecessor Ken Weetch represented a generation ago.

The cards show Tavern Street, Civic Drive, the Orwell Bridge, Westgate Street and composite pictures of the town’s landmarks and of the River Orwell.

The Tavern Street picture was taken before the mid 1980s when Boots occupied the unit that is now the home of fashion store River Island.

It moved across the road to take one of the largest units in the Tower Ramparts Centre when it opened in 1986.

This was taken in the days before McDonalds arrived in the town – what is now its restaurant was then Peter Lord’s shoe shop.

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The Westgate Street picture captures the corner of the then-new Debenhams store (built on the site of the old Footmans) and the old Crown and Anchor Hotel.

The Civic Drive photo certainly dates from the early 1980s. The extension to the GRE (now AXA) insurance offices had been completed and in the distance there is the ill-fated Greyfriars centre which was eventually demolished about ten years later.

The composite postcard features two Ipswich landmarks that now no longer exist.

One of the buildings on the top of the postcard is the Civic Centre, the former offices of the borough council which was demolished in 2009 and the main tower building of Suffolk College which came down last year.

Mr Gummer found the postcards when he called into Offord’s newsagents to pick up his copy of The Evening Star as he walked from the Waterfront to the town centre.

He said: “I saw these postcards and did a bit of a double take. They really do capture a moment in time!

“I was rather amused by the thought that someone might come into the marina, moor their yacht and look for a postcard of the town and find these which showed Ipswich of the early 1980s!

“I love the fact that the company who produced them didn’t seem that worried about painting the subject in a good light – the picture of Tavern Street shows the shoe shop Peter Lord without its first letter.”

n Has Ipswich changed for the better? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or alternatively you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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