Plans to make town hall perfect place to say 'I do'

Changes are proposed at the historic Ipswich Town Hall, to make it more suitable for wedding ceremonies.

Changes are proposed at the historic Ipswich Town Hall, to make it more suitable for wedding ceremonies. - Credit: Archant

Proposed refurbishment works have been submitted for rooms at Ipswich Town Hall to ensure couples tying the knot have the perfect atmosphere for their special day. 

It was announced in February that wedding ceremonies would be moving from Ipswich Register Office in Grimwade Street to the town hall, after Suffolk County Council confirmed that it would be closing its St Peter Office. 

Ceremonies are temporarily being held at the county council's headquarters at Endeavour House. 

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Conservative cabinet member for public health, public protection and communities, said at the time of the move: “The Town Hall is a prestigious building in an area of regeneration, and we are delighted to be able to offer couples this impressive new setting for their marriage and civil partnership ceremonies." 

The town hall lit up in blue and yellow in a show of solidarity with the people in Ukraine.

The town hall lit up in blue and yellow in a show of solidarity with the people in Ukraine. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Cornhill is also used as a busy market space.

Ipswich Cornhill is also used as a busy market space. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Now, the Grade II listed town hall is looking to make changes that will make the space more suitable for marriage ceremonies. 

An application submitted to Ipswich Borough Council by Ipswich-based company Nicholas Jacob Architects proposes refurbishing the Pickwick Room and the adjacent Reading Room.

The design and access statement said: “The new use for wedding ceremonies requires clear audibility and no distracting background noise.  

“In this respect, the Pickwick Room is unfortunately located overlooking Princes Street. As well as general street noise there is also the market (possibly to be relocated) and, recently, an outdoor dining area opposite.  

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“It has been considered that the closed sash windows do not offer sufficient sound reduction to the street sound level. An installation of secondary glazing has therefore been requested to all four sash windows.” 

It proposed “a simple aluminium system,” and said that it would not impact the “special significance” of the town hall. 

It is also proposed to install an air conditioning unit in the Pickwick Room, which will be concealed in a false chimney breast.  

A door leaf between the Pickwick Room and Reading Room will be replaced for “solely aesthetic” purposes, as it does not match the other doors. The proposal suggests that originally, this may have been a “‘secret’ pass door”, or else an opening with no door. 

The town hall dates back to April 1866, when a large celebration was held to lay the first foundation stone.