Messing about on the river

A picnic by the river while watching the rowing races from the promenade. Sitting in the shade of a line of trees and chatting with family and friends while passengers pass by on a paddle steamer enjoying a trip on the water. This all sounds such a pleasant way to spend a day that you have to wonder how Ipswich lost all of this. Few today are old enough to recall when the island site between New Cut and the dock was an area for a day out.

A picnic by the river while watching the rowing races from the promenade. Sitting in the shade of a line of trees and chatting with family and friends while passengers pass by on a paddle steamer enjoying a trip on the water. This all sounds such a pleasant way to spend a day that you have to wonder how Ipswich lost all of this. Few today are old enough to recall when the island site between New Cut and the dock was an area for a day out.

The promenade area was built when the dock and New Cut were created, opening in 1842. The promenade was lost to railway lines in the 1920s and the whole area industrialised. In the 1960s and early 1970s I, along with hundreds of other motorists, used the New Cut East route from Stoke Bridge to cut through to the Holywells Road area and back over the swing bridge at the lock gates. The only public facility I can recall from my childhood in the1950s was a rowing boat ferry from the Steam Boat Tavern to New Cut East.

In more recent years gates were put across the road along New Cut East and Ship Launch Road, stopping public access. Now there are discussions about opening up the area so that people can walk or cycle right round the dock again. How wonderful if we could enjoy the area like our Victorian and Edwardian ancestors did.

What memories of this area of Ipswich do you have? Write to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star or e-mail info@kindred-spirit.co.uk

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