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New chapter in Ipswich story

PUBLISHED: 17:22 09 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:37 03 March 2010

A JOURNEY through the ages is the first step towards more local history in Ipswich Museum.

The Ipswich Story exhibition paints a picture of Suffolk life through the ages - from the Ice Age to the modern age.

A JOURNEY through the ages is the first step towards more local history in Ipswich Museum.

The Ipswich Story exhibition paints a picture of Suffolk life through the ages – from the Ice Age to the modern age.

And it is just the first of a series of exhibits which museum bosses hope will boost the local history content.

Ipswich Museum public service manager Tony Butler said: "It's been perceived that there's been a bit of negligence towards local history.

"This is the first stage of bringing back a bit more of a local face to the museum so people can see the things that made the town the way it is today.

"You hear names like Wolsey, Portman and Cobbold around the town but they won't know the history behind them."

Mr Butler said future exhibitions would include Ipswich At War. The eventual aim is to create a special room completely dedicated to local history.

The Ipswich Story tells the tale of the town and features some exhibits donated by Suffolk folk.

Royal memorabilia featured strongly, with Charles and Di to the fore.

The exhibition also includes old phones donated by members of the public.

Telephones are a theme which runs through many of the exhibits for the modern age.

Mr Butler explained: "The greatest revolution over the last 100 years is the communication revelation.

"We've got some very early phones from the Edwardian age, running through to early mobiles."

Exhibition curators hope visitors to the museum will find out something new about the history of their town.

But if you can't wait to see it for yourself, here's a taster of some of the facts and figures on show.

Ipswich is possibly the oldest post-Roman town in England.

Belstead Brook could have been a sacred site for Iron Age Britons – ancient high-quality jewellery was found there.

Thomas Wolsey rose to become cardinal and chancellor from a lowly start as the son of an Ipswich butcher.

Gas lighting first brightened the streets of the town in 1820.

Ipswich's first railway line linked the town with London in 1846. Three years later lines to Bury St Edmunds and Norwich were added.

The population of Ipswich was just over 66,000 in 1900 – six times the size of 1800.

If that has whetted your appetite for more, Ipswich Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday and entry to the exhibition is free.

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