Visitors call for improvements to Christchurch Mansion to combat plummeting visitor numbers

Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich. Picture: DAVE KINDRED

Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich. Picture: DAVE KINDRED

Visitors at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich have called for a better variety of displays and exhibitions to help bring more people in – and would like to see it become a hub for history events in the town.

Renovation work at Christchurch mansion is believed to have been one of the reasons for the fall in

Renovation work at Christchurch mansion is believed to have been one of the reasons for the fall in visitors. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Latest figures published last week revealed that the number of visitors last year was down by 18,000 – a drop of nearly a third in just 12 months.

Ipswich Borough Council bosses said a programme of renovation works to the Grade I listed building, which included large parts of the building being covered in scaffolding, had hit visitor numbers hard, but welcomed suggestions of what people would like to see to improve their experience.

Now, after inviting Ipswich Star readers to have their say, more and more people have called for exhibitions and displays that give them a reason to return.

Charlotte Bethel said: “It needs to rotate and update its displays, when I visit with my son many of the displays are exactly the same as they were when I went as a child his age over 25 years ago.”

Some feel the mansion needs to make more of its link to artists such as Thomas Gainsborough and John

Some feel the mansion needs to make more of its link to artists such as Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable. Picture: DAMIAN ETHERINGTON - Credit: Archant

Andrew J Bee added: “I would like to see a photographic exhibition of the Ipswich music scene from the Adicts to the Downsetters, music festivals in the park through the years.”

Karen Tricker said: “It would be a great place for a permanent exhibition of the old Ipswich photos that are posted on the Ipswich Remembers Facebook group.”

Many readers said they felt the mansion was not promoted enough as a tourist attraction, while others said more events and workshops such as I-spy hunts for children, re-enactments and a science day would make them go along or return more regularly.

Others felt it needed to make more of the town’s association with John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.

Children from St Helens Primary School enjoyed a day living like a Tudor at Christchurch Mansion, an

Children from St Helens Primary School enjoyed a day living like a Tudor at Christchurch Mansion, and readers want to see more historical events. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: sarah lucy brown

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Carole Jones, museums service portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council, said: “We really appreciate the suggestions from Star readers who, like us, want to improve the visitor experience at Christchurch Mansion.

“We shall be collating all these views to see how we can take things forward for residents as well as visitors to the town.”

Bosses hope the mansion’s October Thomas Wolsey exhibition and events such as April’s Ipswich Gin Festival and Octoberfest later in the year can help bring numbers back up.