Work opens up the delights of the park

LAKES, open grassland and beautiful old trees, many of which are centuries old, are just a few of the delightful features of Christchurch Park, close to the centre of Ipswich.

LAKES, open grassland and beautiful old trees, many of which are centuries old, are just a few of the delightful features of Christchurch Park, close to the centre of Ipswich.

I live on the north side of Ipswich and most weeks walk across the park to the town centre. Over the past year I have watched with interest as the restoration programme progresses. Overgrown areas have been cut back opening up better views across lakes and ponds for the first time in decades.

The Wilderness Pond will soon have a path all the way round making a pleasant walk for all ages as the wildlife enjoys the sanctuary of the little islands.

The park opened to the public in April 1895 after being in private ownership for centuries. Living nearby then was professional photographer Harry Walters. His home and studio was at 11 St Margaret's Plain. His red brick house almost opposite Northgate Street is little changed today.

Harry had a glass-house studio at the bottom of his garden making best use of daylight for the thousands of portraits, weddings and family groups he recorded there. He also photographed events on Christchurch Park.

Luckily some of Harry's photographs have survived in the care of his relatives.

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Barbara Cutting, of Stowmarket, is one of Harry's relatives and she let me copy some of Harry's photographs. His photographs of the early years of public access to Christchurch Park give us some idea of how the restoration work compares with the park of over a century ago.

The present work is part of a £4.4 million restoration programme with £3.3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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