Ipswich Maritime Trust History

Ipswich Maritime Trust was formed in 1982 from the Maritime Ipswich Committee, which organised a year long series of events as part of the national Maritime England Initiative. These events were based in the ‘Home’ Warehouse (now Ashtons). We also prepared a visionary plan in 1982 for the then run-down Wet Dock, with suggestions on its future development and have been instrumental in galvanising local opinion concerning the many changes in the Wet Dock since then. The newly rejuvenated Waterfront is the result of Ipswich’s determination to make the most out of the Wet Dock, and with much more work still to do, our passion for Ipswich’s maritime opportunities continues. Through its history, people, and much more, we will continue to support Maritime Ipswich.

Since 1982 our successful accomplishments include the following highlights:


The year after Maritime Ipswich 82 we held our first exhibition as the newly formed Ipswich Maritime Trust in the Home Warehouse.


To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Wet Dock in 1992 we held a Classic Boat Festival and had a fantastic exhibition in the Isaac Lord Warehouse.


We organised ‘Sail Ipswich 97’ which attracted 450 historic and classic vessels, Dunkirk Little Ships, Square Riggers and over 35,000 people, to the Wet Dock showcasing Ipswich’s rich maritime past, present and future. As such it became the fore runner to the Ipswich Maritime Festivals.


We officially opened our Window Museum on Albion Quay with a celebratory mayoral reception.


We sponsored and supported the publication of Richard Smith and Jill Freestone’s definitive book ‘The Port of Ipswich: Its Shipping and Trades’ with a donation of £2000.


We provided £500 in financial assistance in 2012 to Emma White to help her compete in the World Cadet Sailing Championships in Hobart, Tasmania.


In collaboration with the History Department at University Campus Suffolk (UCS) in 2013 we held an International Symposium for the commemorational Bicentenary of Captain Philip Broke’s naval victory during the War of 1812.

We contributed £500 to part sponsor the building of a brand new wooden 12 ft. clinker sailing dinghy for the 5th Woodbridge Sea Scouts, to help encourage sailing amongst the young and keep traditional skills alive. 


In 2014 we provided a £2000 donation towards a Merchant Navy memorial for Ipswich and we continue to support the Ipswich Branch of the Merchant Navy Association, to honour thousands of seafarers who have lost their lives in times of war.


In 2016 we launched our digital Image Archive on Flickr showcasing over 2000 historic photos of maritime Ipswich and Suffolk.


We celebrated our 35th Anniversary with an exhibition on the ‘Changing Waterfront’ in the University of Suffolk


We launched our brand new website to better help us promote and protect Maritime Ipswich. We also celebrated 10 years of our Window Museum displays.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we adapted how we worked to continue to support our volunteers, members and supporters, through virtual meetings, virtual talks and increasing our digital engagement with all who make up the Maritime Ipswich community.


We digitised our collection items on the eHive platform, to make our collection as accessible as possible.