We have been supporting Maritime Ipswich for 37 years and this year is no different and we have done and seen some fantastic things that we are very proud of. Our wonderful team of volunteers have deserved a well-earned break this winter before they prepare for more interesting exhibitions, talks and more in 2020. So, as we enter the final day of this year, we thought we would leave you all with some of our highlights from 2019.
Ipswich Tidal Barrier – In February the multi-million-pound Ipswich Tidal Barrier was completed by the Environment Agency to protect the town from tidal surges. Historic images from the towns maritime past stored in our Image Archive now adorn the barrier’s control tower.
Window Museum Exhibition – #TheLastGrainRace – Our Window Museum continues to go from strength to strength and is already in its 10th year. Our display this year focused on the 80th Anniversary of the Square Rigger Abraham Rydberg visiting Ipswich during the Last Grain Race in 1939. Find out more information about the display here. We also had new volunteers join the Window Wizard Volunteer Team bringing some new expertise to and ideas for our 2020 and 2021 displays.
Talks and Barge Trips – For many years we have been organising talks and barge trips that many of our members enjoy and this year was no different. We had another year of well attended talks with lots of interest in all the talks including on the Ownership of the Orwell, the History of Shipbuilding in Ipswich and the Story of the Mary Rose. This year also included Barge trips on the Sailing Barge Victor to Harwich for the first time where we continue to develop close links with our colleagues in the Harwich Society. These trips are enjoyed by many and we will continue to do them for our members and all those interested in sailing down the beautiful River Orwell. So do check our events page soon for our 2020 events.
Cornhill Exhibition – Our hard-working Trustee and Image Archivist Stuart worked hard with Ipswich Central during the summer as the first Cornhill Image exhibition was displayed in the town. It showcased then and now photos of Ipswich’s maritime past in the build up to the 2019 Ipswich Maritime Festival. Thousands saw these beautiful images and it has given us some ideas about future exhibitions across the town in collaboration with various organisations.
Re-Photography Project and the 2019 Ipswich Maritime Festival – This project began early in 2019 when we connected with professional photographer Ian Cutting on Twitter and together embarked upon a fascinating collaboration. The aim was to combine our local historic knowledge and photographic skills to retrace the steps of Ian’s Great-Great-Grandfather Harry Walters. Harry himself was a prolific photographer during the period between 1890-1910 and captured the vibrancy of Ipswich’s dockside community in many of his images. With Ian’s expertise we re-photographed Harry’s images a century later, and blended Ian’s modern versions with his Great-Great-Grandfather’s originals. The result was a display that connected and blended the photographic styles of two relatives, from two very different eras. The images from this project can be viewed on our Facebook page. We displayed this during the 2019 Ipswich Maritime Festival and had many positive comments from the several thousand visitors we saw over the weekend and we hope you enjoy them too.
New Website – Our Trustee and Social Media Co-ordinator Andy started a project to revamp our website in November 2018 and has worked closely with website designer Angie from Purple Hippo throughout the year to get the one you see today up and running. Feel free to explore and let us know your comments as we are always looking to grow and develop the website going forward.
St Peters Dock Revamp and the Winerack – The waterfront continues to be developed and improved and 2019 has been no different. The Winerack complex is near completion and the area around St Peters Dock has now been redeveloped and repaved with some more changes and improvements in the pipeline for the next few years.
Spirit Yachts Launch and a visit by the Ark Museum – The launch and the arrival of two large vessels to the Wet Dock in the Autumn of this year were very much enjoyed by those on the waterfront and our social media following. In October, Spirit Yachts launched Spirit 111 its largest single mast wooden yacht yet built needing two large cranes to lower it into the Wet Dock. A few weeks later a huge Ark Museum arrived in the town towed over from the Netherlands and up the River Orwell to Ipswich, it’s first berth in the UK. It has already become a talking point on the waterfront. We hope and will continue to work with various organisations to support other visiting vessels coming to Ipswich with one of our new volunteers working hard on this task.
Hanseatic Ipswich Booklet Launch – In November a very special publication was launched which we published with the support of Ipswich Borough Council and ABP to highlight the towns significant claims and connection to the medieval Hanseatic League. This included some wonderful new original research that could be the starting point to finding the location of Ipswich’s Hanseatic Steelyard. We have a limited run of these booklets, and you can find yours in the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre now and more information here.
Teasers for 2020 – We are very excited for 2020 with new volunteers starting with us and the opportunity for many more people to get involved to help support Maritime Ipswich. Our Window Museum volunteers continue to plan next year’s display focusing on the construction of the Wet Dock and its development to what you see today and will include some of the developments that were planned but never left the drawing board. We will also hopefully be unveiling our new Richard Smith Memorial Prize in 2020 and continue our donations to local maritime causes.
We wish you a fantastic Christmas period and Happy New Year and will see you all in 2020.