We support many publications about Ipswich’s maritime history and wider local maritime stories. Please see below some fantastic examples of the books and publications we have supported over the years.

We also encourage research into Ipswich and Suffolk’s maritime history and wider local maritime heritage. Several of our members, volunteers and supporters have created fantastic research and we have created Occasional Papers to share this effort for future researchers and those interested in our local maritime heritage. These are available to download below. If you are interested in contributing to our research, then please get in contact with us.

Sailing Barges – The Dunkirk Story by Barbara Butler

The story of Dunkirk and the part that over seven hundred small craft played in saving Allied forces and evacuating them back to England has been well documented, but Barbara Butler is writing for the first time about sailing barges. 19th Century sailing barges were a disappearing breed by 1940 and are in the 21st century a rarity. It might be said that the part they played in the saving of a stranded army was their finest hour in all the years they sailed. Barbara in this remarkable book captures the stories of the barges and bargemen that sailed them to Dunkirk in 1940 and is a remarkable collection of tales told by the people themselves. The letter Lem Webb wrote to his son on his return, the account Charlie Webb wrote, the note Johny sent to his mum before he died are among several first-hand accounts by bargemen of their experience of Dunkirk. This book is available at a variety of booksellers and on Amazon.

The Port of Ipswich; Its Shipping and Trades by Richard W Smith and Jill Freestone

This book has been a 12-year labour of love for the two authors, who both grew up within sight, sound and smell of the Ipswich Docks and River Orwell. Both Richard and Jill have vivid childhood memories of the paddle steamers, sailing barges, mills, and cranes that typified the working port and have compiled these, along with their research, into the magnificent 382-page book telling the story of 150 years of the working port, incidents on the Orwell in both war and peace, and bringing to life characters, ferrymen as well as their dogs. 

This is an important book for those interested in the development of Ipswich or more generally in ports and shipping. Although the history of shipping in Ipswich dates to Saxon times, this book deals with the past two centuries. This is a period that saw the town’s engineering companies, based around the Dock, grow to have worldwide fame and then decline; a period that started with sail, went on to steam and ended up with a ‘Waterfront’ jangling with moored pleasure yachts.

The book is beautifully illustrated by photographs brought together by the authors including several from our Image Archive.

Occasional Papers

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